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He died doing what he loved

The outdoors-loving firefighter had a new passion for flying.

By ABBIE VANSICKLE
Published October 24, 2006


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TAMPA - To fellow firefighters, Hillsborough Fire Rescue Capt. Nick Tedesco Jr. was a hard worker, serious about his job.

To his mother and family, Tedesco was a caring son and father, a talented man always trying to learn.

"Nicky could do just about anything," his mother, Renna Tedesco, 66, said. "My whole house, a lot of it's been put together by him. He thinks about things, and he does them."

Tedesco and his son, Taylor, 17, died Saturday morning when their ultralight plane crashed in southeast Pasco County.

It was Taylor's first trip in the new plane, Renna Tedesco said.

She said Tedesco, 46, recently started flying the gliders, and he built this one from a kit.

"He loved flying," she said. "When he got his glider's license, he promised he'd take me up."

Tedesco had an adventurous, outdoors-loving personality. He learned to scuba dive. He loved to camp, fish and hunt. He even studied taxidermy to preserve his conquests.

Tedesco grew up in Lutz, back when the area was a rural enclave. He married his high school sweetheart, Maureen, in May 1986, and had two children, Taylor and Stratton, 16.

As more people moved to Lutz, Tedesco felt crowded. So he built a home on Blanton Lake Road outside Dade City.

What happened Saturday is unclear. The Federal Aviation Administration is trying to figure out why two people were flying in a vehicle usually meant for one, said spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen.

Ultralights are single-person vehicles except when someone is being trained to fly, she said. "We want to see what happened, why it happened," she said.

A vigil and viewing will be held Wednesday, from 6 to 8 p.m. at St. Anthony's Padua Church, 32832 Massachusetts Ave., in San Antonio. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday at St. Leo Abbey Church.

[Last modified October 24, 2006, 00:30:35]


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