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The Gardiner foundation awards the Order of the Ancient and Honorable Huntington Militia a grant to collaborate with the Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay to present demonstrations on colonial crafts and trades. Photo from Raynham Hall l Museum

Since 1639, the Gardiner family and their descendants have owned a 5-square-mile island in the Atlantic Ocean nestled between Long Island’s North Fork and South Fork. The property, known as Gardiner’s Island, was obtained from King Charles I of England as part of a royal grant. Today, that legacy is benefiting all of Long Island, thanks to Robert David Lion Gardiner, the island’s 16th Lord of the Manor, who died in 2004.

In 1987, Gardiner established the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation to support the study of American history. Each year, the foundation awards $5 million in grants to Long Island and New York nonprofits focused on preserving history. Look around at preserved pieces of history all across Long Island and in New York City, and you will likely find the foundation often behind the scenes offering support.

Thanks to the Gardiner Foundation, the new interactive software display highlights the displays in the First Order Fresnel Lens Building that is alongside the Fire Island Lighthouse. Photo from Gardiner Foundation website

The foundation helped reinvigorate the Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site in West Hills, for instance, in preparation for this year’s 200th birthday year celebration.

And as the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City prepared for its 50th anniversary of the Apollo mission this past July, Gardiner helped fund programs and space travel exhibits. It’s considered a substantial addition to the museum and Long Island’s contribution to the space program.

The 107-year old Huntington Lighthouse was preserved and restored with a $145,000 matching grant from the foundation. The Whaling Museum & Education Center at Cold Spring Harbor has the foundation to thank for its climate-controlled storage rooms for its collections.

Big or small, the foundation has been a wonderful resource for nonprofits. Since the foundation aims to preserve Long Island heritage and encourages collaboration, it is possible to find many success stories.

In Setauket, some may have noticed the sagging 1887 carriage shed at the Caroline Church has been replaced. The foundation over the last few years has helped fund its stabilization and replacement.

St. James is currently undergoing a revitalization, and the foundation helped fund the Celebrate St. James organization in staging a musical comedy about the entertainment history of the community.

This month, the foundation awarded its 2019 grants. Recipients include the Order of the Ancient and Honorable Huntington Militia which presented Dec. 14 a demonstration at Raynham Hall Museum in Oyster Bay of handmade colonial crafts and trades. The presentation included a free exhibition with artisans who showed how to do silver and black smithing, weaving, horn and leather work and basket weaving.

Harriet Gerard Clark, executive director of Raynham Hall Museum, is one of many people from organizations that recognize the distinct value of Gardiner.

“I would say that the Gardiner foundation is profoundly changing the way we understand history on Long Island, not only by providing very much needed brick-and-mortar funding, but also by proactively encouraging and incentivizing new ways of networking and collaborating among institutions concerned with historic scholarship, so that we Long Islanders can gain a truer understanding of our own identity,” she said.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, which owns historic properties in Stony Brook and Setauket, has also benefited from the Gardiner’s work. The foundation most recently sponsored a live historically-themed play entitled “Courageous Women of the Revolutionary War.” The production highlights the previously unsung female heroes of George Washington’s spy ring.

The Gardiner foundation is comprised of a five-member board, plus an executive director. Kathryn Curran bears that title and deserves special recognition.

“Kathryn is a terrific lady, she is very creative and brings people together.”

– Gloria Rocchio

WMHO president, Gloria Rocchio, is very grateful to the foundation and recognizes Curran’s unique qualities.

“Kathryn is a terrific lady,” Rocchio said. “She is very creative and brings people together.”

One of the conditions of WMHO’s grant was to talk to other historical societies.

“We are making new connections because of that effort,” Rocchio added. “That was all because of Kathy.”

The Smithtown, Northport, Port Jefferson, Miller Place-Mount Sinai and many other Long Island historical societies have grown or become better established because of the Gardiner foundation.

The organization also announced this month that it will fund a Long Island Radio & Television Historical Society documentary that will explore the development of wireless technology on Long Island, featuring the Telefunken wireless station in West Sayville and an international spy ring in the lead-up to World War I. The project also highlights the work of Nikola Tesla of Shoreham and Guglielmo Marconi of Babylon.

The foundation seeks to support 501(c)(3) organizations that demonstrate strong and organized internal capacity, effectiveness, financial and human resources as well as the intellectual capacity to successfully manage the project. Newly formed historical entities are welcomed to apply for a grant.

At a time when historical preservationists report a decline in financial resources, the foundation’s support becomes more and more noteworthy.

For high school students interested in studying history, the foundation also offers a generous undergraduate scholarship worth $40,000.

The Gardiner’s grant portfolio and scholarship information can be viewed on its website at www.rdlgfoundation.org, which gives an in-depth overview of its preservation efforts.

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By Beverly C. Tyler

The first Christmas card was designed by John Callcott Horsley for Henry Cole of England, later Sir Henry Cole. Cole was the organizer and first director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London The card was printed in London by a method called lithography and was hand colored by a professional “colourer” named Mason. It was sent in 1843.

It was the custom at the time to send letters to relatives and friends at Christmas. Cole’s cards were to take the place of the letters that he would have to write to his large number of friends and family. A total of about 1,000 of these cards were printed.

Christmas cards were becoming popular in the United States by the 1870s, and by the 1880s they were being printed in the millions, and were no longer being hand colored. Christmas cards during the late 1800s came in all shapes and sizes and were made with silk, satin, brocade and plush, as well as with lace and embroidery surrounding the printed card. These cards were just as varied as those we have today and included religious themes, landscapes from every season, animals, the traditional Father Christmas, children and humor. The cards were very colorful and usually included some verse in addition to the greeting. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, humor was a favorite theme for postcards and Christmas postcards were no exception.

A modern take on a Christmas card poem:

GOD’S PROCLAIMING STAR

Three wise men from the east came following

God’s proclaiming star

It led unerring to the presence of our Lord

God’s proclaiming star

It brought God’s message of peace on earth

God’s proclaiming star

and showed the world God’s promise

God’s proclaiming star

that through God’s son our sins are forgiven

God’s proclaiming star

and introduced us to God’s first GPS

God’s proclaiming star

Poem by Beverly Tyler

Christmas cards were eventually sent through the mail as postcards. The lower price of postage — one cent for a postcard — was one of the reasons for the popularity of the postcard-greeting card. The postcard was most popular during the years between 1895 and 1914, when the craze for collecting cards was at its height. The beginning of the use of postcards probably goes back to the influence of the trade card, used to promote business and trade in the 18th and 19th centuries, and the visiting card, which included the sender’s name prominently added to the card, and was used to send a greeting.

By the end of the first decade of the 20th century, the collecting of picture postcards was the most popular hobby in the world. In the United States there were more than a half a million postcards mailed each year leading up to World War I. Many of these cards were postmarked at both the senders and the recipients post office. One postcard was postmarked Dec. 23, 1907, at 6 p.m. in Putnam, New York, and in East Setauket Dec. 24 (no time listed).

Beverly C. Tyler is a Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. For more information, call 631-751-3730 or visit www.tvhs.org.

 

 

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Benjamin Tallmadge's home in Litchfield, Connecticut. Photo from Beverly C. Tyler

By Beverly C. Tyler 

The end of the Revolutionary War brought dramatic change for Patriots and for Continental Army officers. Benjamin Tallmadge was at the center of events as Gen. George Washington met with his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York prior to resigning his commission as commander in chief. Tallmadge also resigned his commission and began a new life as a citizen of Litchfield, Connecticut.

Just prior to the British withdrawal from New York City Nov. 25, 1783, Tallmadge, head of Washington’s Secret Service, received permission to go into the city to protect his spies following the Treaty of Paris on Sept. 3, 1783. A little earlier he wrote to Washington:

“Should I not have the opportunity to pay my personal respects to your Excellency before you retire from the Army, give me leave at this time, with the warmest gratitude, to assure your Excellency that I shall ever entertain the liveliest sense of the many marks of attention which I have rec’d from your Excellency’s hands. Whatever may have been the result, it gives me great pleasure to reflect, that during my service in the Army, it has ever been my highest ambition to promote the Welfare of my Country & thereby merit your Excellency’s approbation.

“In the calm retirements of domestic life, may you continue to enjoy health, & find increasing satisfaction from the reflection of having conducted the arms of America thro’ a War so peculiarly distressing to the obtainment of an honorable peace, & of having been the Instrument, under God, in obtaining the freedom & Independence of this country. … Adieu, my dear General, & in every situation of life I pray you to believe that my best wishes will attend you, & that I shall continue to be, as I am at this time,

“With every sentiment of respect & esteem, Your Excellency’s most Obed’t & very H’ble Serv’t, Benj Tallmadge.”

Tallmadge’s farewell to Washington was written from his home at 47 North St., Litchfield, Connecticut, Aug. 16, 1783.

3V historical society tour

I will lead a bus tour, sponsored by the Three Village Historical Society, to Litchfield, Connecticut, Saturday, Nov. 9. Participants will tour the Litchfield Historical Society museum, including the exhibit Litchfield at 300 which closes Nov. 24. The party will visit the Tallmadge archival collection, walk through the town where the Tallmadge family lived and finally see the East Cemetery where he and his family are buried. Along the way attendees will learn more about the Setauket-based Culper Spy Ring and about Tallmadge, one of the genuine heroes of the Revolutionary War. For tickets and information, visit www.tvhs.org or call 631-751-3730.

Beverly C. Tyler is Three Village Historical Society historian and author of books available from the society at 93 North Country Road, Setauket. 

A male box turtle, above, approximately 30 years old, was discovered in Patriots Hollow State Forest. Photo from Three Village Community Trust

Scientists have discovered natural wonders in a Setauket forest.

Researcher Luke Gervase stands between a couple of the large trees found in Patriots Hollow State Forest. Photo from Three Village Community Trust

Researchers from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry took to the 43-acre woods of Patriots Hollow State Forest, along Route 25A, across from Stop & Shop, to collect information on the forest composition and structure Aug. 8 and 9. The researchers hoped to develop management recommendations that would enhance the forest for biodiversity conservation and environmental education. The survey was funded by a grant from Avalon Park & Preserve, according to a press release from Three Village Community Trust.

In 2018, the community trust set up a steering committee led by Setauket resident and former teacher Leonard Carolan to clean up the woods and add a trail for people to walk through the forest, something which is currently difficult with downed trees and invasive plants, including Norway maple, Japanese aralia, Oriental bittersweet, black locust and Japanese stiltgrass.

After Carolan approached the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and state Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) to seek help in cleaning up the forest, the community trust signed a stewardship agreement with the DEC. Carolan said the initial reports are encouraging.

“It looks like we’ll be able to restore it to an original native forest,” Carolan said.

He added that, in the future, there would be a loop trail near Route 25A and another one near the Main Street section, but before they are created some cleanup needs to be done and funds raised, which could take years.

Don Leopold, distinguished teaching professor from SUNY-ESF’s Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, along with research assistant Samuel Quinn, was among the researchers.

Leopold said it was his first visit to the forest, and he was impressed with the findings. Despite invasive plants and past agriculture that didn’t leave many remnant trees, he said they discovered many beautiful oak and hickory trees, adding that he had seen black oak and sassafras all over the Eastern United States, and amongst the largest he has seen were in Patriots Hollow.

“We went by some really great trees,” he said. “Ideally the trails will swing by those. They can’t miss these. There are really impressive specimens of some black oaks and some hickories, and we really enjoyed seeing them.”

Researcher Luke Gervase stands by a sassafras tree found in Patriots Hollow State Forest. Photo from Three Village Community Trust

The researcher said they also found spicebush in the forest.

“Spicebush is one of our most important native shrubs,” Leopold said. “It’s so important for wildlife coming for food. It’s a source of food for the spicebush swallowtail [butterfly].”

Leopold and Quinn discussed management of invasive plants in the forest with Bill Jacobs, Luke Gervase and Caroline Schnabl of Long Island Invasive Species Management Area who joined in the survey. Leopold said that they are optimistic that the invasives could be eliminated, which is vital for the growth of new trees.

Leopold added that a male box turtle, approximately 30 years old, was found in the wooded area. He said the species can live to be more than 100 years old, and the one they saw in Patriots Hollow reminded him a pumpkin with legs, as it was especially big and colorful.

The researcher said they encountered tick bombs while in the forest, with 100 to 200 small tick larvae starting to disperse at one time. He said when the lone star ticks are older their bites can cause problems as they can carry a disease that makes a person allergic to red meat.

“Until there are trails, and until some of these issues are addressed, it would be good to not have a bunch of folks running through here because the tick infestation can be a public health hazard,” he said.

Brian Leydet of SUNY-ESF will analyze ticks collected during the survey so recommendations can be made to the community trust and DEC about ways to reduce human-to-tick contact.

The 3VCT’s steering committee will look to include the community in the planning process and will work with the trust itself to seek grants and contributions. The initial implementation of the restoration and management plan will be funded by a grant of $500,000 secured by state Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport) in 2018, according to a press release from the trust.

Belleau was a faithful parishioner at Saint James R.C. Church in East Setauket where he was an eucharistic minister, member of the parish finance committee as well as a be member and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. Photo from Bryant Funeral Home

Thomas F. Belleau, 76, of Setauket, died Aug. 4.

He was born March 27, 1943, in Adams, Massachusetts and was the son of Clare and Donald Belleau.

Tom attended Saint Joseph’s Catholic High School in North Adams and the University of Notre Dame where he graduated from the class of 1965. He was an avid Fighting Irish fan and supporter. He attended graduate school in finance at New York University where he earned his CPA and MBA degree. He worked as an accountant and chief financial officer in Melville.

Tom was a faithful parishioner at Saint James R.C. Church in East Setauket where he was an eucharistic minister, member of the parish finance committee and member and Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus. 

Tom was an active member of St George’s Golf Club and the Old Field Club. He was a devoted community servant and was actively involved and had been a board member of the Three Village Community Trust, the Three Village Historical Society and the Cornell Cooperative Extension.

The Three Village Community Trust informed their members in an email of his passing and described the past treasurer of the trust as “a valued pillar of the community” who was responsible for digitizing the trust’s financial records during his tenure.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife, Olga; daughters Maria and Renee; son-in-law John and grandchildren Peter, Michael, Hannah, Jacob and Zachary.

Services were held at St. James R.C. Church Aug. 8. Interment followed at the St. James R.C. Churchyard Cemetery.

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

The family has designated the University of Notre Dame and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for memorial contributions.

Memorial contributions may be made to the University of Notre Dame online at www.giving.nd.edu, by phone at 574-631-5150 or by mail: University of Notre Dame, Department of Development, 1100 Grace Hall, Notre Dame, IN 46556.

Memorial contributions to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center may be made at www.giving.mskcc.org.

 

Barbara, 86, and Bruce, 85, were married for 64 years, they were residents of Setauket from 1960 to 2005. Photo from the McNaughton Family

By Donald McNaughton

Barbara and Bruce McNaughton, formerly of Setauket, died in Fort Myers, Florida, July 2 and July 24, respectively.

Barbara was 86 and Bruce was 85. Married for 64 years, they were residents of Setauket from 1960 to 2005, raising their three sons Cameron, Donald and Andrew there and contributing to the community they so loved. They will be laid to rest at the Setauket Presbyterian Church under a headstone simply marked “Home.”

Bruce Angus McNaughton

Bruce, an only child, was born in Brooklyn Jan. 14, 1934. His father was a broadcasting executive who specialized in turning around failing radio stations. This took Bruce at a young age to Ohio, West Virginia and Wisconsin, before he graduated from Ossining High School in Ossining, New York. He then attended the University of Illinois.

He met Barbara when they each had their first jobs after college at the McCann-Erickson advertising agency in New York City. After a stint writing for The New York Times, Bruce found his calling in the magazine business, selling advertising space. Following stops at Business Week, Look and McCall’s, he was hired by Time Incorporated in the mid-’60s to work for Life Magazine during its last years as a weekly publication. When Life ceased as a weekly in 1972, he moved to Time Inc.’s Fortune magazine, where he spent twenty years. At Fortune, he oversaw a new category, imported car advertising, growing it to be a source of significant revenue for the magazine. All in all, before retiring in 1994, Bruce spent more than 30 years at Time Inc. during its heyday as the leading magazine publisher in the United States, relishing the work, his colleagues, New York City and his place in the publishing world.

Bruce was nothing if not passionate about his many community involvements and his various pastimes. He helped to restore the sanctuary and steeple of the Setauket Presbyterian Church and worked on the committee to place the church on the National Register of Historic Places. He put his publishing experience to work to help establish a weekly newspaper in the Three Villages, The Village Times, now known as The Village Times Herald. He served on the board of the Stony Brook Community Fund, now the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. And he was a longtime board member of the Frank Melville Memorial Park, serving as its president and overseeing major renovations to the park’s buildings and grounds.

Bruce was an ardent lacrosse fan, voracious reader, Civil War history buff and lover of English cars, Winston Churchill, trains and all things Scotland. He was never more alive than when in the ocean surf or playing golf at St. George’s Country Club, where he and Barbara were members for 25 years.

Barbara Ann Hill McNaughton

Barbara, the eldest of four, was born in Queens March 4, 1933. Her father worked for New York State, helping to resettle returning World War II veterans.  This took the Hill family to Washington, D.C., during part of her childhood, but she mostly grew up in the New York area. She attended William Smith College in Geneva, New York, and graduated from the University of Vermont.

After meeting and marrying Bruce in New York City, Barbara gave birth to Cameron, the first of their three boys, in 1955. With the arrival in 1959 of their second, Donald, the young family moved east from New York City to Setauket, where Barbara’s parents kept a summer cottage on West Meadow Beach. The couple added a third child, Andrew, in 1963.

During these childrearing years, Barbara received her master’s degree from Stony Brook University and later worked in the library there for many years. She served as president of the  Play Groups School in Old Field and was an elder and longtime choir member of the Setauket Presbyterian Church.

Barbara was a boundless reader, enjoyed The New York Times crossword puzzle and loved sitting at the Brookhaven Beach Club with her friends. She was a fan of many sports, played tennis and golf and enjoyed watching baseball, Derek Jeter and Tiger Woods in her later years. She drove a stick well, and loved to watch her sons play lacrosse. Above all else, she was a devoted mother.

Upon leaving Setauket in 2005, Barbara and Bruce moved to Shell Point, a retirement community outside of Fort Myers where they quite happily spent their remaining years. 

In addition to their three sons, Barbara and Bruce leave behind two daughters-in-law, Karen Walsh McNaughton and Alison Pyne McNaughton, and five grandchildren: William Walsh McNaughton, Robert Cameron McNaughton, Alexander Gilchrist McNaughton, Holloway Elise McNaughton and Katherine Ann McNaughton. They were thrilled to live to see the birth of twin great- grandchildren, Charlotte Reilly McNaughton and Cameron Walsh McNaughton. Barbara is also survived by a sister, Jane Hill Burr, and a brother, David C. Hill.

A private family interment will be held this fall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shell Point for the benefit of the Waterside Health Center.

 

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File photo
Photo from SCPD

 

Police  are trying to identify and locate a man who allegedly attempted to use a debit card he stole from a Stony Brook business.

A man allegedly stole cash and a debit card from a wallet belonging to an employee at North Country Gas, located at 105 Main Street July 19. Later that day, the man then allegedly attempted to use the debit card to purchase gift cards at Target, located at 255 Pond Path in Setauket, but the purchase was declined.

Suffolk County Crime Stoppers offers a cash reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information about these incidents can contact Suffolk County Crime Stoppers to submit an anonymous tip by calling 800-220-TIPS (8477) or texting “SCPD” and your message to “CRIMES” (274637). All calls and text messages will be kept confidential.

Supervisor Ed Romaine during his State of the Town address. Photo by Kyle Barr

Click on the inset pictures to get a better view of which homes are in each defunct district.

Town of Brookhaven residents can soon expect a check in the mail after the Town Board unanimously voted to pass a resolution that would return remaining fund balances to taxpayers in six dissolved special water districts. 

A map of the defunct Sound Beach water district showing where residents will be receiving refunds. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

“This is part of the $20 million grant that the town got to consolidate shared services to improve efficiency,” Ed Romaine, town supervisor, said at the June 27 town meeting. 

The Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Plan is designed to consolidate town services and create shared services with other local municipalities to help cut costs. The dissolution of the six water districts was part of that consolidation, and when they were dissolved there were outstanding fund balances. 

The plan dates back to the 2018 $20 million grant that was awarded by New York State, which went toward modernizing services while reducing the burden on taxpayers by reducing redundancy in local governments and pursuing opportunities for increasing shared services. 

“All of that money is going back to the residents of those water districts,” the supervisor said. “They will get a check in the mail — [the amount] will vary from district to district.”

The town supervisor mentioned one of the benefits of consolidating services and eliminating the special districts, is that people who are now covered by the Suffolk County Water Authority but were once part of paper districts will get some of that money back. 

In total, the town will return approximately $500,000 to taxpayers. The money is from remaining fund balances from fiscal year 2018 that earned interest in 2019. 

The highest refund will go to the taxpayers who were served by the dissolved Sound Beach Water Supply District. The district, as of December 2018, had a remaining fund balance of $274,018.97. 

A map of the defunct West Setauket water district showing where residents will be receiving refunds. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Kevin Molloy, Brookhaven Town spokesperson, said residents of the special district that covered over 3,000 parcels will get an average refund of $89. The range of the refunds for Sound Beach varies from as low as 49 cents to as high as $2,638. 

The West Setauket Water Supply District had a remaining fund balance of $71,363.35, and each resident is expected to receive an average refund of $126, according to Molloy. 

Refunds will range from 14 cents to $476. 

Molloy said the amount residents get will depend on the evaluation of their property in their respective district. 

The refund will be handled by the town’s commissioner of finance who is authorized to remit all remaining fund balances of the dissolved special water districts, plus all accrued interest to the Town of Brookhaven tax receiver. 

“Residents will be getting a check in the mail starting the beginning of [this] month and no later than August 31,” Molloy said. 

Firefighters battle a kitchen fire at Mario's restaurant in East Setauket that traveled into the ceiling. Photo by Donna Deedy
Firefighters battle a kitchen fire at Mario’s restaurant in East Setauket that traveled into the ceiling. Photo by Donna Deedy

In the early morning hours of July 30, members of the Setauket Fire Department along with firefighters from surrounding companies battled a kitchen grease fire at Mario’s restaurant in East Setauket.

Lou Lasser IV of Mario’s said no one was in the restaurant when the fire, which spread to the ceiling, broke out.

Due to the heat, tents were set up in the adjoining parking lot to keep the first responders cool.

The restaurant is closed until further notice.

the Sound of a Chord barbershop quartet from the 1980s, with Russ Tobin, Al Mastrangelo, Fred Conway and Don Van der Kolk. Photo from Conway

“I’ll be singing for the rest of my life,” said Fred Conway, a longtime barbershop singer and six-time president of the local Harbormen Chorus barbershop group. 

Conway receives a Barbershopper of the Year award at a chorus event. Photo from Conway

Earlier this month, the Miller Place resident was honored by the worldwide Barbershop Harmony Society at an international convention in Salt Lake City for 50 years of talented service. 

“That was definitely a bucket list item for me, getting to 50 years,” Conway said. 

His career began innocently enough. Conway reminisced about that moment. It was the day of the 1969 Super Bowl and his neighbor at the time showed him an ad in the paper looking for barbershop singers. 

“It sounded interesting to me, I hadn’t taken any music lessons at the time, but I knew I had a good voice,” he said. “I went over there the following night and have stuck with it [singing barbershop] ever since.”

Since then, Conway has sung lead in nine quartets in his career, and he is currently a member of the Harbormen, Twin Shores Chorus as well as the Antiquity Quartet. Over the years, he has performed at some notable venues including the St. Petersburg Hall in Russia, Carnegie Hall and Madison Square Garden. The Miller Place resident has also received the Barbershopper of the Year award by the Barbershop Harmony Society. 

As much as Conway dedicates his time to singing barbershop, he also pursued another passion — teaching and counseling. He graduated from St. John’s University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education before attending C.W. Post to get a professional diploma. 

During his education career, Conway served as a guidance counselor and coached various sports team for the Miller Place School District. 

Conway coached women’s cross-country, the men’s golf team and men’s/women’s track and field. He would later become the first commissioner of cross-country and track and field in the Diocese of Rockville Centre for 12 years and has served as the first executive of Section XI for women’s cross-country for 10 years. 

“From about 1975-1986, Miller Place had some great teams,” said the Miller Place resident. 

David Lance, a fellow member of the Harbormen Chorus, can attest to Conway’s dedicated to the craft of barbershopping. 

“He is a real mover and shaker, he gets things done,” he said. 

Lance has known Conway for the past 15 years and first got introduced to the chorus when a member had to leave due to health issues. 

“They were looking for a tenor and they recruited me,” he said. “When I got there his voice [Conway’s] really stuck out to me.”

Conway leads members of the Harbormen Chorus in a sarenade at the TBR News Media offices February, 2018. File Photo

Lance mentioned practically everywhere they go and perform, Conway always seems to run into someone he knows. 

“He’s a great guy and friend,” he said. “His ambition is contagious.”

Lance, along with the other Harbormen members, have also performed at various senior and assisted living homes throughout Long Island and have welcomed returning veterans fighting overseas at MacArthur airport. 

Gary Wilson, a fellow member of the Antiquity Quartet, has known Conway for over 30 years 

“He asked me if I wanted to join quartet and I said yes,” Wilson said. “We found two other guys and we formed Harmony Hotline.”

The quartet performed together for some time but had to disband after two other members moved away. 

“He is a self-taught singer, he has such a unique sound,” Wilson said. 

Currently, Conway lives with his wife of 39 years, Lesley, and they have three children and six grandchildren. He is also a six-year Vestry member of St. Anselm’s Episcopal Church in Shoreham. 

“Through the years he has made a lot of people happy,” Lance said. “He is the personality of the quartet and brings a personal touch to his performances.”

The Miller Place resident said he doesn’t see himself stopping doing what he loves. 

“I’ll be singing forever,” he reiterated.   

The Harbormen Chorus are actively looking for new members and Conway said anyone interested in singing four-part harmony to visit them on Monday nights, except national holidays, at 7:30 p.m. for practice at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall at 380 Nicolls Road, East Setauket, which is north of the firehouse, next to the new synagogue. People can call 631-644-0129 for more information.