Obituary of Raymond Anthony Plakstis, Jr.
Raymond A. Plakstis ,Jr., of Great Neck, NY was born in Florida and passed away there on 11/30 after a valiant battle with an illness that resulted from his heroic efforts as a firefighter during and after the 9/11 tragedy. Ray leaves behind his beloved wife Donna, his much-loved and devoted sons Tyler and Ryan, his loving brother Tommy McDonough, nieces, nephews, friends and family who admired and adored him. Visitation at Alert Fire Dept. on 12/5, 7-9pm; 12/6, 2-4 & 7-9pm with a Firematic service at 8pm. Burial 12/7 at Holy Rood Cemetery following the 10am Mass at St. Aloysius Church. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your local Fire Dept. or animal shelter.
On Friday, November 30, 2018, Chief Raymond Plakstis, Jr. passed away due to 9/11 related illness at the age of 57. Ray joined the Department in April of 1985. In 1991, he was elected to the position of Second Lieutenant and rose through the ranks, culminating in his election as Chief of the Department in 2002. In 2014, he was elected to a second term as Chief, serving another 3 years.
On September 11, 2001, as First Assistant Chief, Ray responded to the World Trade Center and worked at ground zero for days after. He returned many times in the following months. In July of 2016, he was diagnosed with cancer related to his exposure. With his wife and family by his side, he fought like a warrior, finally succumbing after 28 months of struggle.
During his long service to the department, Ray was particularly dedicated to training and was always on the cutting edge of innovation and new technology for the department. He helped countless young firefighters learn the skills needed to thrive in our profession. Truly, to know Ray was to be a better person and firefighter because of him.
For 33 years, Ray’s devotion to duty and dedication to the Great Neck community was evident in every aspect of his life. He was elected to the Great Neck Village Board in 2015 and appointed Deputy Mayor later that same year. He served with distinction on the Village Board until health reasons forced his resignation.
After 9/11, Ray worked with the late Mayor Leonard Samansky of the Village of Saddle Rock to establish a memorial to the victims on the Saddle Rock Bridge. For many years, he maintained the memorial personally.
Ray was Third Generation owner of Doray Enterprises on Steamboat Road after his father and grandfather. He was always present and willing to help. In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, Ray volunteered to utilize his station as a FEMA Fuel Dispensing Station for municipalities and First Responders. He did so at a great personal expense.
Ray was also instrumental each year in hanging Santa and his sleigh and decorating the Christmas tree in the Village Green Park. He and his family also purchased gifts for Santa to distribute to the neighborhood children for many years.
The Great Neck Community and the Alert Fire Co. have lost an irreplaceable presence in Chief Plakstis. His passing will be felt by all who had the honor of knowing him.