Firefighter finally at rest

By JOSE MARTINEZ
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

Nearly a year after his death in the World Trade Center, a Queens firefighter who loved softball and Sinatra tunes was laid to rest yesterday.

Thousands of mourners and members of the Bravest packed St. Luke's Church in Whitestone, Queens, for a somber farewell to Firefighter Thomas Casoria of Manhattan's Engine Co. 22.

"When we use words like 'courage,' 'bravery,' 'pride' and 'honor,' these words should recall an image in your memory," said his cousin Firefighter Anthony Marden.

"For me, that look will always be Tom wearing his fire helmet."

As the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks approaches, some services still remain to be held for the 343 FDNY members killed Sept. 11.

During the next month, three funerals or memorials are scheduled.

Casoria, 29, died while trying to rescue people from 1 World Trade Center shortly before the skyscraper crumbled. He had planned to get married in October.

"I can't say this enough times: Thomas loved being a fireman," said his father, Carlo Casoria Sr.

Casoria and his older brother, Carlo Jr., entered the Fire Department together in February 1999.

A rare muscle disease kept Carlo Casoria from joining the search for his brother at the World Trade Center, but he singled out two men