Obituaries

Paul Greenberg. Photo from Miller Place Fire District

One of the Miller Place Fire Department’s longest serving captains, Paul Greenberg, died Jan. 22. He was 78.

Greenberg was born July 4, 1941 in Manhattan to the late Sidney and Ida Greenberg. 

Paul Greenberg. Photo from Miller Place Fire District

Greenberg has been captain for 10 years, according to Commissioner Larry Fischer, and has been with Miller Place fire for around three decades. In addition to his service with the department, he also had a 37 year career with the Civil Service Department of Suffolk County, according to his obituary from O.B. Davis Funeral Home. In his free time, it was said he enjoyed building model boats.

Miller Place Fire Chief Rick Batchelder said he had known Greenberg since 2004, saying that he “has always been involved in department functions.” 

“He was always a great guy, and he always approached me with questions that needed answers,” the chief said.

He had especially been involved with the Miller Place Fire Police. Lieutenant Tom Van De Kieft served with him for several decades in the fire police section, adding that Greenberg was active as one of the ambulance drivers.

“He was good with all the members,” Van De Keift said. “He was very active as a leader — well liked.”

He was the husband of Tasha Greenberg (née Hewett), who is the secretary for the fire department; the father of Glenn (Anna) Greenberg and the late Diana Hewett-Ridgewell; the adoring grandfather of Michael Greenberg and his fiancée Tiana Rooney and Brian Greenberg; the brother of Marty (Jo Ann) Greenberg; the uncle of Mark Greenberg and great uncle of Tyler and Caleb Greenberg; and brother-in-law of Charles Hewett and his partner Charles Olbricht.

A memorial visitation for Greenberg will be held Sunday, Jan. 26 from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at O.B. Davis Funeral Homes, 1001 Route 25A, Miller Place, NY 11764.

 

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Josephine Geronimo Johannes, formerly of Port Jefferson, passed away Jan. 11 surrounded by family, and friends in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was 94.

Johannes was born Aug. 7, 1925 and grew up in Jamaica, Queens in the loving, extended-family home of her parents, Madeline and Raphael Geronimo, along with her four sisters, one brother and their families.

She graduated from John Adams High School in Queens. After attending Secretarial School, she worked in Manhattan until her marriage to Ronald P. Johannes in 1948. Jo and Ron raised five children while living in Levittown, Port Jefferson and later Naples, FL.

Jo was an active member of the St. Charles Hospital Auxiliary Volunteers in Port Jefferson and a Librarian’s Assistant at Earl L Vandermuellen High School. Johannes retired from The Collier County Public Library in Florida, and she quickly began volunteering again at consignment shops and St. Williams Church.

She enjoyed beaching, dancing, playing tennis, bowling, tea parties, reading, Beanie Baby collecting, traveling, and playing cards. Some of her all-time favorite groups she was a part of were The Gourmet Dinner Group, the Platinum Girls Dance group, and Martini Card Club.

Johannes is survived by her five children, Diane (Tim), Lauren Johannes-Mihalek, Sandra Ellis (Emory), Debra Novak (Tom) and Glenn Johannes (Cindy). In addition, Grandma Jo adored her eleven grandchildren and their spouses, Tim, Emory, Ben, Rebecca, Ryan, Aleah, Keith, Michaela, Alex, John, Michael, Nolan, Dylan, Tyler, Eryn.

Family and friends are welcome at Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Gardens, 525 111th Ave N, Naples, FL on Sunday, Jan. 26, from 2 to 4 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be 10 am on Monday, Jan. 27 at St. Williams Catholic Church, 601 Seagate Dr, Naples. She will be laid to rest at Naples Memorial Gardens immediately following.

Memorial donations may be made to Conservancy of Southwest Florida www.conservancy.org or Friends of the Library of Collier County Inc, www.collier-friends.org

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Robert Lee Berran

Robert Lee Berran, formerly of Setauket, died Jan. 15. He was 96.

 Bob was born in Mount Vernon, New York, Dec. 24, 1923, and was raised in Scarsdale. Between the ages of 19 and 22, he served as a medic during World War II under General Patton’s Third Army in Europe.

After the war he studied at the Art Students League in New York City from 1947 to 1950. After leaving the Art Students League, he painted movie posters for 20th Century Fox. Four years later he joined the Illustrators Group where artists were predominately from the Haddon Sundbloom School of Painting. His work at the Illustrators Group was for prestigious clients such as Ford and Coca-Cola.

Subsequently Bob illustrated for the Seventh Day Adventists for their series of children’s books “My Bible Friends,” which are still popular today. In 1969 Bob began to paint paperback book covers mostly for Avon, Ballantine, Harlequin and Fawcett among others. He then joined Mendola Ltd, an artist’s representative group, for 17 years, and Hankins-Tegenborg for another 11 years. Then computerized art arrived and put many talented artists out of work. Bob was fortunate, he was introduced to the art director of a publishing company, Quadriga Art. He worked for them for almost 25 years painting religious artwork, to which he was happy to return as it was his first love as an artist. He also enjoyed painting portraits of adults, children and pets. His career spanned over 70 years.

Bob married Suzanne Marie Culbertson in 1952. They have three children, Kathryn (Edward Gutleber), Kristine (Gordon Hamilton) and Scott along with three grandchildren Kathryn, Eddie and Irene Gutleber. Bob and Suzanne lived in Stony Brook for 43 years before moving to Vero Beach, Florida, in 2004. Bob was a member of the Society of Illustrators until his death.

A memorial service will be held 2 p.m. Jan. 24 at First Presbyterian Church, Vero Beach. In lieu of flowers, donations to American Cancer Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Shriners Hospitals for Children would be appreciated. An online guest book is available at www.lowtherfuneralhome.com.

Roscoe Loper Jr.

Roscoe Loper Jr., a lifelong resident of Port Jefferson, died Oct. 10. He was 99.

He was born Sept. 13, 1920, in Port Jefferson and was the son of Anna and Roscoe Loper Sr.

Loper was an Army veteran of World War II and a retired bay constable for the Town of Brookhaven. He also enjoyed camping and boating. 

Left to cherish his memory are his daughters, Diane and Sharon; son, Roscoe Loper III; six grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and many other family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Alvaretta; parents, Roscoe and Anna; brother, Wesley; and grandson, Roscoe IV.

Services were held at Bryant Funeral Home. Loper was afforded full military honors at Cedar Hill Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of Setauket. Visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guest book.

Francis ‘Duke’ J. Lupardo

Francis “Duke” J. Lupardo, 86, a longtime community resident, died Oct. 8.

He was born Oct. 1, 1933, in Brooklyn and was the son of Amelia and John Lupardo.

“Duke” was a retired electrical engineer for the New York Telephone Company, a member of the Democratic committee, enjoyed reading, dancing, golf and the stock market. He was a sociable, humorous and generous man who loved a good martini.

He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War.

Left to cherish his memory are his daughters Carrie Gorecki and Patty (William) Seltzer; two grandchildren; one great-grandchild; his sister Maria; along with other family and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Rose, son John, sister Ann and brothers Neil and John.

Services were held at Bryant Funeral Home Oct. 12 along with full military honors.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. Visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guest book.

Donations can be made to the American Cancer Society or the American Kidney Foundation in his memory.

Michael J. Pacilio Sr.

Michael J. Pacilio Sr., 81, a longtime community resident, died Dec. 2.

He was born Oct. 25, 1938, in Brooklyn, the son of Marie and John Pacilio.

Michael was a retired teacher for Northport High School, and he was an artist that enjoyed painting and sculpting. He was also an Army veteran of the Vietnam War.

Left to cherish his memory are his daughter Michele; son Michael; two grandchildren; along with other family and friends.

Services were held at Bryant Funeral Home Dec. 6. He was afforded full military honors at Calverton National Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of East Setauket. Visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guest book.

Lillian Meehan

Lillian M. Meehan, of Port Jefferson, died Nov. 4. She was 90.

She was born Dec. 16, 1928, in Huntington, the daughter of Jane and William Fisher.

Lillian was a retired secretary for Shell Oil. In her free time, she enjoyed reading, gardening and spending time with family.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Mary Jane and Barbara; sons, Thomas, Peter and Brian; 12 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; sisters, Jane and Patricia; and many other family members and friends.

Services were held at Infant Jesus R.C. Church. Interment was at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Huntington.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of Setauket. People can visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guestbook.

Angelina Landi

Angelina Landi, of Port Jefferson Station, died Oct. 6. She was 94.

She was born October 12, 1924, in Manhattan and was the daughter of Carmela and Ignazio DeLuca.

Landi was a retired teacher for the Three Village School District and a member of the Knights of Columbus and senior club at St. Gerard R.C. Majella Church. She enjoyed traveling in her off time.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughters, Rachel (Michael) Case and Veronica (Paul) Wingler; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; two sisters, Josephine and Philipina; and many other family members and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Felix, and sister, Jean.

Services were held at St. Gerard R.C. Majella Church in Terryville. Interment was at St. Charles Cemetery in Farmingdale.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of Setauket. People can visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guestbook.

Contributions made to the St. Gerard R.C. Majella Church in her memory would be appreciated.

Hanne Woods

Hanne Edith Woods, of Miller Place, died Nov. 7. She was 90.

She was born Dec. 24, 1928, in Setauket and was the daughter of Elysa and Alf Hoffmoen.

Hanne was a retired secretary for the Three Village school district and a member of the Sons of Norway. In her off time, she enjoyed golf, bridge, bowling, singing and spending time with family.

Left to cherish her memory are her daughter, Candace; two grandchildren; one great-grandchild; and other family members and friends.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Frank; daughter, Patricia; sister, Ruth; and brother, Robert.

Services were held at the Bryant Funeral Home Nov. 11. Interment was at the Washington Memorial Park cemetery in Mount Sinai.

Arrangements were entrusted to the Bryant Funeral Home of Setauket. People can visit www.bryantfh.com to sign the online guestbook.

Dain Becker 

Dain Becker, “Chief” of Northport, died on Dec. 20 at 65 years of age. Beloved husband of Mina (née Parezo); loving father of Nicholas and Derek Becker; dear brother of Alan and Karan Becker; fond brother-in-law of Dee Lynch, Marlene Weldon and Paul Parezo. Also loved by his nieces and nephews. Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home, Northport, Dec. 23. Funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 24 at St. Anthony of Padua Church, East Northport. Private cremation followed.

 

Florence R. Christie 

Florence R. Christie of Greenlawn died on Dec. 22 at 93 years of age. Beloved wife of the late William; loving mother of William Christie Jr. (Patty), Linda Wilson (Brian), Barbara McLean (Christopher), Patty Christie and Carolyn Gulotta (Ronald); cherished grandmother of Katie McGinn (Casey), William Christie III, Patrick Christie, Christie Bonasera (John), Brian Wilson (Bridget), Jaime Pochtrager (Daniel), Megan Sorvino (Vic), Andrew Gulotta, Christian Gulotta, Caileigh Gulotta and Caroline Gulotta; adored great-grandmother of Liam, Zach, Jack, Charlie and Finn. Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home, Northport, Dec. 26. Funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 27 at St. Francis of Assisi Church, Greenlawn. Private cremation followed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Center of Hope Foundation, Attention: Accounting Office, 51 Terryville Road, Port Jefferson Station, NY 11776. (Please make checks payable to: Center of Hope Foundation) or made electronically at www.maryhaven.chsli.org/giving.

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Ellen Brady

Ellen Brady, a long-time member of the Suffolk County Republican Committee and wife of Smithtown Republican Party Vice-Chairman Bernard “Bernie” Brady, died Jan. 15 at the age of 78.

She was the loving mother of Michael (Terri) Brady, Denise (Joseph) Riccio and Patrick (Tara) Brady; the cherished grandmother of Michael, Patrick, Jack, Molly, Liam and Erin; and the adored sister of Muriel (Carl) Scarantino and the late Gerard McLeer.

Visitation was held at Branch Funeral Home in Smithtown on Sunday, Jan. 19 from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Funeral mass will be celebrated Monday, Jan. 20 at 10:00 a.m. at Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, 95 Old Nichols Road in Nesconset. Burial to follow at St. Patrick’s Cemetery Mount Pleasant Road in Smithtown.

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Jean Sparozic passed Jan. 12.

Jean Sparozic passed Jan. 12 in West Newbury, MA. He was 93, and had residences in Huntington, Port Washington and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Sparozic was the beloved husband of the late Joyce Dendievel Sparozic; the loving father of Jill Morrison, Suzy Sparozic, and Wendy Dirkes; the adored grandfather of Jonathan and Ryan; and the dear brother of Marie Gunderson.

Jean Sparozic with his late wife Joyce Dendievel Sparozic.

Reposing at Austin F. Knowles, Inc. Funeral Home, located at 128 Main St. Port Washington Friday, Jan. 17 from 4 to 8 p.m. Graveside service is Saturday, Jan. 18 at 11 a.m. at Nassau Knolls Cemetery.

For over 40 years, Sparozic was owner of Amoureuse Couture, a 7th Avenue Evening Gown Mfg. Amoureuse Couture in NYC, making glamorous custom formal gowns for such notables as Mamie Eisenhower, wife of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Opera singer, Beverly Sills, Kathryn Harken (the wife of Zero Mostel), Rudy Giuliani’s second wife, Donna Hanover for President George H.W. Bush’s inauguration, a Saudi Prince’s daughter, Rose Mary Clooney, amongst celebrity clients, with a Fashion Show at Studio 54 in its heyday. He also sold gowns to such stores as Saks, Hirshleifer’s on Miracle Mile, and many more around the country. Before opening his own company, he worked with Bill Blass and Oleg Cassini amongst others notable fashion industry giants.

His life began Sept. 3, 1926 in Masny, France. As a child he was educated at a convent with his sister and his mother, a devout Catholic had high hopes he would enter the seminary. Sparozic had other ideas and wanted to become a merchant sea captain and see the world. At 16, that dream became a reality when he joined the French Merchant Marines during World War II, making close to 40 trips to the U.S. and other ports of call. Many times, the ships carried American soldiers and supplies back to war torn France and other sea ports. The first time, each time after he came to New York Harbor, he would never forget the sight of seeing the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom.

While in New York City, during free time, he would visit the USO French Canteen, where he met his future bride, Joyce Dendievel, a beautiful, young British and French fashion designer. Joyce was fluent in French and was a volunteer at the canteen for the war effort. Jean had tickets to Radio City Christmas Show and the romance bloomed. Joyce was smitten with Jean’s French accent and Johnny Depp good looks. After several trips back and forth to France, at 19 years old, Jean decided he wanted to make a life with Joyce in the U.S., and they were married. Not knowing English, it was rough at first finding work. After moving to Port Washington to live with Joyce and her family, Jean worked for a time at Shield’s Plumbing. The couple moved to New York City and he would find himself working at the Waldorf Astoria in the kitchen, until he visited Joyce’s company, and she helped him find work in the garment district. He became fascinated with the pattern makers and started taking night courses at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he became proficient in pattern making and tops in his field. At this point, in 1958, Joyce had become a mother to the three girls, and his wife had saved enough to buy a home. In 1966, he started Amoureuse Couture, and the rest is history. He continued taking courses of all sorts well into his 50s. Jean didn’t retire until in his 80s, acting as a consultant and head pattern maker for other firms in New York City’s Garment Center, including Land’s End, and other top brands.

Around this time, Jean also was able to help bring his mother, step-father, sister and her children from Algiers which was war torn from French Algerian War at the time, to live in Port Washington, as well.

Sparozic was an avid sailor and kept his boat moored at the Port Washington Town Dock, taking his family out sailing and fishing. The couple had spent many summer’s in Montauk camping and fishing, as well. Jean’s other love was restoring old Mercedes Benz in his spare time, well into his 80s, and traveling. He will be sorely missed.

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Stock photo

When, last autumn in Rhinebeck, New York, Lorraine Barbra Lindner exited this earth, little did she know what a stir she would cause locally in her beloved home of some 40 years.

Lorraine Barbra Lindner

She was 92. She was my mother, and all her life she served the poor.

She taught me that and she taught me how. She also instructed me about the niceties of giving gifts, her favorite activity. For this, she always kept a calendar, besmirched with the daily jottings of people for whom she cared — always sending them presents for their every occasion. She did this faithfully and methodically. In fact, never did a day pass that she did not give someone something.

And, guess what she left behind for me? Her only silver crucifix ring! Now I display it handsomely upon that left-hand pinky finger where she also used to wear it. In truth, it is my only connection to her, this little silver memento, and I shall always cherish it.

Moreover, I still mourn her and her cause, which was to give gifts to what seemed to be all the living world.

Despite her practice of generosity, she lived in a world of her own — always thinking about the little guy, while indulging her fantasy of Christian hope and charity to all. She did this one blessed person at a time, as I also want to say and do. For mom was a great neighbor to have; everyone who visited her home in Port Jefferson village was treated with utmost courtesy and welcome. 

But all of this is ended now that she has greeted eternity. Therefore, as her son, I now praise this 5 foot 2, blue-eyed Irishwoman and solemnly swear it has been a distinct privilege to have shared your friendship and expert care. 

For caring would be the best thing you would do. So, I reached out at your Infant Jesus funeral Mass of Christian burial, touching your casket with both my hands. Now I bid you a fond goodbye — even as you, gift giver, say so long to friends and family, knowing as we all do how very true it is that — just as you taught us all during your long life. And we shall all meet you again upon our own lives’ end. 

But for now, it will have to be goodbye, gift giver, my friend. See you in
heaven, Mom. 

George Lindner is a Port Jefferson Station resident.

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Frank Henn

Frank J. Henn of Holtsville passed Dec. 31, 2019. He was 93.

He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army in World War II and was the beloved husband of the late Elaine.

In addition, he was the cherished father of James (Virginia), Pamela (Patrick) O’Keeffe, Joanne (Thomas) Dethloff and Kevin (Theresa); the loving grandfather of 12 and great-grandfather of five; and the dear brother of Dorothy Leskody, Joan Ruberti and Donald (Barbara). He is further survived by many other family members and friends.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Mark’s R.C. Church in Shoreham, and interment followed with military honors at Calverton National Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Robert Desmond III

Robert T. Desmond III of Miller Place passed Dec. 5, 2019. He was 37.

He was the beloved son of Robert and Patricia; the cherished brother of Allison (Alan) Gandt and Kyle (Jennifer); and the loving uncle of Drew and Molly Gandt.

He is additionally survived by many other family members and friends.

A religious service was held at First United Methodist Church in Port Jefferson, and interment followed at Sea View Cemetery in Mount Sinai.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Kaitlyn Schaal

Kaitlyn Anne Schaal of Mount Sinai died Oct. 15, 2019. She was 19.

She was the cherished daughter of Doreen Kremens and Richard; the beloved sister of Megan, Richard and Ryan; and the loving granddaughter of Virginia (the late Richard) and the late Nicholas and the late Dolores Roche.

She is additionally survived by many other family members and friends.

A religious service was held at the Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place, and interment followed at Calverton National Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Karen Johnston

Karen Johnston of Ridge passed Dec. 23, 2019. She was 45.

She was the beloved wife of Richard; the loving mother of Timothy, Matthew and Megan; the adored daughter of Nancy and the late Harold Rischowsky; and the devoted sister of Mark (Lisa) Rischowsky. She is further survived by many other family members and friends.

Service was held at Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place, and interment followed at Washington Memorial Park cemetery in Mount Sinai.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Vincent Juliano

Vincent Juliano of Rocky Point passed on Dec. 29, 2019. 

He was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army during World War II. In life after the war, he became an avid RC airplane modeler, a New York City special education teacher and an Alcon Canadian sales manager.

He was the beloved husband of the late Lillian; the cherished father of John (Jennifer), Vincent (Sharon), Linda (Jeff), Ken and Chris (Cathy); and the loving grandfather of six. He is additionally survived by many other family members and friends.

Service was held at Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place, and interment followed with military honors at Calverton National Cemetery.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

John Lynch

John (Jack) Lynch died Dec. 9. He was 96 years old.

Jack was born in New York City. He studied at Catholic University of America and Manhattan College. He joined the Levittown school district in 1952. He later became a principal in upstate New York. He opened the Cherokee Street Elementary School in the Connetquot Central School District in 1969. 

After retirement, he played softball with the Brookhaven softball league and tennis at the Old Field Club. He was a member of the Stony Brook Yacht Club, enjoying leisure times with fellow retirees. He sang in the choir at St. James R.C. Church in Setauket and served as a Eucharistic Minister. Jack loved spending time with his nine grandchildren. During the last year, he danced with three of his granddaughters at their weddings.

He is survived by his wife, Mary; daughter, Maryellen; and two sons, John and Brian, and their wives, Nancy and Susan.

Isabel Stevens

Isabel L. Stevens (née Farrell) of East Northport died Dec. 18. Stevens was a former switchboard operator at Carillon Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and an active member of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, 899 Court Morning Star, and a devoted lifelong N.Y. Mets fan. Beloved wife of the late Robert; loving mother of Robert (Joanne), Jean (Peter) Sabia and Susan (Kevin) Luning; devoted grandmother of Andrew Sabia, Steven Sabia, Kelley (Ryan) Nimmo, Sean, Jessica Luning and Melissa and Kevin Luning; cherished great-grandmother of Declan Nimmo; and caring aunt of Eileen (Arthur) Fredrickson. Repose was held Dec. 22 at the Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. A funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 23 at St. Anthony of Padua R.C. Church, East Northport. Interment followed at St. Philip Neri Cemetery. 

Clifford E. Bishop

Retired Norwood Avenue Elementary School Principal Clifford E. Bishop died Dec. 23 at 85 years of age. He served as principal for the Northport school for over 25 years. Beloved husband of the late Margaret; loving father of Bruce (Chantal), Mary Ann (Richard) Duryea, Joan (Stephen) Perrone and Kelly (Terrance) Motherway; cherished grandfather of Sean, Matthew, Julie, Jillian, Anthony, Jack, Declan and Maggie; dear twin brother of Robert (the late Ellie); and fond brother of Virginia (the late Billy) Killoran, Dorothy (Arthur) Capeci, George (Kathy) and the late Warren (Mary). Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport Dec. 26. A funeral Mass was celebrated Dec. 27 at St. Philip Neri Church, Northport. Interment followed at Calverton National Cemetery. In Cliff’s memory donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research would be appreciated: www.michaeljfox.org/donate/our-goal-urgently-needed-cure?smcid=ap-a1b1R0000086fHf.

Locals Look Back on RP Teacher, Coach, Administrator and Icon

Michael Bowler, middle, was renowned as a RP lacrosse coach. Photos from Rich Acritelli

By Rich Acritelli

Just recently, Rocky Point Union Free School District lost the wonderful presence of longtime teacher, coach, advisor and administrator Michael Bowler, who passed away Dec. 1.  This legendary coach of 47 years had accumulated 447 wins as the only lacrosse coach Rocky Point had ever known. While Bowler was always a notable figure who taught, coached and mentored the students of the school, his unique background of honor, service, kindness and loyalty was established some 72 years ago.

Michael Bowler in his early days. Photo from Rich Acritelli.

Bowler was born Feb. 14, 1947, to Paul and Marie Bowler. He was raised in Hicksville with his brother Kevin and his two sisters Meg and Stephanie. During World War II, his dad was a Marine Corps fighter pilot who fought in the Pacific, where he was able to fly near one of the greatest baseball hitters of all time, Boston Red Sox icon Ted Williams. After the war, the senior Bowler was involved in business and his mother was an elementary school teacher. As a kid, Bowler attended Catholic school, where he loved playing football and basketball. Since religion has been a cornerstone of this family, Bowler served as an alter boy at St. Ignatius Elementary School. Later, Bowler attended St. Dominic’s High School in Oyster Bay. He was a four-year honor student, a featured running back on the football team and a major leader on the golf squad. His most crowning achievement was meeting his high school sweetheart and later wife, Helene, at the age of 16. Just recently, they renewed their wedding vows for their 50th wedding anniversary.

In 1965, Bowler graduated from high school and moved on to King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He studied history and education and was later a vice president of the student council and the president of the senior class. Shortly after graduating, he married Helene on Aug. 23, 1969, and was quickly hired as a social studies teacher at St. John the Baptist High School in West Islip where he taught history and theology. It was there Bowler began his lifelong passion of coaching, starting with the  junior varsity football team. In this rather busy time, Bowler enlisted in the New York Army National Guard for six years. Since his youth he was always in leadership positions, so it was no surprise that Bowler became a heavy truck operator and a platoon sergeant within a motor company. It was at this time Bowler and his wife welcomed their oldest son Brendan into the family Aug. 19, 1972.

In 1973, Bowler was hired at Rocky Point High School,where he continued teaching social studies and was offered a coaching position in lacrosse, a position that would shape the rest of his life. While Bowler was a well-rounded athlete, lacrosse was a new game for him. For the rest of his life, Bowler was always a student of a sport that saw him evolve into one of the finest high school coaches in New York. Bowler grew into a major faculty member that was in charge of the social studies department and was a senior class adviser who organized major trips to Montreal, Canada, and to Walt Disney World in Florida. He ran school dances, the battle of the classes, the senior picnic, prom and dinner from 1976 to 1995 and 2002 to 2003. For a decade, he also coached the varsity girls cross-country team. Bowler ran with his team and demonstrated a strong flair for pushing his students to do well at long-distance running. Like that of lacrosse, he was a devoted leader that had won several league titles and a coach of the year award from 1978 to 1988.

Michael Bowler, middle, was renowned as a RP lacrosse coach. Photos from Rich Acritelli

By 1985, the Bowler family grew to three more boys through the addition of Sean, Kevan and Michael All of them attended school at Infant Jesus in Port Jefferson before moving onto St. Anthony’s in Huntington. On top of his busy teaching and coaching schedule, to earn extra money for his family Bowler delivered beer, moved people’s homes and even transported libraries within the city and Long Island to different locations. At night, Bowler went back to school at C.W. Post to earn his administrative degree. He was quickly promoted as an assistant principal at Rocky Point middle and high schools. Armed with a big smile and a can-do attitude, Bowler was responsible for discipline, hiring teachers, scheduling staff and students and being a constant presence at all school functions.  He mentored teachers like Brooke Bonomi to constantly support the students around him within every imaginable task and activity.  Often, when one observed Bowler’s desk, it was often messy and full of papers dealing with every possible concern that can occur within a school. Even as he held an administration position, Bowler continued to coach the lacrosse team, where he had a positive impact inside and outside of this school.  

After several years of working with younger athletes, establishing intramural programs, and coaching the junior varsity team, by 1978 his squad had its first full varsity season. With an energetic demeanor, Bowler instructed a green group of athletes toward attaining an 11-8 record. This was the start of many outstanding decades that saw the Rocky Point Eagles be one of the finest programs within their league, county and on Long Island. In 1985, after several years of hard work, the Eagles captured their first county title. Bowler reached the pinnacle of success within the sport, as he eventually guided his players to a 2008 New York State Championship. For all of his devotion, Bowler was awarded numerous coaches of the year awards through his league and county and he was honored with being the Man of the Year in sports through Times Beacon Record and the local Rotary Club. 

In 2014, Rocky Point lost a hard fought game to Lynbrook, where the team came extremely close to making it to the state tournament. Ever the master communicator, Bowler made a detailed speech about the strengths of this group and the importance of giving their all to a contest and still being proud of themselves, even when some goals are not achieved. John Fernandez was a 1996 graduate of Rocky Point, a member of the West Point lacrosse team and close confidant of Bowler. He was severely wounded during the Second Gulf War in Iraq. This talented player openly recalled Bowler “never screamed or belittled a player, lost his cool or uttered profanity on the field. His success in coaching has come from his ability to encourage and get players to ask the most from themselves, not from others.”

Over the years the incredibly personable man established solid relationships with college coaches all over this nation. His “boys” played on every athletic college level at schools like Albany, Adelphi, Brown, Colgate, Dartmouth, Delaware, Hofstra, Manhattan, Stony Brook, Towson, Trinity, Wagner and Wesleyan. In larger numbers, his players served in the armed forces as they played within every service academy team. It is said Rocky Point has more captains that lead the West Point team than any other high school in America. Rocky Point guidance counselors Matt Poole and Jimmy Jordan always marveled at Bowler’s ability to fully understand the college recruiting and admissions process. For decades, Bowler drove his students on numerous trips in New England and the East Coast. Often the case, he quietly took money out of his own pocket for the sake of his players. Just this past year alone, former Rocky Point standout Peter LaSalla was a freshman and faceoff man on the University of Virginia lacrosse team. This local kid that just played for Bowler was a key member of a team that recently won the 2019 National Championship.

It is with a heavy heart that Rocky Point school district mourns the difficult loss of an individual that always made time for his family, friends, students and players. Even as he retired from his administrative position in 2004, Bowler continued to coach lacrosse until his declining health conditions forced him to retire from this position. Bowler leaves behind the love of his best friend Helene who spent countless hours at the school rooting for his teams, along with his three boys Brendan, Kevan and Michael. There is undoubtedly a special place in heaven for Bowler who is surely united with his second oldest son Sean, who passed away from Lou Gehrig’s disease, otherwise known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2005. The family loved Sean’s girlfriend Adena Herskovitz, who as she was attending Yale Law School had taken care of him after he was diagnosed with ALS. While the Bowler’s are dominated by all boys, Adena truly represented the lone daughter of this family. As with Sean, Adena was recently at the bedside of Bowler to ensure that he was properly receiving the correct medical attention at Sloan Kettering in Manhattan.

Like that of Brooklyn native and Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, who was a devout Catholic, teacher, coach, mentor and loyal member of his church, Bowler truly resembled the traits of this historic figure, of living his life for the love of his family, God and the Rocky Point Eagles. For decades, Bowler was a major member of the Infant Jesus Parish in Port Jefferson where he could be seen assisting with the weekly and Sunday Masses. At times, it is my custom to speak with Father Francis Pizzarelli of Hope House and Infant Jesus. With a big smile, Father Frank always described the devotion of Bowler who always enhanced others within his church and team. The priest recalled how Bowler even coached his family members. Always with a hectic schedule, Bowler and his wife took care of a special needs young man and his home over the last several years. Never did the Bowlers ever seek any type of attention for always putting others first — it was not their way. From his youngest moments, Bowler and his family “selflessly” aided others with a tremendous smile, kindness and heart.

Up until his death, Bowler dearly loved his family, team, community and church. He leaves behind a “tribe” of six grandsons, who he was immensely proud of seeing during his visits to Massachusetts and Colorado. Like that of his players, he followed their every lacrosse movements and was happy that they were all well-rounded student-athletes. In the summers, the family vacationed on Block Island where they looked forward to being together. While lacrosse was always a passion for Bowler, the athletic tradition has been passed onto all of his sons, who were all tough college players that later became high school coaches. His two older grandsons are devoted students who are currently playing for Duke University and Marist College. At a gathering that was held at the Bowler home after the cemetery services, the younger grandsons were running around the house with their football helmets on. They were catching passes from Bowler’s brother Kevin in the backyard of his home.  Like their grandfather, they flashed a brilliant smile as they were running around and tackling each other.  

At this sad time, as the Bowler family came together and at several points during this trying week, they could be heard laughing at colorful memories of this unique man.  At the church service at Infant Jesus Church in Port Jeffeson, his younger son, Michael, soundly recalled the dynamic ways and “quirks” of his father that had given so much to all those around him. It was hard to find a seat or place to stand as family members, neighbors, friends, current and former teachers, players and coaches all gave a final goodbye to a person that garnered so much affection. And these accounts that were creatively stated by Michael produced a large roar of laughter from the crowd. Each in turn  easily recalled the genuine ways of this former husband, parent, family member, educator, coach, church member, neighbor and veteran.

At the final wake services, where there were close to a thousand people that stood on line to share the numerous positive qualities of Bowler, 2010 high school graduate Michael Muller addressed the true meaning of this man. In front of a packed house, Muller, a graduate and a lacrosse player from Dartmouth College, said his life would have been vastly differently if it was not for the constant presence and guidance of “Coach Bowler.” Muller echoed the sentiments of this North Shore community that truly appreciated the dedication of Michael P. Bowler, who always looked to enhance the school district. 

The life of this “Renaissance man” could be summed up through the words of Lombardi who told his own players, “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him.  It’s something we call heart power.  Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop short of success.”  

Through all of his amazing deeds to his family and school, Bowler has surely lived up to a high benchmark of excellence on and off the field.

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College.

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Mary Bifulco

Mary Bifulco, of Ridge, passed away Nov. 25. She was 92.

She was the beloved wife of the late Frank; cherished mother of Frank (Patti), Richard (Katie) and Donna DiGregorio; loving grandmother of Bradley (Rae), Lisa (Sam), Danielle (Michael), Lauren, Kristin (Matthew) and Daniel (Mallinda); and great-grandmother of Veda, Enzo, Ryan, Haley, Claire, Abigail and Jack. She is survived by many other family members and friends.

A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Francis Cabrini R.C. Church, and interment followed at St. Charles Cemetery in East Farmingdale.

Arrangements were entrusted to the care of Branch Funeral Home of Miller Place. An online guest book is available at www.branchfh.com.

Harry Weiner

Harry Weiner, a Port Jefferson resident for 44 years, passed away Dec. 8 and was laid to rest at Calverton National Cemetery Dec. 11. He was 89.

Weiner was born in Brooklyn in 1930 and led a long and interesting life. He served as an officer in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. He also served as a Foreign Service officer in Portugal and Brazil in the 1950s and ’60s. In the early 1970s, Weiner served as assistant dean at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. In 1975, Weiner began teaching as a professor at SUNY at Stony Brook’s W. Averell Harriman School for Management and Policy and also served as the school’s dean. He taught there for more than 40 years and was a favorite of students. After retiring as an emeritus professor, Weiner continued living in Port Jefferson until 2019. He pursued many hobbies such as tennis, pool and the study of languages. As a child he spoke Yiddish, and in the Foreign Service he became fluent in Portuguese. In the last 15 years, he became an avid self-taught student of Spanish and achieved a high level of proficiency.

He is survived by his sons Robert, Daniel and Alex; his daughter Joan; their spouses; and 11 grandchildren.

Weiner and his wife, Shirley, who passed away earlier this year, will be greatly missed by their friends and large extended family.

Vincent Marino

Vincent Marino of Hull, Massachusetts, formerly of Northport, died Nov. 26 at 65 years of age. Beloved son of his late parents Vincenza and William; cherished brother of William Marino (Kathy), Margaret Marino, Marian Marino (Marc Lucier), Mary Frances Marino (Edward Thompson) and Martin Charles Marino; and loving uncle of William, John, James, William, Abigail, AnnaMaria, Francesca and Rebecca. Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. A funeral Mass was celebrated  at St. Francis of Assisi R.C. Church. Burial followed at St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Island.

Henry Grana

Henry “Hank” Grana of Sun City, Arizona, formerly of Northport, passed away Nov. 21 at 87 years of age. Beloved husband of Jean for 58 years; loving father of Donna Koons (Lee) and Laura Grana; treasured poppy of Julia and Caroline; dear brother of the late Frank, Jack and Manuel; and survived by brothers Ferdinand (Buddy) and Robert Grana.

As a talented baseball player throughout his youth in Brooklyn, he played tirelessly and earned the nickname Hooks. He was a loyal employee of Bear Stearns for 42 years before his retirement in 1992.

Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Philip Neri R.C. Church in Northport. Interment followed at Genola Rural Cemetery in East Northport.

Anthony J. Morreale

Anthony “Tony” J. Morreale of East Northport died Dec. 3 at 86 years of age. Loving husband of Sheila; beloved father of John (Jackie) Morreale, Michael (Mary) Morreale, Mark (Jeanine) Morreale and Lisa (Dan) Bevilacqua; cherished grandfather of Michelle, Kevin, Catherine and Michael; and dear brother of Lucille Werkmeister. Visitation was held at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Philip Neri R.C. Church in Northport. Private cremation followed. Interment of ashes will take place Friday, Dec. 13, at Calverton National Cemetery at 2 p.m.

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Michael Bowler

Michael Patrick Bowler, of Port Jefferson Station, passed Dec. 1. He was  72.  

Michael devoted his life unselfishly to the care of his family and those in his community. He was a passionate longtime educator and lacrosse coach at Rocky Point High School, having helped coach the 2008 team to win a state championship. He was the beloved husband of Helene for 50 years. 

In addition, he was the loving father of Brendan (Amy), Kevan (Andrea), Michael (Ann), and the late Sean (Adena Herskovitz).  “Silly Willy” grandfather, better known as “Poppy” who unconditionally loved John, Michael, Brian, Donny, Brodie and Rory; and the devoted brother of Kevin (Jennie), Stephanie and Meg Malangone. 

Friends may call at the Bryant Funeral Home, located at 411 Old Town Road, East Setauket.  Visiting hours are Thursday, Dec. 5, from 7 to 9 p.m.  A Mass will be celebrated  Friday, Dec. 6 at 10:30 a.m. at Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson. Interment will follow at St. Patrick’s Cemetery in Smithtown.  

Donations to Ride for Life, ALS Association and Hope House Ministries would be appreciated. Visit www.bryantfh.com for more information.

Christine M. Spalletta 

It is with profound sadness to announce the sudden passing of Christine Spalletta of Northport Nov. 11. Raised in a large Irish Catholic family in Oyster Bay, she was born as the second daughter to the late Robert J. and Josephine Barnett. She will be forever loved and missed by her three children, Dawn (Kenny) Bennett, Theresa (Chris) Moore and Steve Spalletta, and seven adored grandchildren, Hailey, Brayden, Julia, Noah, CJ, Jamieson and Makenna. She is also survived by nine siblings, Jody (Don), Patty (Greg), Elie (Mike), Anne (Tom), Bob, Katie (Alan), John (Susan), Tom (Marie) and Jane (Bernie) as well as many nieces and nephews. Chris cherished her dear friends Betty, Pat, Jackie and Jackie and her oldest friends Loretta and Charlene (Oyster Bay High School Class of 1963). Christine’s greatest joy was being with her grandchildren.

Patrick Perpignano 

Patrick Perpignano of Northport died Nov. 14 at 76 years of age. He was the beloved husband of Carroll; loving father of Lisa Marshall (John), Kristin Perpignano (Jeremy Norris) and J. T. Glancy (Lisa); cherished grandfather of Devin, John, Lily, John, Lauren and Diana; and dear brother of Giovanna Perpignano. Visitation was held at the Nolan Funeral Home in Northport Nov. 19. A funeral Mass was celebrated Nov. 20 at St. Philip Neri R.C. Church, Northport; private cremation followed. In Patrick’s memory donations to American Cancer Society would be appreciated.

Linda Ringen 

Linda Ringen of Daytona Beach, Florida, formerly of Northport and Port Jefferson, died Nov. 23. She was the beloved wife of Peter; loving mother of Peter (Martha) Ringen Jr. and the late Ronald Ty Ringen Sr.; and cherished grandmother of Ronald Ty Ringen Jr., Alicia Kelly Ringen, Justin Ringen, Chelsea (Timothy) Atkins, Joshua Ringen and Grace Ringen. Visitation and funeral services were held Nov. 30. Closing prayer was held Dec. 1. Interment followed at Cedar Hill Cemetery, Port Jefferson. 

Daniel Donovan 

Daniel Donovan of Kings Park died Nov. 24 at 55 years of age. He was the beloved father of Kelly Zimmermann and her husband Daniel, Patrick Donovan and Shannon Donovan; loved by Dee Donovan; cherished grandfather of Mason; and loving brother of Colleen Kirsop (Ken), James Donovan (Trish), Robert Donovan (Valerie) and the late Michael Donovan. Visitation was held Nov. 30 at Nolan Funeral Home in Northport. Private cremation followed. In Dan’s memory donations to Visiting Nurse Service & Hospice of Suffolk, 505 Main St., Northport, NY 11768, would be appreciated.