Family remembers Andrew Leone’s ‘good heart’

01/26/2014 10:00 AM |
COURTESY PHOTO | Andrew Leone, in a photo provided by family taken in 2003.

COURTESY PHOTO | Andrew Leone, in a photo provided by family and taken in 2003.

Thursday was Andrew Leone’s first day back on the job.

The 30-year-old Southold resident had worked around the North Fork, using his technical skills for local businesses, but had been out of work recently, his father Ray Leone said.

But little could keep him away from his passion.

“The kid was so mechanical,” Mr. Leone said of his son. “He built his own mini bike. Anytime there was any problem with the tractors, he’d fix them. He had a good talent for that.”

Andrew, while working for Romeo Dimon Marine Service at a work site on Sound Avenue near Lipco Road in Mattituck, was killed about 1:20 p.m. Thursday when the bucket of a skid-steer loader fell off and struck his head, authorities said.

Mr. Leone suffered “severe head trauma” in the accident and the Mattituck Fire Department rescue squad was called to the site and assisted. He died at the scene, town police said.

Federal authorities are investigating the accident, but Southold police said they don’t expect to criminally charge the operator of the skid-steer loader.

Mr. Leone was the second-oldest of the family’s six children, and wasn’t a perfect man, but was beloved by family and friends for his sense of humor and his selflessness, his father said.

“He’d give the shirt off his back,” Ray Leone said.

His older sister, Jessica Allen, said Andrew once helped a neighbor’s family move into a new house and “didn’t ask for a dime.”

“You know he’d be there for anybody,” she said.

Mr. Leone had a habit of tinkering; he dismantled the Hess trucks he got as presents to see how they worked, built his own RC cars and once souped up a 1968 GTO.

On Saturday, the family was picking out photos to display at his memorial service. They enlarged a few photos from 10 years ago, photos of past vacations and  the Southold High School prom — Andrew never seemed to age, they said.

Ray Leone said the past few days have been difficult for him. It’s hardest at night, he said.

“When I close my eyes, I just … I wasn’t there. I didn’t see it. But I see it in my head, what happened,” Mr. Leone said. “That is the hardest part.”

Visitation for Andrew Leone will be held on Monday from 4 to 7 p.m. at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Heart Association are appreciated.

[email protected]

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Mr. Leone was the second-oldest of five children. He had two sisters and three brothers and was the second-oldest of six.