John “Cheech” Biondi

Born: August 1st, 1957

Initiated: July 21, 1984
Passed: November 25th, 1984
Raised: June 8th, 1985
At Rest: August 1st, 2010

It is with a heavy heart we report the passing of our beloved Lodge Brother, R.`. W.`. John “Cheech” Biondi on Sunday morning, August 1st, 2010 at age 53.

Having experienced many medical problems over the past few years, Brother Cheech slipped away peacefully at Phelps Memorial Hospital in Tarrytown, NY around 1:30 AM today surrendered by family, friends and many of his Masonic Brethren.

He had suffered a heart attack during dialysis on Wednesday, July 28th, and had been resuscitated and placed on a ventilator, but he was completely unresponsive to further extensive medical measures. Born on August 1st, 1957 in Calabria, Italy, he immigrated to the United States with his parents, where he became a proud American citizen.

As an adult, he became a professional Para-Medic EMT working for LIJ-North Shore Hospital on Long Island, as well as a member of the local Eastchester -Tuckahoe Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Brother Cheech was raised in Aurora Lodge # 25 in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, he later affiliated with in NYC, Brazilian Lodge # 1182 in NYC, and Mount Masada-Galaxy Lodge #902 in Tuckahoe, NY.

He was an active member of various Masonic-related organizations, including the Mecca Temple of the Shriners International in NYC. He was a vigorous supporter and participant of the Mecca Transportation Unit Road Angels as well as a welcomed sous-chef at Mount Masada-Galaxy Lodge, where he kept all the brothers well feed.

Dom and Cheech at the Mason of the Year 2009 Awards

John "Cheech" Biondi served as Grand Representative of the Grand Lodge of the Dominican Republic to the Grand Lodge of NY from 1999 to 2001.
As a hobbyist, he was an aficionado of motorcycles and classic “muscle” cars and enjoyed exhibiting his vehicles and casual motoring with friends.

Cheech riding in the 2010 Motorcycle Run to Raise Money for the Transportation Unit

He leaves behind many who loved him, which include family, friends, and his Masonic Brothers. He was an enthusiast in a life that ended far too soon. It isn’t the minutes in life one has, but how much life in each minute one lives, and Brother Cheech did just that.

Cheech at Hot Rod Show Event

He will be missed, but we are all better people for knowing him. He was beloved by all, and he loved everyone right back.

John “Cheech” Biondi “May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

From the Meccan Sept/Oct 2010 -- "The Official Publication of the “Founding Temple of all Shrinedom ..Where it all Began"


A fellow EMT in Eastchester Honored Cheech with this Blog Posting:

This morning I lost a friend. John "Cheech" Biondi passed away in the company of many friends at Phelps Hospital in the early hours of today, Sunday, August 1, 2010, his 53rd birthday.

Cheech was never the healthiest of people--but certainly not the sickest. Whatever health issues he did have were always complicated by his true [lovingly] stubborn demeanor. There was the "Cheech way" or the highway as far as he was concerned. He suffered an episode of cardiac arrest during dialysis on Thursday, and though revived by EMS at the scene, had fatal neurological damage. According to his wishes, the local Donate Life organ procurement team was called, and life support was discontinued when all was in order. I was at the hospital this morning as John, my friend, passed away.

Members of EVAC (the "Eastchester Volunteer Ambulance Corps" acronym, more formally, Eastchester Emergency Medical Services) will undoubtedly have innumerable stories of lessons learned from a man who had so much to teach. His life was dedicated to helping other people. An EMT from a young age, experienced field provider, service and equipment manager, fleet maintenance expert, and trusted partner, Cheech could be called upon for just about any deed. John was also a member of the Shriners International organization and a true believer in their principles of fun, brotherly love, and truth.

Cheech was someone who could light up a room. But more than that you could never feel out of place with John. My first interaction with Cheech was at a funeral being held for a fallen EMS "brother" in the line of duty from North Shore EMS on Long Island. Cheech was the Special Operations manager for the elite EMS organization of Long Island. A friend of his was killed when the ambulance he was manning was involved in an accident while transporting a patient in Riverhead, NY. Patrick and I (pictured below) attended the funeral services as representatives of Eastchester EMS. Cheech, himself a life member of EVAC, not only welcomed us with open arms but took pride in our every step that night. He introduced us, "his brothers from Eastchester," to every person in the room. After the services, he insisted we were going out to eat--and that he was paying.

Cheech was a true Italian man. Nothing spoke family and greatness to Cheech as a good meal shared among friends. Proud of any restaurant recommendation or meal he prepared, Cheech didn't kid when he called you his "brother." He meant it and refused to act like anything less. If he sent you to a restaurant and said "tell them Cheech sent you," he meant it. If you did, the owner would be guaranteed to know exactly who "Cheech" was and would surely "do the right thing." I don't think my mom has yet forgiven me when I told her that Cheech made sausage and broccoli rabe better than she ever could.

Cheech was a ball buster, but you knew he cared. He needed to know one thing about you (you were EMS, you were Italian, you were from Tuckahoe, you were a friend of one of his friends) before you were welcomed into his home and his life. While his family lives entirely in Italy, I can tell you that the waiting room of people this morning at the hospital was more full than I have ever seen for a single person--and I have worked in hospitals for four years and EMS for nearly eight. Cheech touched many hearts with his kindness--and many a stomach with his culinary expertise.

He taught me that life can be simple if you allow it to be. Friends, good food, and a passion for what you are doing make it simple to "do the right thing" and love doing it. He taught me that random and simple acts of kindness--whether being sure EVAC with two ambulances is represented at your graduation party, or showing up unexpectedly with trays of food to feed an army--were the soul of brotherhood. He taught me to be proud of what you call your own and to simply love it. No matter what the case, the ambulances would be clean when Cheech was around. Why? Because if he couldn't convince someone else to, he was downstairs doing it himself.

I recall one night as he and [a mutual friend] Jude had a heated conversation, Jude jokingly threw a battery in John's direction. The projectile successfully drew blood from Cheech. Not to fail, the first words (besides, "ouch," and probably an expletive or two), were "it's ok Jude, you're my brother, how can I be mad." I won't ever forget that moment.

RIP, Cheech. Your candle burned out long before your legend ever will.

John "Cheech" Biondi
August 1, 1957 - August 1, 2010

Cheech with Eastchester EMS

Ryan O'Halloran, Patrick and Cheech - circa 2005


The  International Police Association reported the following:

IPA REM-Net Death of Region 3 member

The following was sent by Vi Powrie for Remnet.

I am so sorry to tell you that one of our honorary members who recently joined our IPA section suffered a massive heart attack and will be taken off life support tonight and be allowed to die peacefully.

John "Cheech" Biondi was a 911 victim and an EMT who was buried for 16 hours in his ambulance when the 1st tower collapsed as he was trying to save his brother firemen and police officers. His friends and family have been by his side at the hospital for days now,
and will say their final goodbyes today as Cheech will be wheeled into
the operating room to have his life end there.

Cheech is still giving as he wanted to be an organ donor to continue to help people and save lives as he tried to on September 11, 2001. He truly is a wonderful person, and he was so proud to wear the IPA patch as part of the Region #3 Motorcycle Group.

Being an IPA member made him so happy in his short 52 years, and he will be missed by all of us in Region 3, and we were honored by the presence of such a courageous person.

Vi Powrie
IPA Region #3