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William Tolley, fallen FDNY firefighter, remembered at wake, funeral

On April 27, 2017 in Bethpage, FDNY firefighters, family members and friends paid their final respects to William Tolley, who died April 20 while battling a blaze in Queens. (Credit: Newsday/ John Paraskevas)

The family, friends and colleagues of FDNY firefighter William Tolley, who fell to his death at the scene of a fire in Ridgewood on April 20, gathered Thursday to pay their final respects to the 14-year veteran.

The funeral Mass, at St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage, Long Island, was held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and followed two days of wake services, where Tolley was remembered as a loving father and dedicated firefighter. He leaves behind a wife, Marie, and 8-year-old daughter, Isabella.

Thousands of firefighters -- from New York City and Long Island and as far away as Chicago, Detroit and Louisiana -- stood at attention, side-by-side in their dress uniforms, as the funeral procession for Tolley made its way up the street.

Trees and signposts near the church were decorated with red ribbons, a show of support for Tolley.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, delivering one of several eulogies, said Tolley lived an exemplary life.

“Our hearts are broken today, as we lay to rest a hero . . . We’re here to honor his life, and mourn its end," the mayor said. “His life was rich, so rich in fact that it makes the loss even more raw and painful. But let’s take stock and remember, a rich life, a full life . . . a life lived the way we all should live, that was Billy’s life.”

Tolley, 42, fell five stories while he was ventilating the roof of the building on Putnam Avenue. Investigators are still looking into what went wrong and whether Tolley was getting into the bucket at the top of the ladder truck when he fell.

During his eulogy, de Blasio recalled how Tolley stopped at a bakery that afternoon of his final call, to pick up dessert for Bella’s first Communion.

The mayor addressed Isabella, saying he too lost his dad at a young age.

“Sometimes, of course, you’ll wish you knew him better. You wish you had more time," de Blasio said. "But you’ll never have to wonder about his character.”

In lieu of flowers, the Tolley family has asked that donations be made to the William N. Tolley’s Children’s Educational Fund. The money will be used to pay for his daughter’s education.

With Newsday

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's 8-year-old daughter, Isabella, carries
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's 8-year-old daughter, Isabella, carries her father's helmet after his funeral services at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Firefighters salute as the funeral procession for FDNY
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Firefighters salute as the funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley passes the Bethpage Volunteer Fire Department on Long Island, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Firefighters salute as the funeral procession for FDNY
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Firefighters salute as the funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley passes the Bethpage Volunteer Fire Department on Long Island, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

The funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

The funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley outside St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

The funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

The funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley outside St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's wife and daughter, who
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's wife and daughter, who his holding a blanket with a picture of him on it and wearing his dress uniform hat, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage after his funeral, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's daughter, Isabella, who his
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's daughter, Isabella, who his holding a blanket with a picture of him on it and wearing his dress uniform hat, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage after his funeral, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's wife and daughter, who
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

FDNY firefighter William Tolley's wife and daughter, who his holding a blanket with a picture of him on it and wearing his dress uniform hat, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage after his funeral, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Firefighters salute as the funeral procession for FDNY
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Firefighters salute as the funeral procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley makes its way to St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage, Thursday, April 27, 2017.

NYFD firefighter William N. Tolley's coffin is taken
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

NYFD firefighter William N. Tolley's coffin is taken into St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage on April 27, 2017

Firefighters stand in formation at the funeral of
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Firefighters stand in formation at the funeral of NYFD firefighter William Tolley at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage on April 27, 2017.

Hundreds of firefighters stand at attention as William
Photo Credit: John Roca

Hundreds of firefighters stand at attention as William Tolley's coffin is brought into St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Funeral services for FDNY Firefighter William Tolley take
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Funeral services for FDNY Firefighter William Tolley take place on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage.

Firefighter William Tolley's wife, Marie, and daughter, Isabella,
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Firefighter William Tolley's wife, Marie, and daughter, Isabella, arrive for his funeral services, on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage.

Funeral services for FDNY Firefighter William Tolley take
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Funeral services for FDNY Firefighter William Tolley take place on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage.

NYFD firefighter William Tolley's wife and daughter attend
Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

NYFD firefighter William Tolley's wife and daughter attend his funeral at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage on April 27, 2017.

Members of the FDNY arrive for funeral services
Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

Members of the FDNY arrive for funeral services for firefighter William Tolley of Ladder Company 135 on Thursday, April 27, 2017, at St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church in Bethpage.

New York City firefighters carry the coffin containing
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

New York City firefighters carry the coffin containing the body of FDNY firefighter William Tolley, who died in the line of duty at the scene of a fire in Queens, from Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

New York City firefighters carry the coffin containing
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

New York City firefighters carry the coffin containing the body of FDNY firefighter William Tolley, who died in the line of duty at the scene of a fire in Queens, from Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Mayor Bill de Blasio exits after paying respects
Photo Credit: John Roca

Mayor Bill de Blasio exits after paying respects at the wake for William Tolley of Ladder Company 135 on Wednesday, April 26, 2017, at the Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage.

Fireman stand at attention as the family of
Photo Credit: John Roca

Fireman stand at attention as the family of William N. Tolley of Ladder Company 135 enters the Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.

FDNY Capt. Rich Blasi, of Ladder Company 135,
Photo Credit: John Roca

FDNY Capt. Rich Blasi, of Ladder Company 135, remembers fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley outside of Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, L.I., on April 26, 2017.

Fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley's wife, Marie, and
Photo Credit: John Roca

Fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley's wife, Marie, and daughter, Isabella, leave Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, on April 26, 2017, following his wake services.

Firemen salute as the family of FDNY firefighter
Photo Credit: John Roca

Firemen salute as the family of FDNY firefighter William Tolley arrives for his wake at Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, L.I., on April 26, 2017.

The wife and daughter of fallen FDNY firefighter
Photo Credit: John Roca

The wife and daughter of fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley arrive for his wake at Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage, L.I., on April 26, 2017.

FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, left, joined
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

FDNY Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro, left, joined firefighters, friends, and loved ones to pay his respects at the wake for fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley at Chapey and Sons Funeral home in Bethpage on April 25, 2017.

Firefighters, friends and loved ones arrive in the
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Firefighters, friends and loved ones arrive in the heavy rain to gather and pay their respects at the wake for fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley at Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Firefighters, friends, and loved ones arrive in the
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Firefighters, friends, and loved ones arrive in the heavy rain to gather and pay their respects at the wake for fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley at Chapey and Sons Funeral home in Bethpage on April 25, 2017.

Firefighters, friends, and loved ones gather and pay
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Firefighters, friends, and loved ones gather and pay their respects at the wake for fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley at Chapey and Sons Funeral home in Bethpage on April 25, 2017.

Firefighters, friends and loved ones gather and pay
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Firefighters, friends and loved ones gather and pay their respects at the wake for fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley at Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Firefighters, friends and loved ones gather and pay
Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Firefighters, friends and loved ones gather and pay their respects at the wake for fallen FDNY firefighter William Tolley at Chapey and Sons Funeral Home in Bethpage on Tuesday, April 25, 2017.

Engine 286 firefighter Hussein Hosni helps Landon Zamora,
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Engine 286 firefighter Hussein Hosni helps Landon Zamora, 4, of Ridgewood, place a flower at a memorial in front of the firehouse where firefighter Willam Tolley served on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Firefighters from FDNY Engine 286 and Ladder 135
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Firefighters from FDNY Engine 286 and Ladder 135 get emotional during a bunting ceremony in honor of their colleague, Willam Tolley, on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Firefighters console each other as the body of
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Firefighters console each other as the body of FDNY firefighter William Tolley is transferred to Chapey and Sons funeral home in Bethpage on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Fireman salute as the body of FDNY fireman
Photo Credit: John Roca

Fireman salute as the body of FDNY fireman William Tolley is removed from the medical examiner's office in Manhattan en route to the Chapey & Sons Funeral Home on April 21, 2017.

Members of the New Hyde Park Fire Company
Photo Credit: William Perlman

Members of the New Hyde Park Fire Company salute on the overpass at New Hyde Park Road as the procession for FDNY firefighter William Tolley passes on the Long Island Expressway on Friday, April 21, 2017.

Family members of FDNY firefighter William Tolley gather
Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Family members of FDNY firefighter William Tolley gather outside of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, with first responders as his remains are moved to the morgue on Thursday, April 20, 2017.

William Tolley, right, with his cousin and NYPD
Photo Credit: FDNY via Facebook

William Tolley, right, with his cousin and NYPD Det. Nick Tricarico, in an undated photo.

William Tolley, left, is seen with his brother,
Photo Credit: FDNY via Facebook

William Tolley, left, is seen with his brother, Bobby Tolley, at an adventure park on Long Island.

As a volunteer firefighter in Hicksville, Long Island,
Photo Credit: FDNY via Facebook

As a volunteer firefighter in Hicksville, Long Island, William Tolley went to the scene of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001 to help first responders search for survivors. The photo above was taken by his fellow firefighter and former captain of the Hicksville Volunteer Fire Department, Jim Fogarty, according to the FDNY.

William Tolley is survived by his wife, Marie,
Photo Credit: FDNY Foundation via Facebook

William Tolley is survived by his wife, Marie, and his daughter, Isabella, now 8, seen above in an undated photo.

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