Willian W. “Billy” Lomnicki of Levittown, NY passed away on December 3, 2021 at the age of 76. His actions helped beachgoers and fishermen achieve some of the beach access they have today on Long Island. His most recent action before passing was setting up the Hook on Vets event during the summer of 2021 with close friend of his, Larry Pacifico. This was one of many groups and events that Billy was part of.
The following words are ones submitted by some of his closest friends.
How do I say goodbye to my dear friend Billy with whom I literally talked to every night for 10 years? Wow! Where do I start? He served his country with dedication and honor in Vietnam. He served his wonderful family with love and devotion. He also served The Long Island Beach Buggy Association (LIBBA) as President and United Mobile Sportfishermen (UMS), as it was known at the time, also as President, for decades combined. Under his leadership and dedicated Board of Directors, both organizations flourished and grew to new heights they had never been before.
I was proud and honored to have served LIBBA as Billy’s Executive Vice President for 10 years and Executive Director of UMS for 2 years. Whenever the organizations faced an access threat, and it seemed constant, we would discuss how to take the issues head on. He would always end the conversation with the words I loved to hear “Go get ’em Jeffie!” Rest in peace my dear friend.
I met Billy Boy many years ago when he and his family spent summers at Shagwong County Park. He loved his tin boat and launched it from the beach by the point and fluke fished the areas around Montauk. We became close when he became President of LIBBA and I proudly served under him as a Director. We shared our weekends with our wives and many friends at Napeague Beach or Hither Hills and enjoyed our RV’s and fishing together. We took many road trips out of state to various campgrounds through the years, and we had terrific memories listening to his doo-wop music with an occasional martini. Billy Boy was like a big brother to me and I will always miss him and remember all the great times we shared. He was a proud Veteran, husband, father, grandpa, and a great friend.
Klaus “Cooky” Rondinella
Libba president Billy Lomnicki in the late 1990s saw a need for United Mobile Sortfishermen Association to be updated and made strong again. UMS consisted of all the beach buggy associations and major surf fishing clubs on the east coast.
The need for strong communications between the associations on the east coast before the internet was his goal. Billy became the president of UMS and served from 1999 to 2009. During this time, 2 to 3 meetings were held a year in one of the member states. These meetings allowed all to learn about the successes and failures in the fight for 4×4 beach and fishing access
With the help of other association presidents and members, Billy took the fight to the federal government on plover access closings and issues. Billy was highly regarded throughout the national 4×4 community as a strong leader.
I came to know my dear friend Billy through LIBBA. At the time, we were going through an access crisis at Shagwong known as the Montauk County park “master plan.” Billy and his family called Shagwong Point their home for decades, where they camped, surf-fished and launched tin boats from the beach. Their way of life was about to become a thing of the past. He started as a board member and he quickly rose to the presidency—a position he held for about 16 years. He was a leader among leaders and knew well the art of motivation. He understood that effort could lead to getting as close to perfection as is possible.
His health was in decline due to his two tours in Vietnam. Through all of this, his concerns were for his family and friends, always asking if we needed anything, anytime. A friendship borne out of mutual respect lasted until his passing. My friend was a bit of a complicated man and it would take volumes to ultimately tell his fabulous story. Those of us who fish the beaches of Long Island owe a debt of gratitude to him, for surely there would be less access for us without all of his hard work. Please pay it forward in his honor. As he always said, “take the high road.”