More than 200 people crowded the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home on Monday night to say goodbye to a cherished member of the East Hampton community.
Cesare “Cid” Cerchiai of Springs died on January 23 of complications from a blood clot. He was 75.
Members of the Springs Fire Department turned out in numbers to bid farewell to one of their most long-standing members, who was a 2nd lieutenant in Company No. 2.
Born in the Bronx in 1938, Mr. Cerchiai served in the U.S. Navy and studied to be a radioman while stationed on the destroyer USS Cotton DD669. Once discharged, he moved to East Hampton to work as an East Hampton Town Police officer for 20 years, and then went on to work as a security guard at the Maidstone Club in East Hampton Village.
Throughout his life, he was very involved in the local community. As a board member of the East Hampton Kiwanis Club, he sold Christmas trees during the holidays and coached the Springs Fire Department’s Little League team. He was active at the Senior Citizens Center in East Hampton and a member of the East Hampton Town Police Department PBA, which sponsored eighth and ninth grade track and field school trips and activities.
“He was a great guy and a real good member of the community,” said East Hampton Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo, adding that as an alumnus of the department, Mr. Cerchiai stayed in touch with the younger officers. “He was a very nice man,” the chief said. “I’ve known him since I was a kid.”
Henry Uihlein, president of the East Hampton Kiwanis, said he had a great deal of respect for Mr. Cerchiai. “There are some people in this life that you like seeing,” he said. “He was one of the people who I loved seeing. He was just a pleasure to see and a pleasure to be around. He was an asset to Kiwanis and an excellent example of what a Kiwanian should be. He was a key factor in the success of our Christmas tree sale. He was a true Kiwanian.”
“I cannot say enough about him,” said fellow Kiwanian Brian Smith. “He did not believe in sitting home and watching TV. He did more as a retired person than most people do when they’re working, and he wore so many hats.”
Mr. Smith said that Mr. Cerchiai was extremely well-known throughout the Town of East Hampton. “I was just astonished by how many people know him,” Mr. Smith said. “We had so many loyal customers buying trees mostly because they loved talking to Cid. He was kind to everybody. He had a really natural, beautiful nature. Everyone loved being around him.”
Mr. Cerchiai also volunteered as a coach for sports at Springs School and for the football team at East Hampton High School. He also coached women’s Colgate Games of Field and Track at Madison Square Garden while on the Police Department Juvenile Squad.
According to his family, Mr. Cerchiai was fond of jigsaw puzzles, bowling, golf and long walks with his wife, Carolyn, and their daughter Stephanie. Mr. and Mrs. Cerchiai were about to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Cesare “Cid” Cerchiai is survived by his wife, Carolyn; three children, Michelle, Michae and Stephanie; a sister, Audrey Pouler; three brothers, Michael Adams, Bruno Cerchiai and George Cerchiai; and two grandchildren, Garrett and Cole.