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      The mission of the New York State Association of Fire Chaplains, Inc. is to unite all Chaplains of the State of New York in order to promote a deeper and wider knowledge of one another in the true ecumenical and interfaith spirit; and to establish statewide procedures of standardization in serving our fellow firefighters, Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and God, our supreme Chief.

It is with deep regret we share the death notice of Past Chief Chaplain, the Rev. Daniel J. Bitsko…

Thanks to Past Chief Chaplain Edward Billia (2004 – 2006) for finding and providing this obituary and photos…

Rev. Daniel J. Bitsko

April 27, 1937 ~ September 4, 2019 (age 82)



Rev. Daniel J. Bitsko, 82, of New Britain, PA, entered into eternal rest on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at ManorCare Health Services in Montgomeryville, PA. Born in Coaldale, he was the son of the late Frank and Helen (Zelinka) Bitsko. He was a graduate of the former Coaldale High School and was a graduate of Duquesne University. He then joined the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Saints Cyril and Methodius in Pittsburgh where he fulfilled his vocation of becoming a Byzantine Catholic Priest. Father Daniel had served as the pastor at St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Church in New York City, St. Andrew’s Byzantine Catholic Church in Westbury, NY and last served at the Byzantine Catholic Church of the Resurrection in Smithtown, NY.

Father Daniel was a member of the New York State Association of Fire Chaplains, Inc. and served as Chief Chaplain from 2002 – 2004. He also served as the Chaplain for the New York Islanders Hockey Team as well as for Nascar Races at the Pocono Raceway. Father Daniel was very active in the community of Smithtown, NY having been a member and Chaplain of the Smithtown Fire Company, member of the Smithtown Rotary and member of the Smithtown Historical Society. He was also a member of the Suffolk County Volunteer Fireman’s Association in New York as well as the Southern New York Fireman’s Association. Father Daniel was also a member of the Knights of Columbus, Henry Baker Council 2711.

Surviving is a Sister, Helen Kochaba and her husband John of Camden, DE; Brother, Nicholas Bitsko and his wife Ruth of New Britain, PA; Many Nieces and Nephews. He was preceded in death by a Sister, Mary Cortese; Brothers, Michael, Frank, Andrew, John and Stephen.

Funeral Service with Divine Liturgy will be held on Monday, Sept. 9, 2019 at 11 a.m. at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Church, 104 E. Bertsch St., Lansford with the Most Reverend Kurt Burnette officiating. Interment will follow at St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, Summit Hill. Visitation will be held on Monday from 9-11 a.m. at the Church.

Contributions, in Father Daniel’s Memory, may be made to St. John the Baptist/St. Mary’s Byzantine Catholic Parishes, the Byzantine Catholic Church of the Resurrection or to the charity of one’s choice . Online Condolences may be expressed at www.nalesnikfh.com. Funeral services and arrangements are being handled by the Bruce A. Nalesnik Funeral Home, 57 W. Center St., Nesquehoning PA 18240.

(Attached are several photos that Chaplain Billia provided. Dan always looked forward to the annual Catholic Chaplain’s picture that was taken at our Chaplain Conferences.)


    The officers of our association (L to R - Past Chief Chaplain James Van Houten 2016-2018; Thomas With - 2nd Deputy Chief Chaplain; Chief Chaplain William Mayo 2018-2020; and Leon VanWie, 1st Deputy Chief Chaplain.

William Mayo, Chief Chaplain
PO Box 566
43 Main Pkwy
Plainview, NY 11803
(516) 356-5300 cell (Voice and Text)

Leon I. VanWie, 1st Deputy Chief Chaplain
PO Box 777
111 Franklin Street
Brownville, NY 13615-0777
(315) 771-9142 cell (Voice and Text)

Thomas F. With, 2nd Deputy Chief Chaplain
James A. Van Houten, Immediate Past Chief Chaplain
568 River Road
Montgomery, New York 12549
(845) 541-7730 cell (Voice and Text)
William A. Miles, Executive Secretary
470 Adam Street
Tonawanda, NY 14150-1804
(716) 583-1413 cell (Voice and Text)
(716) 695-3048 home

Barrie Lyn Foster, Treasurer
741 Clark Street Road
Cayuga, NY 13034-2113