City Island may never be the same without their beloved “captain,” but his legacy will live on after decades of service to the place he called home for almost a century.
For the third straight year, Ladder 53 on City Island avoided closure as a result of budget cuts in the city. One of the loudest voices in making sure it remained open for the island, Captain Ed Sadler, passed away on Friday, November 18 at 95 years old.
Sadler was not only 35-year veteran for the FDNY, but a lifelong resident of City Island where he was born in 1916. While working with the FDNY, Sadler spent over 30 years as a fireboat captain of the FDNY Marine Division.
On Tuesday, November 22, Sadler was buried on City Island at the Pelham Cemetery and hundreds of friends, family, local elected officials, past and present members of the FDNY, and other City Island residents came to pay their respects to the “Captain.”
“Words cannot describe the gratitude that we have for the outpouring of love from the community. We are truly humbled by the attention that my father has received,” said Sadler’s son Dick. “The last 10 weeks of my father’s life, he just gained thankfullness for so many things. There are so many other people on City Island who deserve attention like this, but this has been so precious to our family.”
According to Sadler, his father simply passed away of old age and died in the same house in which he was born, which is right next door to Ladder 53 on Schofield Street. The house was hand built by Ed Sadler’s father in the late 1890’s after moving to City Island to work in a ship yard.
Sadler grew up around boats and obtained his captain’s license at a young age. During the early years of his career as a fireman, Sadler’s chief learned of his skill with boats and at his request, placed him on fireboats throughout the city for the remainder of his career until he retired in 1974.
One of Sadler’s last public appearances was in late August at Ladder 53 to help unveil the firehouse’s newly renovated kitchen. Councilman Jimmy Vacca, who has been fighting to keep the firehouse opened for the last three years, was saddened at the passing of a City Island great.
“When you talk about Ed Sadler, you’re talking about a man who was involved in every activity possible in City Island and a true student of its history,” Vacca said. “He’s one of those special people that you have to hold in your highest regards and when we lost him, we lost a part of City Island. He represented tradition, and we must always remember him.”
According to Vacca, he will soon be introducing legislation before the City Council that would rename Schofield Street “Captain Ed Sadler Way.”
Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3383.