Kevin Rooney, CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island for more than 35 years, died on June 9, the Institute announced. The cause of death was pancreatic cancer, according to an obituary published online by the Branch Funeral Home, Smithtown, N.Y. Rooney was 68 years old.
“On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am deeply saddened to announce the untimely passing of Kevin Rooney…our friend and our leader as the long-time CEO of the Oil Heat Institute of L.I.,” Bruce Fuhrmann, chairman of the Institute, said in a statement emailed June 11. “Over the course of almost four decades, Kevin had become far more than our Association CEO; he was the face of and voice for our industry’s interests to consumers, the media, governmental and elected officials at every level. No one loved this industry more than Kevin, and no one worked harder to preserve, protect and promote our industry than he did.
“It is said that no one is irreplaceable, but Kevin came very close to achieving that unique status,” Fuhrmann said. “His skills, talent, enthusiasm and total dedication to our industry and our association will be sorely missed.”
Rooney also served on the New England Fuel Institute’s Board of Directors and was heavily involved in its committees and public policy work in the region and in Washington, DC., the Institute noted in a statement.
“Kevin was so respected and revered throughout our industry that he earned many honors throughout his career. He was named a NEFI ‘Legend of Oilheat’ at our 2017 Energy Expo, and this past May, his son Brian Rooney accepted the Oil and Energy Service Professionals (OESP) Lifetime Achievement Award on Kevin’s behalf at the Eastern Energy Expo,” the NEFI statement noted.
“Kevin was an association leader and a staunch advocate for the heating oil dealer not only in New York but nationwide,” NEFI President and CEO Sean Cota said. “He was an astute observer of people and politics, and his strategic vision helped map-out a brighter future for our industry that will endure long after his passing.”
Family, friends and others whose lives Kevin Rooney touched are invited to the Branch Funeral Home, 190 East Main Street, Smithtown, NY, 11787, Tuesday, June 12, 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.
Funeral Mass to be held at St. James Lutheran Church, Woodlawn Avenue, St. James, NY, 11780, Wednesday, June 13, at 10:00 a.m.
Prior to joining OHILI in 1982, Rooney served as director, Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., according to an obituary published online by the Branch Funeral Home. He was nominated for the position by President Ronald Reagan after serving as an energy policy advisor during the 1980 presidential campaign and subsequent transition. The obituary contained these additional details of Rooney’s life and career:
His background included time spent in both Albany and Washington as director of legislative and public affairs for the Long Island Lighting Co. and the Edison Electric Institute.
Rooney held both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science from Long Island University, where he also served on the adjunct faculty teaching courses in European and American political theory. Born on Nov. 17, 1949, in London, England, Rooney became an American citizen in 1981, the “proudest day of his life, other than his wedding day” according to his son, Brian.
Rooney is survived by his wife of 45 years, Elaine, and his three children: Susanne Sweeney (Peter); Kristen Masotto (Emil); and Brian (Jackie); his brother Patrick; and seven grandchildren.
The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
PICTURED: Kevin Rooney, John Huber of the National Oilheat Research Alliance, and Rocco Lacertosa of the New York Oil Heating Association, share a laugh at the grand opening of the NORA Research & Education Center in Plainville, N.Y., on April 13, 2016.
Fuel Oil News file photo by Stephen Bennett
Posted June 11, 2018; updated Tuesday, June 12, 2018.