Michael was born May 6, 1949, to Frank Mongelli and the late Frances Duca Mongelli. The older of two children, he was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He always spoke of his childhood days and what a great time he had living close to his aunts, uncles, and cousins. In 1969, he was inducted into the United States Army. He served in Vietnam and was honorably discharged. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Good Conduct Medal.
After settling back home in Brooklyn, he took the New York City Fire Department test, and the rest is history. He joined the department on January 26, 1974 and was so proud to be part of this special group of people. He loved his job and the people he worked with. The FDNY is a brotherhood.
Michael loved life. He used to say, “Every day you wake up is a good day.” He loved softball, baseball, football, golf, fishing, and the list goes on. He coached his son’s Little League team from the time he played t-ball. He also coached his son’s basketball team. He got such a thrill teaching his son how to play. Michael enjoyed cooking, loved to try different recipes, and collected many cookbooks to build up his repertoire. Family and friends looked forward to eating his kitchen creations. Music touched Michael’s heart. He had the biggest record collection I ever saw, and he liked to sing. I once told him that I loved Dean Martin, so he tried to sing like him. One evening, he picked me up from work and said, “You have to listen to this song.” We sat in the parking lot, and he played the Bob Dylan song “Make You Feel My Love.” I did not get it. I could not understand why he was so moved by it. Now, in retrospect, I see. The words are beautiful, and he was telling me how he felt about me. Now, whenever I hear that song, I cry, and I think of that day in the parking lot.
On September 11, 2001, Michael was an assigned member of Battalion 39 in the East New York section of Brooklyn. He participated in the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center. It was an incomprehensible time. He retired from the New York City Fire Department the following year. He began not feeling well and sought medical care. He was diagnosed with an untreatable cancer and succumbed to his illness on August 3, 2012.
Michael is survived by his wife, Loretta; stepdaughter, Jeannette; grandsons, Dylan and Spencer; father, Frank; brother, Charles. His only son, Michael, passed away on November 13, 2011, nine months prior to his own passing.
Michael’s enthusiasm for life will never be forgotten. His motto was “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” like the song.