Howard Wunderlich: The champion of Echo Arms Adult Home
Prepared by Dawn Jerry & Harry Katz
Howard Otto Wunderlich Jr., of Port Jefferson Station, passed away on Jan. 6 from cardiac arrest at the age of 74.
Howard was the beloved and eldest son of Adeline and Dr. Howard Wunderlich, a noted radiologist affiliated with Mather and St. Charles hospitals for many years.
Howard was a cherished brother of Dawn Rose, Karen Adeline, Alan Martin and Karl Andrew. He joins his parents and younger brother, Paul Peter, in eternal rest.
He was an adored uncle known as “Uncle Howie” to 10 nieces and nephews. Howard was also a beloved resident of the Echo Arms Adult Home in Port Jefferson Station where he served as president of the resident community council for over a decade.
Howard graduated from Earl L. Vandermeulen High School in Port Jefferson and Wagner College in Staten Island, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Following college, he moved to Italy, studied medicine and gained perfect fluency in the Italian language.
He pursued various vocations and hobbies, and was a phenomenal chef and a lifelong intellectual with endless curiosity. Above all, he was kind and generous, and his mother always said that “he has a heart of gold.”
In his retirement, he resided at Echo Arms and, while there, organized many events and worked toward the betterment of the residents for whom he continually advocated. Among his many contributions was organizing special events, such as ice cream socials, dinners and catered events. With the former administrator, Harry Katz, he brought in Mister Softee, which the residents looked forward to and enjoyed on hot summer days.
He was a major contributing force to special fried chicken dinners and catered meals from various delis in the community. Also, he accompanied the administrator on trips to Uncle Giuseppe’s, where they picked specific items for dinner that Howard knew would delight the residents.
Howard lobbied successfully for many upgrades at Echo Arms. Through the community council, he helped implement new air conditioning and heating units. During his tenure, universal free cable television became a reality for the residents. With input from residents, he successfully advocated for better outdoor lighting and security upgrades around the property.
Howard was always available to the residents of Echo Arms, offering measured and sage advice when necessary. He had a knack for steering others on the right path when they needed redirecting and counsel. He was a true gentleman, respected by all, with a presence and manner that was universally loved.
He was a fabulous oral historian who drew on his wealth of memories of Port Jefferson from the 1950s up to the present time.
His presence is already sorely missed at Echo Arms. His family intends to hold a memorial for him this summer, complete with a catered event for the residents and staff of Echo Arms, which was Howard’s wish.
His life, his kindness and his love will be remembered always.