Obituaries

Local fire districts salute Thomas Lateulere, as HIS coffin is carried out of St. John the Baptist R. C. Church in Wading River on July 1. Photo by Wenhao Ma

By Wenhao Ma

The Wading River community bid farewell Friday to an impactful, friendly and unforgettable first responder.

Many gathered at St. John the Baptist R. C. Church in Wading River Friday morning to attend the funeral of Thomas Lateulere, the director of training and education for Suffolk County’s Regional Emergency Medical Services Council, and former commissioner of the Wading River Fire District.

Lateulere, 52, who by many was referred to as a “true gentleman” and “professional man,” died of an illness on June 27. A wake was held on June 30, at the Wading Fire Department headquarters.

“He was a selfless guy,” said Kevin McQueeney, first assistant chief of the Wading River Fire Department, who had known Lateulere for 35 years. “When he was sick, he didn’t tell anybody how sick he was. He’s just a selfless, selfless individual.”

Locals pay respect to Thomas Lateulere during mass outside St. John the Baptist R. C. Church in Wading River on July 1. Photo by Wenhao Ma
Locals pay respect to Thomas Lateulere during mass outside St. John the Baptist R. C. Church in Wading River on July 1. Photo by Wenhao Ma

Lateulere, who worked up until days before his death, joined the fire department right after high school, as a volunteer, in 1981, and by the following year, was a trained firefighter and emergency medical technician. He spent time as one of the first flight paramedics to fly with Suffolk County police’s emergency aviation unit, and according to Tony Bitalvo, second assistant chief of the Wading River Fire Department, Lateulere was an advocate for the pilot program, among other pilot programs. He served as an advocate at the state level.

Lateulere also convinced the department to get involved with cutting-edge technologies and ways to save lives, such as narcan, an anti-overdose treatment, which he pushed for as leader of Suffolk REMSCO.

“The things he brought to our department was unprecedented,” Bitalvo said. “He’s just somebody we always relied and counted on. It’s a tremendous loss for the Wading River Fire Department and the community in general.”

The Huntington Community First Aid Squad showed respect to Lateulere by thanking him “for all his service to our organization and the entire EMS community” on its official Facebook page.

Bitalvo said that Lateulere had influenced Emergency Medical Technicians across Long Island.

“His training and patience touched every aspect of the EMS field,” he said.

Bernice Bien-Aime, the Chief of Operations Wyandanch-Wheatley Heights Ambulance Corp., had one such experience with Lateulere. When the two first met in 1995, Bien-Aime was a rookie EMT. She remembers Lateulere as a humble, caring and passionate person.

“I’ve always heard of paramedics having the ‘Paragod’ complex,” Bien-Aime said, but immediately got the vibe from Lateulere that with him, it was quite the opposite. “Now here comes Tom, literally coming from the sky, and he was the kindest paramedic.”

The Wading River Fire Department honors Thomas Lateulere during mass, outside St. John the Baptist R. C. Church in Wading River on July 1. Photo by Wenhao Ma
The Wading River Fire Department honors Thomas Lateulere during mass, outside St. John the Baptist R. C. Church in Wading River on July 1. Photo by Wenhao Ma

She recalled Latuelere’s reassurance and help following taking the Suffolk County protocol exam to become a credentialed EMT. Although her Advanced Emergency Medical Technician -Critical Care certification was completed in Nassau County, she wanted to work in Suffolk.

After taking the test, Lauteulere, seeing she was nervous, called Bien-Aime to the side.

“Relax, you got this,” she recalls Lauteulere telling her.

“Oh, I passed?” she asked in response.

“No,” she remembers him answering, with a smile. “If this was Nassau County, yes. But this is Suffolk. Our protocols are different. You know this stuff. Now relax and remember you’re in Suffolk. Now, retake your test.”

Thousands of first responders went through Lauteulere directly, learning how to save lives from a man who demanded perfection and knew how to bring it out in his fellow emergency medical teams.

“[He was] patient with this rookie EMT,” Bien-Aime said. “That is a feeling I’ve never forgotten.”

Sharing a similar feeling was Branden Heller, who is now the third assistant chief of Wading River Fire Department. Fifteen years ago when he first came to the department, Lateulere was the chief.

“[He’s] a major inspiration and a natural leader,” Heller said.

Many at the funeral looked to Lateulere as not only an influential figure in the EMS community, but the community itself.

“He saved countless lives,” McQueeney said of Lateulere. “He’s irreplaceable, and I firmly believe that.”

Jim and Katie Ford at Good Shepherd Hospice when Katie received a promotion. Photo from Good Shepherd Hospice

By Ernestine Franco

On June 15, at 12:57 p.m., Jim Ford’s Facebook post said, “The journey continues. I’m off to Good Shepherd Hospice later today.” Just three days later, Sound Beach lost one of its best and brightest lights.

James Francis Ford was born in the Bronx on Dec. 3, 1947. He attended William Howard Taft High School and in 1967 he enlisted in the Air Force, where he was a mechanic and worked maintaining airplane while stationed in Charleston, South Carolina. Ford and his wife, Nancy, initially moved to Bayport. Again on Dec. 3, but in 1976, they moved to Sound Beach.

Jim Ford was a member of the Sound Beach Fire Department, holding various different positions. Photo from the Sound Beach Fire Department
Jim Ford was a member of the Sound Beach Fire Department, holding various different positions. Photo from the Sound Beach Fire Department

In Bayport, Ford served in the fire department as lieutenant of the Hook and Ladder Company, so when his family moved to Sound Beach, it was only fitting he’d join the Sound Beach Fire Department. There he became a lieutenant and made his way up the ladder to attain the rank of captain of Engine Company 1, a position he was very proud to hold. Over the years he held many positions in the department, including lieutenant and captain of the Fire Police Squad, president of the department for five years. He served on numerous committees, and was a life member of the department as well as president of the benevolent fund.

For the past 10 years, Ford could no longer be a responding member of the department. “While in and out of hospitals,” his good friend and ex-Chief Bob Pulick said, “being on the inactive list didn’t stop Jim from still being of service.” In fact, Pulick said, “he was single-handedly responsible for about 75 percent of all the funds the department received each year.”

Ford’s commitment to the community was not only through the fire department. He was also very active in his church, St. Louis de Montfort R.C. Church in Sound Beach, where he was a Eucharistic minister and an usher. He also coordinated baptisms with his wife.

A valued member of the Sound Beach Civic Association, Jim is remembered fondly by the Civic president Bea Ruberto.

“In April, the Civic held a Vets Memorial lasagna dinner fundraiser.” Ruberto said. “Because of his health issues, Jim couldn’t eat the lasagna, but he bought a ticket, then brought his own dinner, because he wanted to show support for our vets.”

Jim Ford and his wife Nancy at a family wedding. Photo from from Nancy Ford
Jim Ford and his wife Nancy at a family wedding. Photo from from Nancy Ford

What will be remembered by most people, though, is not just all that he did, but who he was. Patty Pulick, a lifelong friend, remembers meeting the couple nearly 40 years ago.

“He had a great smile and laugh, and was always thinking of everyone else before himself, many times taking me to physical therapy whenever I needed a ride,” she said of Ford. “If I called their home wanting to speak to Nancy and Jim answered, he always said, ‘Hey you’ and I would laugh. He was a wonderful guy and I still can’t believe he is no longer with us.”

The Pulicks and the Fords enjoyed a special bond as parents. Katie and Danny Ford and Kim Pulick came from the same adoption agency in Korea — Katie and Kim within days of each other.

“I will miss our birthday lunches at such gourmet restaurants as Wendy’s, McDonald’s or George’s Kitchen,” Bob Pulick said.

Ford was very proud of his daughter Katie, who was a member of the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard. When he was already at Good Shepherd, Air Force officers came to his bedside to officially promote his daughter, a veteran of two tours in Iraq, to technical sergeant. With that promotion, Katie now outranked her father, to which Ford answered, “If I could get out of bed, I would salute you.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) also fondly remembers Ford.

Nancy and Jim Ford, and their grandchildren Colin and Andy. Photo from Maureen Ford Chorma
Nancy and Jim Ford, and their grandchildren Colin and Andy. Photo from Maureen Ford Chorma

“I think I have one word that describes him,” Bonner said. “He was a gentleman. He was a warm, kind and funny person, with an upbeat attitude right to the end. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone.” Bonner said she will miss getting a hug from him, something he did every time they saw each other.

Jim and Nancy Ford celebrated their 45th anniversary on May 22. Both very caring and loving people, they were well known for their humor. They had fun together. Nancy remembers her husband being called “the mayor of the fire department and the mayor of their block,” and Nancy said she now knows he is the “mayor in heaven.”

Jim was the beloved husband of Nancy; loving father of Maureen Chorma (Timothy), Kathleen and Daniel; adored grandfather of Andrew and Colin; and dear brother of Michael Ford, Mary Walsh and Kenneth Ford. A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Louis de Montfort R.C. Church in Sound Beach. Internment followed in Calverton National Cemetery. Donations may be made in his name to Good Shepherd Hospice, Hope House Ministries or the Grumman Memorial Park.

North Shore resident Ivan Kalina is remembered by many as a man of adventure. Photo from Yvette Panno

By Yvette Panno

Ivan Kalina, 84, of Setauket died peacefully the morning of May 27 following a brief illness.

Originally born in Kosice, Czechoslovakia, in 1932 to beloved parents Geza and Ilonka, Kalina’s life was defined by courage, strength and resilience. First as a European Jewish Holocaust survivor, later as an escaped refugee from Communism to America, his story shaped not only his life, but also the history of a generation.

During World War II, Kalina was a young child who managed to survive the Nazis’ early invasion of Czechoslovakia and the deportation of the Jews to concentration camps through the help of Christian friends and false papers.

In the final years of the war, he separated from his mother and father and went to Budapest, Hungary, to hide in an apartment with relatives just blocks from Gestapo headquarters that was bombed day and night by American, Russian and British forces.

Returning to Kosice, his was among the few Jewish families to survive.

Although his education was delayed for years by the war, as a testimony to his determination, in 1956 he graduated as the valedictorian of his medical school class from Charles University in Prague, as a pediatrician. That same year, he married his beautiful wife Vera Atlas, a histopathologist, in Kosice.

With the onslaught of Communist persecution of both Jews and democratic sympathizers, Ivan and Vera realized they could never be free in their oppressive homeland.

In 1965, they left their close families and planned a daring escape through the Yugoslavia border into Austria, until they could manage a flight to New York City with their two young children, Peter and Yvette. They came to this country with two suitcases and $200. With prison sentences awaiting them if they returned to Czechoslovakia, they dedicated themselves to making new lives. Ivan and Vera worked long hours at Bellevue Hospital and New York University while he took his medical board exams in English – his fifth fluent language.

Ivan’s favorite expression – said with characteristic humor and positive spirit – was “that’s why I came to America.”

To this country, Kalina brought with him the grit, charm and fun-loving outlook to be successful. His career spanned a private practice in pediatrics in Rocky Point as well as medical director of Little Flower Orphanage in Wading River, associate professor at Stony Brook University, and attending physician at both St. Charles Hospital and John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson.

Always athletic and tanned, he was a fiercely competitive, daily tennis player and longtime member of the Harbor Hills Country Club near his original home in Port Jefferson. A perfect day was sitting in the sun near the backyard pool reading a newspaper. A remarkable skier until the age of 70, he loved to travel and took multiple trips out to his condo in Vail, Colorado, and traveled several times a year around the world.

His love of children was no greater than that for his five grandchildren, who called him Papi and of whom he was most proud: Olivia, Mia, Sydney, Jake and Sam.

He is also survived by his children, Dr. Peter Kalina and Yvette Kalina Panno; daughter-in-law, Michelle Kalina; and long-loved partner, Carolyn Van Helden.

As he would say in Hungarian: Sok Szeretet, Servuse Tatulko.

Peter Weyl as a young man in the 1940s. Photo from the Weyl family

A founder of the Marine Sciences Research Center at Stony Brook, which is now the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Peter Weyl died on Sunday, May 22 at the age of 92.

Weyl, who retired from Stony Brook in 1995, was surrounded by friends and family.

Peter Weyl as a young man in the 1940s. Photo from Malcolm Bowman
Peter Weyl as a young man in the 1940s. Photo from the Weyl family

Weyl is survived by his wife Muriel, their son Stephen, their daughters Ruth and Lisa, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Known for extensive research in a range of oceanography disciplines and for writing the first oceanography textbook, Weyl’s life and academic career took several dramatic turns.

Born in Germany on May 6, 1924, Weyl and his family, who were Jewish, left their native country in 1938 amid the build up to World War II. They moved to England, where Weyl was confined to an internment camp when he was 16. Amid modest living conditions, Weyl and a cousin heard the complaints about the fish that their fellow campmates didn’t enjoy eating.

The two of them smoked the fish, making some money along the way.

This effort reflected an enterprising nature for Weyl, who his family said loved smoking herring throughout his life.

During the war, Weyl and his family moved to the United States, where Weyl attended Stuyvesant High School. He joined the army, where he served in military intelligence, putting his knowledge of German to work. He marched into Paris when it was liberated and eventually returned to Germany.

He came back to the United States in 1946 and entered college at the University of New Hampshire. It was there that he met Muriel, a woman who made a point of speaking to him twice. The first time, she was in a library, trying to choose a picture to critique for a class.

“When he came in, he looked very cute,” she recalled. She figured it was an easy connection for her, so she asked him if she should choose one particular picture.

He said he wouldn’t pick the one she pointed out and kept walking.

Three months later, the two of them were at a dance and were the only ones dressed more casually than their peers. Muriel wore her saddle shoes and a sweater she knitted, while he had “simple clothing,” as she put it.

She walked across the room and touched his shoulder.

He turned around, looked her in the eye, and said, “You and I don’t belong here. Let’s leave,” she said. That was the first of many steps along the way to their 69-year marriage.

Noticing that her husband, who she knew was brilliant, was bored with his studies at college, she encouraged him to take an exam that would allow him to study nuclear physics for a Ph.D. At that time, the country was locked in the beginning of a scientific battle with the Soviet Union.

She gave him $100 and told him to take the test and “show me you’re smart.”

A month later, Weyl was in Chicago, where his wife would eventually join him after she graduated from college. He studied with some of the biggest names in nuclear science, including Enrico Fermi, whom Weyl considered the greatest teacher in history. He also interacted with the father of the Manhattan Project, which built the world’s first atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer.

Along the way, Weyl saw an opportunity to do important work in other sciences that weren’t getting that kind of attention, Stephen said. He turned his attention to the ocean.

Informed by a different scientific background, Weyl took a multidisciplinary approach to basic questions ranging from how life evolved in the ocean to how the oceans were changing, said Malcolm Bowman, distinguished service professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, who considered Weyl his mentor.

Bowman said Weyl focused on climate change and the ice ages 50 years before concerns about global warming heated up.

Weyl authored numerous scientific papers and wrote the first major textbook on physical oceanography, called “Oceanography: Introduction to the Marine Environment” in 1970. That book was translated into five languages, Muriel said. He also wrote a children’s book called “Men, Ants & Elephants: Size in the Animal World.”

Muriel recalled how they got calls from professors at Harvard, who appreciated how Weyl explained science.

Bowman said Weyl was the first to realize the essential contribution of New York City sewage discharges into the upper East River as the prime source of eutrophication in the Western sound. In eutrophication, nutrients cause excessive growth of algae. When the algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose, robbing a water body of oxygen, which can lead to fish kills.

On the lookout for opportunities to fill a need, Weyl invented the main form of desalination that is used throughout the world, said Stephen Weyl. He created the original patent in which desalination uses reverse osmosis.

In a celebration of his life and their memories of a remarkable man, the Weyl family recalled how he “always had a sense of humor and saw the positive side of life,” said Lisa. That sense of humor included the liberal use of puns. He would say, “I have to say, ‘Goodbye, so I can rest a Weyl.’”

The family created the Peter K. Weyl Memorial Scholarship for students studying climate change at Stony Brook. In lieu of flowers, the family asked for contributions to the scholarship.

Ellen Michelmore was the musical director at Theatre Three. File photo

Ellen Michelmore, who served as the Theatre Three musical director for more than 25 years, died early Friday morning, the theater said on its Facebook page. She was 63.

Since her start with a production of “Evita” in 1986, Michelmore worked with hundreds of actors and musicians at the theater in her hometown of Port Jefferson. Even through a few battles with leiomyosarcoma, a cancer that infects muscle tissue, Michelmore was known for her energy and for giving her all, and was named a Port Times Record Person of the Year in 2014.

Ellen Michelmore was the musical director at Theatre Three. File photo
Ellen Michelmore was the musical director at Theatre Three. File photo

“She is a craftsperson, an artist, a teacher and a mentor,” Theatre Three Executive Director Jeffrey Sanzel said at that time. He quoted composer Jerry Herman to describe her style: “‘Someone puts themselves last, so that you can come first.’ That is Ellen.”

People who knew her have called her generous, patient, kind, strong and remarkable. And she made a mean Bolognese sauce.

“I don’t think there was a single person who ever came across her who didn’t love her,” Sanzel said in a phone interview on Friday. “And I’m not one to use superlatives [but] she was an extraordinary human being, she was an artist, but just the depth of her love and compassion and sensitivity were unlike anyone we’ve ever had in this theater family, and her loss will be felt forever.”

As the lead of Theatre Three’s music department, Michelmore touched both audiences and staff.

Musician Michael Chiusano said people who worked with her respected and appreciated her honesty: “If your part is not prepared, she will tell you where you stand,” he said previously.

Ellen Michelmore as a young child. File photo
Ellen Michelmore as a young child. File photo

And Broadway actress and singer Amy Justman, who began working with Michelmore as a 10-year-old in 1989, said the music director was “kind and giving but tough.”

“I had never seen a woman like Ellen,” she said when Michelmore was named a Person of the Year. “She sent me on a path. … I have a lifelong connection to her and am so grateful for her.”

Michelmore played such a big role in the Theatre Three community that the theater honored her with a musical tribute in 2014, called “Ellen Michelmore: Notes From The Heart,” that featured singers, actors and musicians who had worked with her.

Michelmore is survived by her husband, Jeff Lange, who is also a musician. He has previously noted, “Ellen’s passion has been her job ever since she arrived at Theatre Three.”

Her presence is not something that will soon be forgotten at the theater. Sanzel said Friday, “In all that she’s been through in these last five years, her bravery was extraordinary and she never stopped loving all the people around her.”

Funeral arrangements had not yet been made early Friday afternoon.

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Edward McGuire first joined the Centerport Fire Department in 1976. Photo by Steve Silverman

Ex-Captain Edward McGuire of the Centerport Fire Department died on Feb. 2 at the age of 78.

McGuire first joined the department in 1976, serving first as lieutenant and then captain. He also served as an EMT and member of the Centerport Rescue Squad.

He was elected as fire commissioner in 1995 and served for five years.

The ex-captain grew up in Queens and worked summers as a lifeguard at Jones Beach. He also served in the U.S. Army at a Nike missile site in New Jersey.

After his tour ended, he attended Cooper Union, a prestigious college in New York City.

McGuire taught classes at a BOCES school but was an electrician by trade and started McGuire Electric in Centerport, which his son Edward McGuire now operates.

McGuire loved the outdoors, including activities like fishing and hunting.

He is survived by his wife, Dolores; his children, Edward, Joseph, Judy and Christopher; and his seven grandchildren.

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Late physical chemist remembered as founding member of Stony Brook University’s famed chemistry department

Francis Truesdale Bonner’s memorial service will be March 6 at the Bates House. Photo from Bonner family

Francis Truesdale Bonner died early in the morning of Monday, Feb. 15, at the age of 94.

A physical chemist, he spent most of his career as a professor at SUNY Stony Brook, before its name was changed to Stony Brook University. He was the founding chairman of Stony Brook’s distinguished Department of Chemistry.

Bonner was born in December 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah, the youngest of seven children. His father, Walter Bonner, was head of chemistry at the University of Utah from 1914 until 1945. His mother, Grace Gaylord Bonner, had earlier been a teacher in Nebraska and maintained the household at a high cultural level, including the study of music and foreign languages.

The Bonner siblings studied at the University of Utah and went on to distinguished scientific careers at Cal Tech, Penn, UC San Diego, and other institutions.

Bonner took his undergraduate degree from Utah in 1942 and proceeded to Yale for doctoral work in chemistry, with Herbert Spencer Harned as his advisor. At that time, in the middle of the Second World War, highly trained scientists were in great demand. Accordingly, Bonner entered an accelerated program, taking a master’s in 1944 and a Ph.D. in 1945, with a dissertation on the thermodynamic properties of carbonic acid in aqueous solutions of sodium chloride.

In 1944, meanwhile, he found himself at Columbia University in the top-secret Manhattan Project, working on the development of metallic materials suitable for use as diffusion barriers for uranium hexafluoride and on the interaction of these materials with uranium hexafluoride itself and also with other corrosive gases.

Like many Manhattan Project scientists, he was generally aware of the project’s goal, but when the first atomic bomb exploded over Hiroshima, he was surprised at the way the weapon had actually taken form. In the following period, Bonner had a leading role in the Association of Manhattan Project Scientists, concerned with maintaining this dangerous discovery within political and humanitarian bounds.

During those days in New York, Bonner met Evelyn Hershkowitz, a Hunter College graduate then working for the Manhattan Project. They married in January 1946 and moved to Oak Ridge Tennessee, where they both worked at Clinton Laboratory, soon renamed Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

In 1947, they moved to Long Island, where Bonner took a position with the brand-new Brookhaven National Laboratory. This environment was entirely to his liking, but problems emerged with FBI demands for security clearances. Bonner himself came under no suspicion, but several colleagues, who afterward remained lifelong friends, fell afoul of the emerging McCarthyite agenda.

As these colleagues left Brookhaven, Bonner took a position as assistant professor at Brooklyn College. In 1956 he took up a Carnegie Fellowship at Harvard, and after that a consultancy with Arthur D. Little in Cambridge. Those days also saw the publication of his textbook, co-authored with Melba Phillips, “Principles of Physical Science.”

In late 1957, Bonner received an offer to join the brand-new State University College on Long Island, located in Oyster Bay but due to transfer soon to a site in Stony Brook donated by the philanthropist Ward Melville.

He accepted the offer and became the first chair of chemistry. He took a leading role in recruiting faculty in related areas, especially physics. His main focus, however, was on building a new chemistry department, and he recruited a youthful team that gained international recognition. In those days, academic talent and academic positions were both relatively abundant, and the State of New York contributed substantially to the project.

On the ground, however, quarrels emerged over the new institution’s direction and identity. Bonner took his part in those quarrels while maintaining his priority of building his department. His many new hires included Paul Lauterbur in 1963, who was then engaged in research on nuclear magnetic resonance, which resulted afterward in the universally-used technology of magnetic resonance imaging, for which Lauterbur received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2003.

With his family, Bonner spent the academic year 1964-65 with a National Science Foundation senior postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre d’Etudes Nucleaires in Saclay, France, near Paris. He then returned to the chairmanship at Stony Brook. When he stepped down in 1970, the department had grown from a handful of faculty and staff into one of the most important and productive units in the discipline, housed in a spacious, brand-new, state-of-the-art building.

Bonner returned to the laboratory, mentoring graduate students and authoring and co-authoring articles on nitrogen chemistry, including the small, toxic molecule nitric oxide, which has a role in mammalian physiology. His co-authors included the British scientists Geoffrey Stedman and Martin N. Hughes. From 1983 to 1986, he served as dean for international programs, developing programs for teaching and research, and traveling to Europe, East Asia, and Latin America. He then returned to full-time teaching and research until his retirement at the age of 70 in 1992.

Bonner and Evelyn had three children, Michael, born in 1952, now of Michigan; Alisa, born in 1955, who died in 1974; and Rachel, born in 1957, now of Israel. Evelyn died in 1990.

As Bonner entered retirement soon afterward, he continued to do consulting work, but devoted himself mainly to nonscientific pursuits, especially music. He had played the violin since his Utah childhood, and had taken up the viola in his early 40s. He played in a variety of venues and groups, and in this way he met Jane Carlberg, a violinist from Andover, Connecticut. The two married in 1994 and remained together in the waterside house in Setauket that Bonner had owned since 1972.

Bonner enjoyed hiking and bicycling and had a deep love of nature. His many friends appreciated his sense of humor, which remained with him right to the end. He spent the last six months of his life at Sunrise Senior Living, East Setauket, and died peacefully of pneumonia at Stony Brook Hospital.

A memorial service will be held at noon on Sunday, March 6, at the Bates House in Setauket.

Dick Solo photo from Naomi Solo

Richard Solo, known as Dick or Doc to those he loved, died on Nov. 27 at age 79, after a four-year struggle with cancer.

Solo was the beloved husband of Nomi for 56 years; father of David, Julie and Michael (Susan); and brother of Marge Seltzer.

Friends remember Solo walking around in nature, Stony Brook University, his beloved Port Jefferson or other parts of the world, camera in hand, ready to photograph, in his special way, the world around him. He loved his family, students, nature, the Red Sox and a good bowl of  chili.

Solo had a joyous and productive and giving life. From his early days in Brookline High in Massachusetts to his years earning a bachelor’s at MIT and his Ph.D in chemistry from Berkeley, he was involved with student life, sports, and music.

When he moved to Port Jefferson in 1970, he became involved in the village and was an integral part in the development and building of the Village Center.

Solo came to the SBU on its opening day in August 1962, after a research stint at Aerospace in Los Angeles. Since that time, he had dedicated his heart and soul to it, beginning as an assistant chemistry professor. He set up a first-rate lab, but his main love was the student body. For 10 years, he taught chemistry classes of 110 to 150 students, including an introductory seminar on science and ethics before it was fashionable. The blend of teaching and research was a source of excitement, fun and satisfaction, and he was a first-rate teacher and communicator.

He became an integral part of student affairs, getting involved in counseling and helping to create an orientation course for incoming freshmen, ultimately developing an orientation program that was lauded throughout the state. He affected the lives of thousands of students, leading to his role as director of new student orientation, one of the first contacts an incoming student had with the university after admission. To the end, students who went through the program visited and corresponded with Solo and have used it as an example of how it made them grow as individuals.

Any student or faculty member who worked with Solo’s orientation program would agree that the spirit of genuine empathy is what made all the difference in the effectiveness of the program. Solo, along with his carefully chosen administrative assistants, molded freshmen and transfer orientations each year to the changing needs of incoming students. The process went beyond just registering for classes — there were social activities and workshops that included food, films, sports and a family-like spirit. His goal was to reach the attendees, to make a difference in their lives by caring about and understanding them.

His service to the SBU community spans half a century, during which Solo served on and chaired numerous committees and boards, including the University Senate, the first Student Affairs Affirmative Action Committee, the presidential search that chose Jack Marburger, the president’s advisory board on the disabled, and the Faculty Student Association. He was the unofficial photographer of Stony Brook history in the making.

Solo cared about every facet of the campus and students, attending many athletic events each season. After he semi-retired, he went back to teaching chemistry and did student advising at both summer and winter orientation programs.

Rabbi Joseph Topek from the university described Solo as a pioneer. He introduced many new ideas that have become university tradition — it was Solo who first thought of the Roth Pond Regatta.

A memorial visitation will be held on Wednesday at Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket, from 4 to 8 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice or to the Staller Center for the Arts via the Stony Brook Foundation.

Justice Peter Graham has served Port Jefferson for more than 30 years. Photo by Talia Amorosano

After more than 30 years, Justice Peter Graham left his mark on Port Jefferson.

The village judge, who died on Tuesday afternoon, will be remembered for his personality and for his service to the court — but his path to that position was a little out of order.

Born on July 4, 1930, to Pedro and Helen Graham, the Brooklyn-born Peter Graham didn’t always know he would study law. He entered seminary at age 14 and stayed for four years before he realized that it wasn’t for him. Known for his sense of humor, the justice freely described his decision as being guided by his aversion to “the two Cs”: chastity and celibacy.

He hung up his cassock and went to college, studying biology and chemistry before heading to law school.

In an interview in July, Graham said he took a detour before reaching the courtroom, serving in the U.S. Army.

“When I finished law school, I felt that I owed my country two years of my life,” Graham said.

It was in the service that he got his first hands-on law experience, as he was appointed the district attorney of his battalion and was tasked with prosecuting murder, assault and rape cases.

Graham rose from those humble beginnings to eventually become a village justice in 1983. He was most recently re-elected in June.

“All I do is try to be fair to the people,” he said earlier this year. He described his experience living in Port Jefferson and serving as a village justice as “a pleasure.”

Mayor Margot Garant, who knew Graham since she was a child, called him a “dear friend.”

“It’d be really fair to say that [he] was just an integral part of everyone’s life here in the village,” she said.

The mayor referred to the justice’s personality as “friendly, personable, jovial.”

“He will be absolutely irreplaceable,” Garant said. “There’s not going to be one person … that will ever be able to step into his shoes.”

Graham had the respect of both residents and the people who worked with him.

“He’s awesome. I’ve actually worked for eight judges and he is one of my top,” Village Court Clerk Christine Wood said in an interview in July. “He’s the most caring gentleman, and I don’t say that about many people. He’s got a heart of gold.”

Graham is survived by his loving Mary Ellen Mulligan; children Kim (Jim) Sloane and Patrick Mulligan; beloved grandchildren Jimmy, Patrick, Sean and Shannon; dear sister Maureen and brother Robert (Millie) Graham; along with Phyllis Graham and children Peter, Paul, Mary Jane and Christopher, and Mary Jane’s daughter Nina. He is also survived by other grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

“He was a magnificent grandfather,” Mulligan said on Wednesday. “You couldn’t have a better human being, a better man.”

A memorial celebration will be held at the Bryant Funeral Home in East Setauket on Friday, from 6 to 10 p.m. A funeral Mass will take place the next morning, at Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson at 9 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Stony Brook Cancer Center and to the loving nurses and aides of 19 North.

Mario Buonpane pays respects at a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Heckscher Park last year. File photo by Rohma Abbas

Mario C. Buonpane, Jr., a staunch local veterans’ activist, avid golfer and a family man, died on Monday after losing a vicious battle with prostate cancer. He was 83.

Buonpane, best known for his work with Huntington Town’s veterans — having served as a charter member and chairman of the Huntington Town Veterans Advisory Board and a past commander of the Northport American Legion Post 694 — is credited with spearheading the rehab of the Northport Veteran Administration Medical Center’s golf course, which brought golfers to the grounds and proceeds to the hospital, according to his son Mark Vincent (Buonpane).

Mario Buonpane speaks at last year’s town remembrance of 9/11. File photo by Rohma Abbas
Mario Buonpane speaks at last year’s town remembrance of 9/11. File photo by Rohma Abbas

“That’s his legacy,” Vincent said. “That will remain and serve the community for years and years to come.”

He received an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army and he joined the town’s veterans advisory board as a charter member in 1987. He became chairman in 1993, and since its inception, the group enhanced Veterans Plaza at Huntington Town Hall with the completion of a number of memorials honoring veterans of all wars fought by the U.S.

“Our Veterans Plaza is one of the finest on Long Island and we still have plans to improve it,” he wrote in a list of his accomplishments.

He was also the chairman of the legion’s Veterans Affairs Golf and Tournament Committee, through which he helped negotiate a contract to take over the golf course in 1996. When the group took over, the course hadn’t been mowed in five years, the greens were diseased and there were no facilities, according to Buonpane. Since then, the course touts a clubhouse with a deck, new fairways and more.

Buonpane was instrumental in getting the Northport American Legion’s Boys State and Girls State programs up and running. The programs select girls and boys off to participate in a model governments to teach them how they work, and under Buonpane’s leadership, the number of candidates the legion has sponsored has grown, from one in 1982 to about 20. The program, “teaches you how to be a good citizen,” Vincent said.

Aside from his many community contributions, Buonpane was, at heart, a family man, The father and husband, who worked for Grumman as an electrical engineer and designed electrical harnesses on the lunar module always had time for sports with the kids, Vincent said.

“He taught us great values, he taught us how to earn things the honest way, play by the rules, tell the truth and have great integrity,” Vincent said.

On his work at Grumman, Vincent said, “he contributed to the greatest journey humans had ever done.”

Buonpane’s dedication and never-give-up attitude was his trademark, the son said. He took up running in his 50s and could only run a few laps around the track but ultimately trained until he completed the New York City Marathon. He still went to the gym, even with stage 4 cancer.

“He was tough,” Vincent said. “He was a trooper.”

Others in the Huntington Town community were touched by Buonpane’s contributions, too. Supervisor Frank Petrone issued a statement on Buonpane’s death.

“He worked tirelessly to support efforts ensuring that we all remember, honor and respect our veterans and that veterans got the services and benefits they earned by serving our country,” he said. “We will miss his presence as the master of ceremonies at our wreath ceremonies and other veterans’ events.”

Joe Sledge, communications director at the Northport VA, also spoke highly of Buonpane’s contributions. Sledge said he had known Buonpane since he first started working the VA 23 years ago.

“It was he who sponsored my entry into the American Legion over 14 years ago,” he said. “He made many significant contributions to Northport VA Medical Center through his time, talent, and countless generous acts.  All who knew him would agree that Mario was a thoughtful, hard-working man whose life’s mission was to brighten the lives of others, especially hospitalized veterans. He will be sorely missed.”

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