Dr. Gary Piccione, a longtime doctor for North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset and general practitioner in Great Neck, died in his Greenport home on Dec. 22. He was 98.

Piccione was one of the founding doctors of North Shore University Hospital in 1954, where he went on to serve for 46 years. He also worked at his Great Neck practice on Barstow Road for 51 years as a general practitioner and family practice specialist, treating thousands of patients.

During that time, according to an obituary posted online by the family, he would provide free care for doctors, nurses, teachers and people who couldn’t afford services. He would also “not hesitate to exchange his services for payments such as duck eggs, tomatoes, spinach or a handshake.”

Shelley Fontrier, a former patient whose mother worked with him as a nurse, posted online that he would make house calls whenever she was sick – making him “one of the few doctors who still did that.”

“He was truly a wonderful doctor and man,” Fontrier, who heard the news at the Congregational Church of Manhasset, said. “My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

The obituary described Piccione as a kind and funny man whose life “revolved around service to others,” “always put his needs second” and left “a legacy of goodness that could never adequately be described.”

“He was a magnificent physician, son, father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, and philanthropist. He was kind, funny, and deeply spiritual,” the family wrote. “He understood his purpose to be to relieve the suffering of others through his service and giving. He did that with great expertise, commitment and joy.”

Piccione grew up in Rockville Centre and graduated from Princeton University at 20 years old. After finishing Columbia medical school at 23, he served in the U.S. Army during World War II and met Marilyn Radichel. They married in 1947 and spent over 60 years together until her death.

Piccione is survived by three sons: Gary Barth, a doctor, Paul Piccione and Richard Barth, their spouses Kevin, Nancy and Nancy, five grandchildren, one great grandchild, his younger sister, Gloria LaBarbera, and her children and grandchildren.

The family requests that gifts in memory of Gary Piccione be made to causes he described as “humanitarian causes – starving people, floods, fires, earthquakes, Kosovo, Honduras, and Columbia and not to well-funded institutions.”

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Janelle Clausen is a reporter with Blank Slate Media covering the Great Neck peninsula and Town of North Hempstead. She previously freelanced for the Amityville Record, Massapequa Post and the Babylon Beacon. When not reporting, the south shore native can usually be found buried in a book, playing video games or talking Star Wars.