Luke Gasparre, Longtime Mets Usher And Decorated WWII Veteran, Dies

Steve Burns
February 14, 2020 - 1:59 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — If you've ever been to a Mets game, either at Shea Stadium or Citi Field, you probably ran into Luke Gasparre at some point.

For 55 years, he was a key member of the Mets family, working as an usher.

The 95-year-old World War II veteran passed away Thursday morning, but his memory will live on among the many fans he lovingly welcomed to games for so long.

"Luke held a special place in our Mets family," the Mets said in a statement. "So many of our fans knew him as he always welcomed everyone with open arms and a friendly conversation. He will be missed by many and we send our heartfelt condolences to all his family and friends."

At the age of 18, he was drafted into the Army and served in the Battle of the Bulge — earning seven medals, including a Purple Heart and Bronze Star, which he proudly wore on his usher's uniform.

In 2015, Gasparre spoke with journalists Lora Moftah and Kevin Milian about his time in the war, recounting when he got separated from his unit. 

He remembered being alone in the German forest and playing dead as Nazi convoys passed before he was finally picked up by American soldiers who rolled by. Gasparre was only able to convince them he wasn't an impostor by telling them his favorite baseball team, which at the time was the Yankees, and where they played.

When he returned from the war, Gasparre started a family and was working as a postal worker in Astoria when he signed up for a second job with the Mets when Shea Stadium opened in 1964.

He held court in section 109 for the entire 44-year life of Shea Stadium, moving to section 310 at Citi Field before he retired from the job just last year.

He was one of seven children, and a talented tap dancer, who became friends with a young Tony Bennett, according to the New York Post.

Luke Gasparre III said his grandfather's spirit will live on.

"Everyone loved him anywhere he went," Gasparre said. 

That love was evident among many Mets fans, who took to Twitter to express their condolences and share photos of their favorite usher.