Cover photo for Donald DiPetrillo's Obituary
Donald DiPetrillo Profile Photo
1949 Donald 2020

Donald DiPetrillo

September 24, 1949 — April 30, 2020

DiPetrillo, Donald, 70, of Davie, Florida died April 30, 2020.  Donald was born in Providence, Rhode Island, later moving to Hollywood, Florida in 1956 with the family. He was a graduate of the McArthur High School class of 1967, where he was a decorated member of the varsity swim team.

Donald was a graduate of Broward College with an A.S. Degree in Fire Sciences, and a B.S. degree in Public Administration from Barry University.

Donald began his public service career in 1968 working for the City of Fort Lauderdale as a Ocean Rescue Lifeguard, and a Swimming Hall of Fame Pool Supervisor. His lifeguard service was interrupted during the Vietnam era, where he served in the United States Navy onboard the Aircraft Carrier, USS Wasp. Following his active duty status in 1972 he joined the U.S. Naval Reserves.

Following active military service, Donald returned briefly to the Ocean Rescue Services, when in 1973 he subsequently joined the ranks of the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Department. Donald was trained as a firefighter at the Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue Training Division, and following his graduation he rose steadily through the ranks to the position of Assistant Fire Chief. Donald officially retired from the Department in 1998, but was subsequently retained under a contract for two more years as a Special Assistant to the Fire Chief, again leaving in 2000. During that timeframe Donald worked with the local Fire and EMS organizations for their eventual consolidation and expansion into the Regional Fire-Rescue/EMS based services that are currently in use today. 

After another brief retirement, Donald elected to join the Town of Davie, where he was appointed as the Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director. During his service there from 2001-2007 he guided the fire departments rapid expansion and addition of full EMS services.

Donald's commitment to medical and safety did not encompass only his services to the Fire Rescue based organizations. He also participated as a Paramedic and Dive-Rescue coordinator for several offshore powerboat racing organizations and private offshore racing teams. From his start in the early 1990's, he served as one of the Dive-Rescue and Safety Coordinators for Superboat International Racing (SBI); the American Powerboat Association Offshore (APBA);  and for the Extreme Class, Multi-World and National Champion Miss Geico and Budweiser Select Racing Teams. 

According to William R. Latchford, Executive Director of Seminole Tribe of Florida Public Safety, in July of 2008, Donald was hired by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, as the Seminole Tribe Fire Rescue Chief to develop, professionalize, and mentor the men and women of the Seminole Tribe of Florida Fire Rescue Department. Through the leadership of Donald, Seminole Tribe Fire Rescue became one of the best fire rescue organizations throughout the state. Donald played a major role in bringing a new level of professionalism to the Fire Department operations of Seminole Fire Rescue. He was a distinguished, yet humble leader who helped shape the future of the fire service.

Donald understood that success in life was about just being nice.  If you care for people, the rest takes care of itself.  His care, commitment, and leadership for over 50 years of service, helped shape the future of the fire service, not only within the Seminole Tribe, but also in the State of Florida.  

Donald is likely one of the most notable and accomplished fire chiefs in the fire service. He was well-known, yet he was a humble leader who helped shape the future of the fire service, not only within the Seminole Tribe, but also in the entire State of Florida. Throughout his career, he raised the bar of professionalism for the fire service and enhanced the public perception of firefighters and fire departments around the state. Donald was so proud to be associated with many individuals across the State of Florida in the fire service. 

He is survived by his mother, Joan DiPetrillo of Plantation, his brother, John DiPetrillo, wife Nancy and children of New Smyrna Beach; twin brother David DiPetrillo of Ocean Springs, MS; son Tyson DiPetrillo, wife Yisel and their children of Loxahatchee; his Partner Lindy Maracic of Hollywood, and many other loving family members. 

Private services and interment will be held at Lauderdale Memorial Park. In his memory, donations may be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation at

Arrangements by T.M. Ralph Plantation Funeral Home 

The family has chosen the Gary Sinese Foundation because of its commitment to the military and first responders. Recently, the foundation began to include Covid-19 combat service in their mission.

Donations can be made online at Gary Sinese Foundation
or by conventional mail by using this form

The donation page has an option to dedicate your donation in memory of Donald by typing in his name. Please include the following email address as Donald's email address in the online form: [email protected]

Your support is so important to the family at this time. Please reach out to them sharing how your life has been touched by their loved one and your friend. We encourage you to share your personal condolences via the electronic register book, or to call the funeral home we will add your name to the register.  You may also send a card via the funeral home. 

Community Gathering is currently limited.  Please respect all current guidelines including physical distance, and use of masks. Your understanding is appreciated.  Future services will be planned and announced at a later time.  Please keep each other safe.


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