Obituaries

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By Donna Deedy

It was a life well-lived. A first-generation American, the child of Italian immigrants, born during the Great Depression and dedicated to public service.

“At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life,” said former Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio in a 2015 interview with The Times of Smithtown. 

“At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life.”

— Patrick Vecchio

Patrick Vecchio died Sunday, April 7, at age 88. For a record 40 years — nearly half of his lifetime — he held the Town of Smithtown’s highest office. During his tenure, seven different U.S. presidents held office, while the residents of Smithtown re-elected the same man to represent them again and again for 13 terms.

Roughly half of his years in office, he served as a Democrat, the other half a Republican. Today, people in both parties recognize his distinct leadership qualities. In fact, his portrait hangs in the Town of Smithtown Town Hall, and the building itself bears his name. The gesture, announced while Vecchio was still in office during a March 3, 2015 board meeting, surprised Vecchio and left him humbled and teary-eyed.

During the 2015 town hall dedication ceremony, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) made a point to say that Vecchio had served Smithtown the right way. At the same event, New York State Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) was equally complimentary.

“He’s cheap, and he wears it like a badge of honor,” he said. “He never forgot, never forgets and never will forget where the money is coming from.”

Vecchio was legendary for his fiscal restraint. Town Historian Brad Harris said with a laugh that it’s more apt to call him “tight.” But Vecchio’s 40-year Smithtown legacy is rich and storied on a range of topics from open government policies to environmental conservation.

Under his leadership, Smithtown earned national recognition for many environmental and clean energy projects. The town pioneered a development rights program that enabled — at no cost to taxpayers — the preservation of important land such as the historic Harned Saw Mill site in Commack and the Saam wetlands at the headwaters of the Nissequoque River. Thanks to Vecchio, Smithtown was the first community in the nation to voluntarily convert its diesel-powered fleet of refuse trucks to run on compressed natural gas, which saved money and reduced noise and
air pollution.

“I’ve been here for 35 years; the Town of Smithtown never had a better friend than Pat Vecchio.”

— Russell Barnett

Smithtown was also an early adopter of wind generators and solar panels. Under Vecchio, the state awarded Smithtown in 2016 a $250,000 clean energy grant. Thanks to that award, solar electric projects are still underway at Smithtown Landing Country Club and town hall.

“I’ve been here for 35 years; the Town of Smithtown never had a better friend than Pat Vecchio,” said Russell Barnett, the Smithtown environmental protection director.

The community regarded Vecchio as a man with conviction. And people, whether they agreed with his position or not, said that they respected his opinion.

“He’s a feisty guy … ready to take on an issue or political opponent,” said Harris, after the town hall dedication ceremony. “He does battle for the people of Smithtown.”

People consistently note the leader’s commitment to the local community.

Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim (R) said that he recognized Vecchio as a true public servant. “In his historic time in office, he always did what he thought was best for residents … that was always at the forefront of his every decision,” he said.

December 12, 2017 was Vecchio’s last board meeting as Smithtown supervisor. The occasion drew a crowd that filled the board room and trailed through the hallways and down staircases. People bid farewell and thanked the supervisor for implementing his vision on their behalf. Suffolk County Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) noted during the tribute that Vecchio was leaving Smithtown with a budgetary surplus rather than debt.

“This town is in such good financial shape, it is all because of you,” Trotta said. “You should be a model for every other town in the nation, the state and certainly the county.”

Photo by Phil Corso
Patrick Vecchio, the longest-running supervisor for the Town of Smithtown, died on April 6 at the age of 88. The former supervisor served from 1977 until 2017. Funeral services will be held this week.

By Donna Deedy

This photo of Patrick Vecchio hangs in the Smithtown Town Hall’s boardroom

It was a life well lived. A first-generation American, the child of Italian immigrants, born during the Great Depression and dedicated to public service.

“At the end of the day, I’ve done something for people. And that’s the guiding principle of my life,” said former Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio in a 2015 interview with The Times of Smithtown. 

Patrick Vecchio died Sunday, April 7, at age 88. For a record 40 years — nearly half of his lifetime — he held the Town of Smithtown’s highest office. During his tenure, seven different presidents held office, while the residents of Smithtown reelected the same man to represent them again and again for 13 terms.

………………

December 12, 2017, was Vecchio’s last board meeting as Smithtown supervisor. The occasion drew a crowd that filled the board room and trailed through the hallways and down staircases. People bid farewell and thanked the supervisor for implementing his vision on their behalf. Suffolk County Legislator Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) noted during the tribute that Vecchio was leaving Smithtown with a budgetary surplus rather than debt.

“This town is in such good financial shape, it is all because of you,” Trotta said. “You should be a model for every other town in the country, the nation, the state and certainly the county.”

Read the full article and view photos that commemorate some of the former Supervisor’s local accomplishments in this week’s paper and on our website on April 11.

 

A photo of Jacob Donaldson from his baseball days. Photo from Victoria Espinoza

By Victoria Espinoza

Jacob Donaldson died this past weekend, leaving an incredibly rich legacy filled with public service and family memories. 

A Huntington Station resident, Donaldson, 90, served as a staff sergeant in the Army during the Korean War, and later as a fireman for the New York City Fire Department. He left his mark in other significant areas as well, including on the baseball diamond, getting signed by the Boston Red Sox organization straight out of high school at age 16 and raising nine children in Huntington with his wife Grace.

Known by most as Jake, Donaldson was born Monday, October 1, 1928 on a crisp, fall Brooklyn day. His parents, George and Helen, raised him and his younger brother George in the borough until Donaldson turned 16 and left Newtown High School in his hometown and was signed as an outfielder to the Milford Red Sox, a Boston Red Sox minor league affiliate which played in Delaware. 

In Donaldson’s first season in 1946 he hit .316 with 14 home runs in 116 games. For the next seven years he played for six other minor league teams, including several seasons with the Albany Senators. During his time on the ball field Donaldson rubbed shoulders with many prolific baseball players, including one hall of famer. 

Left fielder and Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame inductee Ted Williams had to borrow Donaldson’s glove once, after someone broke into the locker room and stole Williams’. Donaldson faced off against pitcher Don Newcombe when he was still in the minor leagues. 

After Newcombe struck Donaldson with one of his pitches, Donaldson told him to meet in the tunnel after the game. When they did, Newcombe said the only reason he hit him was because he was unable to get him out and asked to take the outfielder out for a beer, according to Donaldson.

While Donaldson was excelling on the baseball diamond, he could have fielded his own team at home. He and Grace first welcomed son Jim in 1954, followed by Bob, Kathy, Terry, Patty, Mary, Eileen, John and Joe completing the family of 11 in 1967. The family lived in Huntington Station where the children attended school in both the South Huntington district and Holy Family. 

Donaldson’s baseball career was interrupted after playing 113 games in 1950. He was drafted into the Army during the Korean War, departing in October 1950. He eventually rose to the rank of staff sergeant.

In 1955, the father of nine joined the FDNY as a firefighter. He worked as a motor pump operator and chief’s driver in his nearly 30-year career with the department, mostly working at Engine 3 in Chelsea. He was recognized for his bravery on multiple occasions by the fire department and once appeared on the cover of the New York Daily News on Nov. 23, 1961 following an incident in which a five-alarm blaze did damage to a building in Times Square. On the cover, he is pictured emerging from the building after battling a fire that claimed the lives of two fellow firefighters.

Even though his baseball career came to an end, Donaldson’s days on the field were not over. His daughter Terry said one of her favorite memories was attending an Albany Senators Old Timers Nostalgia reunion game at Hawkins Stadium in the summer of 1985. 

“It was so nice to see the old timers honored and it made my dad’s baseball days come to life for me!” she said. 

When his wife Grace suffered from a stroke in 1997, she was confined to a wheelchair and could no longer use one of her arms. Donaldson ensured his wife was taken care of and stayed right by her side until she died in 2017.

Donaldson was the proud grandfather to 11, and great grandfather to six. He loved spending time with his grandkids, whether it was sharing the sport he loved with them and teaching them how to throw a ball, or playing in the family’s beloved backyard and inground pool. Andrew Mayrick, one of Donaldson’s grandsons, said when he went to the local pub that his grandpa had frequented earlier this week, several people approached him to talk about how much they enjoyed getting to know his grandfather.

“There were a ton of people I had never met who were all upset, and the owner John said, ‘Jake was like a grandfather to everyone,’” Mayrick said. “He loved everyone he met and lived a life worth talking about, so much that strangers would just sit down and love listening to him.” 

Donaldson will be remembered by many as a larger than life personality, a friend to all who knew him, and someone who truly got the most out of life.

“Grandpa Jake had his own special language — a language of love reserved only for our family,” said granddaughter Mary Grace Donaldson. “He let us know ‘what a crew’ we were and had a number of other one-liners that will live on for years to come.”

Visitation will be held at M.A. Connell Funeral Home, 934 New York Ave., Huntington Station on Thursday, March 21 from 7 to 9 p.m. and Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral service will be held Friday evening at the funeral home. Interment will be at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.

John Edward Damianos died unexpectedly Feb. 25 in his home. Photo from Damianos Realty Group LLC

Attorney, real estate developer and longtime Three Village resident John Damianos was laid to rest March 4.

Damianos died unexpectedly in his Old Field home Feb. 25. The 67-year-old was the principal and legal counsel of Smithtown-based Damianos Realty Group LLC and a familiar face in the town.

State Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R-St. James), who has known Damianos and his family for several years, described him as a cheerful, upbeat and sharp man. The assemblyman said he would always pick Damianos’ brain about local real estate when he saw him at events.

“He was just an all-around good guy,” Fitzpatrick said.

Christine Mazelis, owner of Niche Boutique in St. James and Mazelis Landscape Contracting Corp., met Damianos due to both of their families’ work with the Smithtown Historical Society and said he seemed to have a passion for everything, especially his cars.

“I always saw him as someone who lived his life with purpose,” Mazelis said. “Always giving back to our community.”

Priya Kapoor, executive director of the Smithtown Historical Society, said the Damianos family members are big supporters of the society’s annual Heritage Ball and Heritage Country Fair. John Damianos recently met with Kapoor to help with the landscaping of the historical society’s property, a project that he was not able to see transpire due to his passing.

“He wanted to do good for the community and wanted to beautify the property,” Kapoor said.

Rev. Demetrios Calogredes (Father Jim), pastor of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson, said Damianos was a devout Greek Orthodox Christian who served on the church’s parish council for many years.

“He would read with great care the Holy Bible every day and derive inspiration from the Holy Scriptures,” Calogredes said. “John also was a great philanthropist, helping people in need and supporting the local soup kitchens with food and contributions.”

Calogredes said Damianos was an active member of Port Jefferson American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association. The organization was formed in 1922 to help Greek immigrants assimilate into the American way of life and be successful while fighting discrimination.

“John will truly be missed by all our parishioners and friends who loved and admired him,” Calogredes said. “May his soul rest in peace and may others follow his sterling example.”

In addition to his work with the church, Damianos was involved with Middle Country Coalition for Smart Growth, Building Owners’ and Managers’ Association Long Island and the Real Estate Institute. Damianos was a recipient of the Association for a Better Long Island Developer of the Year Award in 2019 along with the Long Island Business News Redevelopment of the Year Award.

According to his family, Damianos quietly supported worthy causes and delivered food parcels to those in need on behalf of City on a Hill Community Church in Middle Island. He also loved working in his yard and on his vintage Porsche.

Damianos was born Dec. 19, 1951, in Plattsburgh to Dr. Xenophon and Virginia Damianos and was raised in Stony Brook with his five brothers and sisters. A member of the Suffolk County Bar Association since 1982, he was a graduate of The Stony Brook School and Long Island University. He earned a juris doctor from the California Western School of Law.

Damianos is survived by his two children, Elexis Zoe Damianos, Esq. and John James Damianos; his former wife and good friend Evonne Damianos; beloved brothers X. Cristofer Damianos (Helayne), Pelops Damianos (Marilyn); and sisters Bonnie Lee Rampone (Chuck), Elektra Gaebelein (Thad) and Beth Ann Damianos.

Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. A funeral service was held March 4 at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption and interment followed at St. James Episcopal Church Churchyard in St. James.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Monastery of St. Dionysios at 481 N. Country Road, St. James, NY 11780; City on a Hill Community Church at 629 Middle Country Road, Middle Island, NY, 11953; or Bideawee Animal Rescue at 118 Old Country Road, Westhampton, NY 11977.

Erwin Staller. Photo from Stony Brook University

The Staller Center for the Arts at Stony Brook University is preparing to celebrate the life of Long Island real estate developer and philanthropist, Erwin Staller. A memorial service has been set for April 27 at the venue to remember the SBU benefactor who died Feb. 11, at age 97, at his Lloyd Harbor home.

“Over the years, Erwin Staller’s commitment to the center and to the university was steadfast,” said Alan Inkles, director of the Staller Center. “He, along with his wife Pearl [affectionately called Freddie], his son Cary and the extended family, has been a true supporter of the arts and has been the foundation of the center’s success.”

After his father’s death in 1987, Staller and his family donated the first seven-figure gift to SBU of $1.8 million. The donation resulted in the establishment of The Staller Center for the Arts in memory of his parents, Max and Mary Staller. The developer received the Stony Brook Medal for Extraordinary Service in 1989 and an honorary doctorate of humane letters at SBU in 2001. He also served on the Stony Brook Foundation board of trustees for more than 30 years and was founding chair of Stony Brook Foundation Realty.

“It was always a pleasure to have him and Freddie in the audience knowing how much he enjoyed all kinds of performances,” Inkles said. “As a philanthropist, adviser and friend to the arts, the university and to the region, he will be greatly missed.”

In a letter sent to SBU faculty after Staller’s passing, SBU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said the initial donation of $1.8 million helped “create a foundation for the Staller’s legacy of philanthropy at Stony Brook University spanning 35 years.” Staller and his wife also funded Staller Scholars, which provides scholarships for graduate music students pursuing doctorates in the Department of Music.

The university credits Staller for championing a project to have a campus hotel for more than 23 years until its fruition in 2013. As a result, the roadway between Hilton Garden Inn and the Administration building will be dedicated as Erwin P. Staller Way.

Stanley said Staller, his wife, family and friends joined together in supporting the Staller Center’s mission, and to date they have contributed more than $16 million to fund various programs.

“As we reflect on Erwin’s myriad contributions in time and treasure to benefit our students, faculty, staff and our community, though I will miss him dearly, I am inspired by Erwin Staller’s vision and focus, and in the knowledge that his powerful legacy will live on at Stony Brook for generations to come,” Stanley said.

Staller was raised in Hempstead where he graduated from Hempstead High School. He attended Allegheny College in Pennsylvania before enlisting in the U.S. Army and served in the Signal Corps during World War II. In 1946, Staller married Pearl Friedman, whom he had dated in high school, and the couple had five children.

In the late 1950s, Staller and his father co-founded Hauppauge-based Staller Associates, and became among the first entrepreneurs to develop retail shopping centers on Long Island. A supermarket, drugstore and a U.S. Post Office anchored each of their early shopping centers. Together, the father-son duo developed numerous shopping centers, office and industrial buildings on Long Island and in Connecticut.

Staller is survived by his wife, four children and their spouses, and nine grandchildren.

The memorial service will be held April 27 at 1 p.m. The Staller Center is located at 100 Nicolls Road in Stony Brook.

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Evelyn Berezin. Photo by Barbara Nelson

Evelyn Berezin, formerly of Poquott, died Dec. 8 at the Mary Manning Walsh Home in New York City. She was 93 years old.

She was a computer pioneer who built and marketed the first computerized word processor and the founder and president of the tech start-up Redactron Corporation, which manufactured and sold word processors.

Evelyn Berezin. File photo

Among the honors she received in her lifetime were inductions into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in Los Angeles in 2011 and the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, in 2015.

In an interview with The Village Times Herald in 2015, Berezin said when she was younger she thought she would pursue a career in physics, not computer science.

“I got into it by accident,” Berezin said. “It was so early in the game, I didn’t know what it was.”

Berezin was born April 12, 1925, in the Bronx. She was 15 years old when she graduated from high school and went on to study at Hunter College where she developed an interest in physics. She said the day after Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, her high school physics teacher offered her a research job. Since she was 16, she had to lie about her age in order to get the position.

“Every boy in the country was given a number to be drafted,” Berezin said. “I happened to be there at the right time.”

Berezin worked in a lab while attending college at night and went on to study math at Brooklyn Polytech, physics and chemistry at New York University and English at Hunter. In the April 10, 2015, Village Times Herald article, Berezin said while talking to a recruiter about a government job she discovered that there weren’t many positions in physics, so she asked about computers, something she admitted she never heard of at the time.

Berezin went on to work for a few companies designing computers before opening Redactron.

“In 1969 I decided I would never get to be vice president because I was a woman,” Berezin said. “I decided to start my own company.”

From 1969 to 1975, Redactron grew to employ 500 workers. In 1976, she decided to sell the company to the Burroughs Corporation and joined the company as president of its Redactron division, a position she held until about 1980. After leaving Burroughs, Berezin became involved in a number of start-up companies and moved to Long Island.

Berezin became a member of the Stony Brook Foundation in 1985, according to the Stony Brook University website. She served on the investment committee and was a member of Brookhaven Science Associates, served on the board of overseers of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of New York University and held a board position with the Sion Power Corporation. She became a member of the John S. Toll Heritage Society at Stony Brook and established the Berezin-Wilenitz Endowment.

“I feel that Stony Brook has given and continues to give a great education to children from low income families and particularly to children of immigrants,” Berezin is quoted as saying on the SBU website. She and her husband of 51 years, Israel Wilenitz, a chemical engineer, also funded the Sam and Rose Berezin Endowed Scholarship, named after her parents.

“Evelyn Berezin spent a lifetime defying expectations and pushing the boundaries of what is possible, and her guidance and generosity have helped empower Stony Brook University and its students to do the same,” SBU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement. “Her friendship has made Stony Brook a stronger institution, and we will forever be grateful to her.”

Berezin’s husband predeceased her in 2003. Funeral services were held Dec. 11 at the Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York City.

Dr. Edmunde Stewart had a passion for riding horses. Photo Courtesy of the Steart family

By Vicky Stewart

Dr. Edmunde Andrew Cameron Stewart, 80, died Dec. 6 in St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, surrounded by the love of his family. Stewart had been fighting pneumonia. For the past several years, after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his lungs were compromised.

The Stewart family is most known for living on Old Field Road for many years, where he and his wife, Norma, raised their three children. Stewart was an orthopedic surgeon working at St. Charles Hospital and Mather Hospital, serving as the chief of orthopedics at Mather, for many years, and as a past president of the medical staff at both St. Charles and Mather. He had a private practice on Elm Street in Port Jefferson.

Stewart was also an exceptional equestrian and had a passion for foxhunting. He was the master of the Smithtown Hunt Club and a president of the Smithtown Hunt Horse Show. He is remembered affectionately by fellow foxhunters as “Doc” as he would often help injured riders, during a foxhunt. For many years, he moderated the hunt breakfast, to benefit the museums at Stony Brook. He also served three terms as a trustee for the Village of Old Field.

Although medicine and horses were his passions, his greatest love was his family. Right until the end, with family by his side, he was letting them know how much he loved them.

His legacy will live on through his loving family, who adored him. He leaves behind his wife of 56 years, Norma; his son Greg; daughters Victoria and Gillian; and son-in-law Juan. He was a loving grandpa to his four grandchildren, Olivia, Cameron, Benjamin and Emilia, all who affectionately called him “Deda.”

Stewart was a native of Dundee, Scotland. He was predeceased by his father Andrew Stewart, mother Winifred Byrd Lennox and sister Winifred Lennox Govan.

Stewart entered St. Andrew’s University Medical School in Scotland at the age of 17. Upon graduation in 1961, he did two specialty residences in Scotland: internal medicine and orthopedics. In 1962-63, he taught anatomy at St. Andrew’s University. He came to the United States in 1963 and served his residency in orthopedics at Nassau Hospital, Meadowbrook Hospital and here at St. Charles. He became a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1971, and the following year he received his fellow of American College of Surgeons. He also served in the Army Reserve, as a reserve commissioned officer  for the United States Army.

The doctor was a man of many talents. His children remember him playing the trumpet and the piano. Prior to entering medical school, he had spent many years on the stage, as a member of the Dundee Repertory Theatre, with starring roles in productions of “Oliver Twist” and “Great Expectations,” to name a few. At the same time, although busy on the stage and with his studies, Stewart managed to find some time to participate in one of his favorite sports. For two years, he was the junior champion of the West End Lawn Tennis Club, a prominent private tennis club in his native Dundee.

While at St. Andrews, Stewart was a member of the university’s fencing team, touring England, Ireland and Scotland and in the process obtaining his “full blue” for the university.

He was laid to rest Dec. 10 at the Caroline Church of Brookhaven in Setauket, on a beautiful sunny day, with a bagpiper playing “Amazing Grace,” in the distance.

“Every man dies, not every man lives” is a quote he was fond of, by William Wallace, a freedom fighter from Scotland near the end of the 13th century. This quote is a great testament to the fact that Stewart truly lived and lived with passion, until the very end. His fighting spirit and love for life will live on in all who knew him.

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Jack Schaedel with students through the years at Norwood Elementary School. Photo from Joanne Grzymala

Comsewogue School District is widely regarded as a haven for quality education and its community feel by those on the inside and outside. One of the people who played a role in fostering that reputation died Oct. 10, but his spirit won’t be vacating the schools’ walls, or broader community, any time soon.

Jack Schaedel, 78, was a teacher at Norwood Elementary School from 1969 to 1999, though his influence was not confined to his classroom. Schaedel ran the school’s store for years, conditioning the students to raise money to fund class trips or donate to worthy causes. Years of holiday gift sales and other fundraisers paid for trips to Washington, D.C., foreign countries and donations to UNICEF drives, thanks to Schaedel’s leadership.

Schaedel is honored during a chamber of commerce celebration. Photo from Joanne Grzymala

He also spent three decades as an active participant and board member on Port Jefferson Station’s chamber of commerce, on Theatre Three’s board of directors, served as the teachers union’s representative, and as a trustee on Comsewogue Public Library’s board from 1974 to 2000 — a time period that saw the public pillar grow exponentially in size.

Through all of his community involvement and duties as a teacher, the 1999 Port Times Record Man of the Year raised a family with his wife Anne of 58 years, and his family members speak as glowingly of him as his colleagues and students do.

“He was the most positive, happiest person you could meet,” said his daughter Joanne Grzymala, who went on to become a teacher herself. “Within minutes of meeting him he would already be cheering you on, inspiring something inside of you to feel good about yourself. His presence was felt the second he walked into a room. His enthusiasm for life was contagious.”

Comsewogue’s Joe Rella took over the role of Superintendent shortly after Schaedel retired, though the two maintained a relationship. The district’s head said Schaedel’s influence was felt long after he left.

Rella has led the way instituting a problem-based learning curriculum in the district, a method that closer resembles a college thesis format than the standardized teach-to-the-test model characterizing education in recent years. The curriculum is offered to all Comsewogue students this year following a small rollout last school year, which saw PBL students score higher in most cases on state tests than their peers learning in traditional classrooms.

“Long before problem-based learning was on the radar — I’m talking 25 years ago — Jack was doing [the same thing] with his fifth-grade class,” Rella said. “He was a master, he was like the Pied Piper. He got children excited about learning. While they were excited he snuck in the learning.”

In the 1999 Man of the Year feature written about him, then Norwood principal Andrew Cassidy praised Schaedel as a completely dedicated teacher, and board of education member Peter Cario called him singularly focused on the betterment of education.

During his years as a Comsewogue library trustee he worked closely with trustee Ed Wendol, who said as a pair their goal was to craft programs for residents of all age groups aimed at enjoyment and educating.

Jack Schaedel with students through the years at Norwood Elementary School. Photo from Joanne Grzymala

“I found him to be a true professional, really interested in educating, and making sure Comsewogue Public Library become the educational cultural and social center of our community. We felt that to be very important,” Wendol said.

Richard Lusak, the library’s first director who shepherded the facility through major expansion to the community hub it is today, called Schaedel a unifier on the board of trustees relentlessly dedicated to the Port Jeff Station area. “Jack worked very hard with us on all of our programs,” Lusak said. “He was a good man and a good trustee.”

Schaedel is survived by his wife Anne; sisters Cindy Davis and Dixie Schaedel; daughter Joanne Grzymala (Chris) and son Jack (Jackie); five grandchildren; and one great-granddaughter.

A December tribute is being planned in his honor, and those interested can email Joanne at setrlingjo61@yahoo.com for more information.

The family is also asking to consider donating to help in Theatre Three’s recovery from a devastating September flood at P.O. Box 512 Port Jefferson, New York 11777, attention Vivian Koutrakos.

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Charles B. Wang, right, stands with Stony Brook University President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. after receiving an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the school in 2015. Photo from Stony Brook University

Charles B. Wang, minority owner of the New York Islanders hockey team and founder of the software company CA Technologies, died Oct. 21 at the age of 74 in Oyster Bay, according to a statement from his attorney John McEntee of Farrell Fritz P.C. in Uniondale.

Charles B. Wang. Photo from CA Technologies

Wang was born in Shanghai, China, Aug. 19, 1944, and moved to the United States with his family when he was 8 years old. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics.

Wang donated $52 million to Stony Brook University, which led to the opening of the Charles B. Wang Center, in 2002, an Asian and Asian-American cultural center. At the time, it was the largest individual donation in State University of New York history, according to SBU’s website.

“I am deeply saddened to have learned about the passing of Charles Wang and extend my deepest sympathies to his family on behalf of myself and Stony Brook University,” SBU President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr. said in a statement. “Charles’ legacy will live on at Stony Brook University in the iconic and vibrant Charles B. Wang Center, opened in 2002 as an international hub bringing Asians and Americans into a common space, a marketplace of cultural awakenings and ideas for the 21st century.”

Stanley said in the statement the center offers a respite for students.

“It is a proverbial bridge between cultures, and a welcome home to all students of every nationality, every race and religion,” he said. “It is a monument to his vision and will continue to be for generations to come. The world needs more like Charles Wang.”

In 2015, Wang received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the university. During his acceptance speech he stated his beliefs in four points: “1. You can make a difference; 2. Integrity and loyalty are only words until tested; 3. Love life to the fullest; and 4. Have fun.”

In 1976, Wang co-founded Computer Associates International, now known as CA Technologies, serving as chairman and chief executive officer, according to his attorney.

“I am deeply saddened to have learned about the passing of Charles Wang and extend my deepest sympathies to his family on behalf of myself and Stony Brook University.”

— Dr. Samuel L. Stanley Jr.

In 2000 Wang was asked to purchase the Islanders, for which he remained majority owner until 2016 when he sold his majority stake. The entrepreneur had only attended one hockey game in life before ownership, and the new role led to him creating Project Hope, an international program in China to develop education through ice hockey.

Another philanthropic venture of Wang’s was Smile Train, of which he was the founding member in 1999 and chairman of the board. The nonprofit provides free surgery to children in developing countries who have cleft lip and palate.

“Charles was the driving force behind Smile Train and the reason why so many deserving children continue to receive the care they so desperately need,” Smile Train posted on its website. “His unwavering passion, commitment and dedication to children with clefts was unmatched. Our Smile Train family will miss him beyond words, yet we take comfort in knowing his legacy will live on forever in the smiles of the faces of the children we help and in the hearts of everyone who was fortunate enough to know him.”

In 1998, Wang endowed the Charles B. Wang International Foundation, and, in 2001, he established the New York Islanders Children’s Foundation, dedicated to supporting children and youth organizations, according to McEntee’s statement.

Wang was also chairman of the board of NeuLion, a digital video technology company, from 2008 to 2016 and is the author of “TechnoVision: The Executive’s Survival Guide to Understanding and Managing Information Technology” and “Wok Like a Man,” a cookbook of his favorite Chinese food recipes.

Wang leaves behind his wife Nancy Li; children Kimberly (Chris), Jasmine and Cameron; grandchildren, Charles, Kingsley and Kendall; mother, Mary; brothers Anthony (Lulu) and Francis (Laura), and his nieces and nephew. He was preceded in death by his father, Kenneth. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Smile Train or the New York Islanders Children’s Foundation.

 

Ex-Chief John Evans, a 62-year member of the Setauket Fire Department, died July 28 and was buried with honors in the St. James R.C. Church Cemetery in Setauket Aug. 2. Firematic Services were held at Bryant Funeral Home Aug. 1.

Evans was born Oct. 31, 1934, in Mather Hospital. He graduated Port Jefferson High School in 1952. His studies in college were followed with a position with Suffolk County as a civil engineer. He retired after 36 years in 1991.

He married Betty in 1957 and recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary. They have three children, Sharon Pifko, Tim Evans and Kathy Mays. He is also survived by his two grandchildren Hailey and Sean Mays and a sister Sandra Kratina of Miller Place.

Evans joined the Setauket Fire Department when he was 18 years old and was chief of the department from 1964 through 1965. He was also an assistant chief for six years prior. After serving 61 years, 11 months and 4 days, he became a Life member of SFD, and in his final years, he was a member of the Fire Police.

In his years of active firefighting, Evans shared his great knowledge of hydraulics and pumping with many of the younger firefighters as they learned all the nuances of the department pumpers. He will be missed.

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