New York Times Portraits of Grief

Frank J. Bonomo

Even when he came home bone-tired from fighting fires and running a family video business, Frank J. Bonomo mustered the energy to fashion a putting green alongside his ranch-style house in Port Jefferson, N.Y.

For four months, he worked with childlike enthusiasm, laying sod, pouring sand and sinking cups. He finished last July.

"It was the only thing in our house that he did on his own without hiring anyone to help," said his wife, Margarite. Frank Bonomo, 42, a New York City firefighter for 17 years, cherished the time he spent with his wife and their children, Joseph, 5, and Juliana, 2. He spent his entire career at Engine Company 230 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. His friends at the firehouse remember his great sense of humor.

"He was a devoted family man," said Ted DiPasquale, a neighbor and a colleague of Firefighter Bonomo for 12 years. "I have two daughters, and Frank used to joke that I had to do a special thing to have a son. He never got around to telling me what that was."