Tags Posts tagged with "Smithtown"


This year one of the new Rockettes is Head of the Harbor’s Courtney File. Photo from MSG Entertainment

A Head of the Harbor native is proving that dreams really do come true.

Courtney File, 24, is among the newest members of the Rockettes who are kicking their way through the holiday season, performing multiple shows in Radio City Music Hall’s “Christmas Spectacular.”

Seeing the Rockettes staple at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan has been an annual tradition for File since she was 6 years old.

“I just fell in love with it immediately,” she said.

Her parents were nervous about taking her and her brother Connor when they were younger, but she said her parents told her she was mesmerized by the show.

When the curtain came down, she turned to her mother and said, “That’s what I want to do, and it never changed my whole life.”

The 2016 Smithtown High School East graduate attended Chorus Line Dance Studio in St. James until she was 11. She then started training at the Broadway Dance Center in Manhattan, where she was part of its Children & Teens Program for four years.

File said her parents, Richard and Wendy, have always been supportive of her dreams and would drive her into the city when she was in middle and high school.

“My parents have been unbelievable since I was younger and really decided that I wanted to commit myself to dance,” she said.

This year one of the new Rockettes is Head of the Harbor’s Courtney File. Photo from MSG Entertainment

The dancer was also taking acting classes in addition to the CTP program. Sometimes she would audition or take a master class.

While she juggled a busy schedule, after being on Smithtown’s kickline team in middle school, she could not be on the Whisperettes, the high school kickline team at Smithtown East. While she wanted to, she said it would have been difficult with her schedule, and she would have missed some practices and games.

“That was probably one of the hardest things that I had to give up,” File said.

She added once in a while she was able to catch a game to see the kickline team perform

“I always supported them, and I thought they were great,” File said. “It was so fun to sometimes be able to watch.”

Standing 5 feet, 8 inches tall, her height fits in perfectly with the Rockettes’ range of 5 feet, 5 inches to 5 feet, 10 1/2 inches. The minimum requirements were recently changed from the previous 5 feet, 6 inches tall.

File, who was part of the Rockettes Conservatory program this summer, said among her fellow rookie Rockettes are a few dancers who were able to audition due to the new height requirements.

“They have made a lot of amazing strides to open up the opportunities to a bunch of different women this year,” she said, adding 17 of the 18 new dancers were from the conservatory program.

File said she was honored to be invited to participate in the program, which enables dancers at no cost to work with the Rockettes as well as performers with Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and Syncopated Ladies, a female tap dance band.

“It was a really awesome opportunity that the Rockettes gave, to give us a real life experience of what their day-to-day kind of looks like.”

This year wasn’t her first audition, though. She first aimed to be a Rockette when she was 18, and she was cut. In total, she has auditioned six times for the coveted spot.

“It was my dream, and I couldn’t give up on it,” she said.

She was home with her mother and brother when she received the call telling her she had made it. File said she kept asking her mother and brother if it really just happened.

“It was an unbelievable moment that I will never forget for the rest of my life,” she said.

A typical day for File now involves waking up every morning in her apartment and stretching. She said eating enough is also important as the dancers burn a lot of calories.

As a part of the gold cast, she performs in the evenings. The number of shows in one day can vary, and she recently had her first four-show day.

This year one of the new Rockettes is Head of the Harbor’s Courtney File. Photo from MSG Entertainment

The “Christmas Spectacular” began Nov. 18 and runs through Jan. 2, meaning dancers worked Thanksgiving and will be performing Christmas and New Year’s Day, too. Fine said she doesn’t mind as the cast and crew have become like family to her since they have been working regularly together from the beginning of October.

She added she’s lucky that her own family lives close to the city, and it’s easy for them to come to Manhattan to see the show. They have attended the show three times so far
this season.

Among her favorite dances is a lyrical number called “Dance of the Frost Fairies,” where each of the 36 Rockettes has a different costume that includes fairy wings that easily work during the complex, athletic number.

Another highlight, Fine said, was performing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and she also attended the premiere of the Hallmark Channel movie “A Holiday Spectacular,” which features two current Rockettes with speaking parts.

While living a dream come true, File had advice for young people regarding their goals.

“Never give up,” the Rockette said. “Every day in the audience, I see little girls that are looking up at the stage like how I did when I was 6 years old. Just work hard and never give up. Dreams do come true. I’m very lucky to be able to say that. Just keep going because all the hard work will be worth it.”

The Stony Brook-based nonprofit Cooking for Long Island Veterans held its first 5K race at Blydenburgh County Park in Smithtown on Sunday, Oct. 9.

A few dozen runners, including volunteers with Cooking for Long Island Veterans, took to the park’s paths to help raise money for the organization. The goal is to raise funds for expenses and a possible future expansion.

On hand to cheer on the runners were nonprofit founder Rena Sylvester, Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy and county Comptroller John Kennedy.

Keith Masso, upper center photo, was the overall winner of the race, and Alison Briggs, upper right photo, was the first woman over the finishing line.

For more information about Cooking for Long Island Veterans and upcoming events, visit   cooking4livets.com.

by -
0 840
The Bulls celebrate Jack Melores, center, touchdown against Northport Sept. 9. Photo by Steven Zaitz

Jack Melore, of Smithtown High School West, was named the New York Jets High School Player of the Week.

On Saturday, Sept.24, in a 20-14 upset victory over No. 4 Half Hollow Hills East, Jack had 10
catches for 226 yards and three total touchdowns. On defense he had six tackles, including a
quarterback sack and batted away three passes.

For being selected as player of the week the New York Jets will be donating $1,000 to the West
football program.

by -
0 692
Liz and Ron Denenberg, co-owners of Renaissance Studio, in a 2014 photo taken inside their Smithtown studio. Photo by Ron Denenberg

Smithtown residents have grown accustomed to an ever-changing Main Street, with businesses moving in and out on a regular basis. Recently, James Cress Florist moved a few doors down from its original location. For the last few months, people have noticed that the photos of smiling families, brides and grooms no longer fill the window of Renaissance Studio at 39 W. Main as the images have done for more than four decades.

Google maps

While the business sign still remains, owner Ron Denenberg has cleaned out the building he first rented in 1979 and bought in 1994. Soon the storefront will be occupied by a new business. The photographer had already been working from home as much as possible during the pandemic. After the passing of his wife, Liz, in December, Denenberg decided it was time to retire.

He and his wife founded the business in 1971, initially working in Queens. The couple moved from Brooklyn to Smithtown in 1973 and opened their Long Island location in 1979. For a few years, the Denenbergs ran a little photo studio in their home in the town. They then discovered Smithtown residents couldn’t have such a business in their house.

“We didn’t know you couldn’t have a business in the house, because we knew people with businesses in their houses,” he said. “But, photographers are considered retail because they’re considered camera stores.”

He said he was surprised that camera stores and photo studios were lumped together because he never sold cameras, and throughout his career, he hasn’t met any professional photographers who sell merchandise in their studios.

The couple found Smithtown to be different from city life.

“It was a whole new world,” Denenberg said. “This was farm country.”

He remembers a time when a pizza place, cleaners and bakery were located across the street from his studio, where CVS is now. Behind it, when they first moved to the town, was Blue Jay Market, then King Kullen and eventually a hardware store and Strawberry Field Supermarket. Where the Thai House is now, there was once a store with a soda fountain counter.

Denenberg also recalls when Main Street was lined with locust trees from Route 111 to Maple Avenue until 1985, when Hurricane Gloria knocked down the majority of the trees. Traffic was different during the earlier years, too.

“I used to be able to walk across Main Street without looking in the ’70s,” he said. “Now it’s a race for your life.”

Ron and Liz Denenberg pose for a photo before the pandemic at Short Beach in Smithtown, one of Ron’s favorite places to shoot. Photo from Ron Denenberg

Throughout his career, he has photographed people in many local and surrounding locations. Among his favorite shooting spots are the Byzantine Catholic Church of the Resurrection on Edgewater Avenue and Flowerfield Celebrations with its ponds and fountains.

“It’s just one of the most gorgeous places to take photos,” he said.

Denenberg also counts Smithtown’s Short Beach and near the Smithtown Bull among his favorite backgrounds. Frank Melville Memorial Park in Setauket is another favorite as he said no matter where the sun is one can find a beautiful spot at the park.

Through the decades, he’s seen a lot of changes in the photo industry, too. He credited his wife with always thinking outside of the box.

When the first digital camera came out, she knew it could potentially hurt the profession. Liz Denenberg encouraged her husband to start offering more portrait photography and then commercial services where he would take photos of buildings, employees and even products.

“I pushed myself into learning different techniques,” he said.

The business owner said without depending on wedding photography, he and his wife saved time with less energy being spent after events creating albums and touching up photos.

“Our gross went down because weddings cost a lot of money, but our [bottom line] income went up because we weren’t spending on other photographers and employees,” he said.

Recently, the pandemic also affected the industry, he said, with many brides and grooms not only postponing but canceling their receptions. COVID-19 restrictions affected other celebrations such as Communions, also bar and bat mitzvahs.

It was a big change for Denenberg who, along with the photographers he hired, once photographed 200 to 300 children a year celebrating their First Communion in addition to an average of nearly 100 weddings each year and other jobs.

Now, as he retires, Denenberg puts all that behind him. The photographer said he is looking forward to spending more time with his children and grandchildren, as well as traveling. And while it will be smaller in size than the ones he used in the past, Denenberg has a new camera that will accompany him on his future adventures.

by -
0 937

Video by Joseph Cali

The German Festival returned to St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Smithtown on Sept. 17.

The last two years the event could not be held due to COVID-19 restrictions. This year’s return marked the fifth German festival St. Andrew’s has held. Longtime church member Barbara English heads up the event.

Throughout the afternoon, hundreds filled the church’s parking lot to enjoy German food, hair braiding, live music, children’s games and more. Attendees also had the chance to enter raffles and check out merchandise from local vendors.

by -
0 1278
George, Linda, Stefan and Dawn Karatzas gather in front of James Cress Florist on Main Street in Smithtown. Photo by Jan La Roche

By Chris Mellides

Founded in Manhattan at the turn of the 20th century, James Cress Florist has flourished and become a fixture on Smithtown’s Main Street since the 1960s. 

Photo by Jan LaRoche

With their fingers on the pulse of a bustling suburban street in a prominent Long Island town, new owners George and Linda Karatzas always admired the James Cress name and its storied legacy. Their vow is to keep the integrity of the popular flower shop that broke ground in 1903 without sacrificing on quality or service.

The old James Cress business was housed in a 13,000-square-foot building on the corner of Main and Bellemeade Avenue, and George Karatzas admits that moving his location a few doors down to 127 E. Main St. and into an 18,180-square-foot establishment was no easy task. Despite this, the Karatzas family is wholly optimistic. The move date initially occurred on Aug. 18.  

“It’s happening,” George Karatzas said on the day of the move, “Flowers are here, I’m slowly bringing the computers over, and I’m ready to put the phone lines into this new location.”

“Once all the product is here and computers are operational, we’re going to be doing business out of the new location,” he added. 

James Cress has grown since the Karatzas purchased the iconic Smithtown location in December 2021. With the expansion, James Cress now serves Long Islanders with two other shops that can be found in Port Jefferson Station as well as Woodbury.

Overseeing the operations of three individual stores is a huge undertaking and one that was further complicated by the pandemic and the shops’ lack of employees, despite there being over 50 staff members at this time.    

“It’s quite a task with today’s COVID still happening,” Karatzas said. “If we don’t have employees with COVID issues, we have staffing problems. We’re having a very difficult time recruiting new help. That is a problem across the board.”

Asked what measures he can take to stymy this looming problem, the florist said, “There really isn’t much you can do other than reaching out more on social media platforms.” The focus, he continued, is on “expanding the reach” of James Cress. 

The award-winning flower shop provides same-day flower deliveries for just about any occasion. These occasions include weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, parties of any stripe and themed events, where a wide array of flowers and bouquets are needed to spruce up a special day.  

“The event business is busy,” Karatzas said. “There are [times] where we have eight events over the weekend, it’s a lot. I would have to say that the weddings during the summer months — where business is normally slower because there are no holidays and whatnot — we’re busy doing weddings. There are no two ways about it. Valentine’s Day is a big one for us.” 

While it’s not exactly known when James Cress himself launched the Smithtown storefront, designer and senior employee Kevin Henchey estimates that the old building was purchased by Cress sometime in the early 1960s and quickly became a prominent location serving patrons in and around the surrounding area. Henchey has been with James Cress for the last 40 years, according to the Karatzas family.  

Photo by Jan LaRoche

The entirety of the upstairs floor of the new James Cress building was perfect for showcasing a dedicated bridal showroom, since the space is considerably larger than the last, according to George Karatzas. 

“We took the first half of the top level, and we rented it. That is going to be the bridal showroom where brides can come in and do their consults like we’ve been doing for the past 30-some-odd years,” Karatzas said. 

No matter the occasion, the Karatzas understand the importance of the James Cress name and are equally determined to provide unmatched service across all three locations. With George Karatzas stating that it would have been a shame to see the Smithtown location close and was happy to relocate the storefront instead of shuttering its doors for good. 

“So, really at the end of the day, Linda and I don’t want to lose the legacy of James Cress,” Karatzas said. “We’re going to continue it and my son Stefan is on board with me and my daughter Dawn is also helping us out.” 

He added that he wants “to continue with our relationship with the customer base that we currently serve. And give them a more modern facility for the walk-in traffic that’s on Main Street.”

by -
0 1064
Adler writes his famous “A+” on his grandson Andrew’s hand at the doctor’s retirement party. Photo from Christine Figuccio

For nearly half a century, Dr. Albert Adler worked as a pediatrician in Smithtown, most of those years in his office located downstairs from his home on Teapot Lane. After his passing on July 14, at 94, those who knew him are remembering him affectionately.

Dr. Albert Adler with his “A+” cake at his retirement party in December 2010. Photo from Christine Figuccio

Many in the town remember visiting him as a child and getting an “A+” written on their arms from the doctor, who often wore whimsical ties with characters such as Mickey Mouse.

“When they were 18 no one actually graduated out of his practice, they would just take a temporary leave until they could bring their next generation to him,” his son Jonathan Adler said.

The son added his father was a family man.  His house and office setup allowed the doctor to go home within seconds to eat dinner with his wife and children and help his three sons with homework and school projects.

Jonathan Adler said his father was in good health until a few months ago. The pediatrician moved to Sarasota, Florida, with his wife, Joan, a few years after his retirement in December 2010. Joan died in May 2018.

The son said his father loved life and being a pediatrician. The doctor was also a fan of the Knicks, baseball and hockey. He believed strongly in education and traveled a good deal in his life.

Born in Brooklyn on Jan. 19, 1928, the pediatrician grew up in an apartment in Brownsville that included his immediate and extended family, including aunts, uncles and cousins. His parents owned a dress factory in Babylon.

Jonathan Adler said his father would tell his children, “We didn’t know whether a penny was round or square.”

Adler’s older sister ensured her brother got a good education when he was younger, according to his son. Before heading to college, Adler enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in China and Japan. After his time in the service, he took a few science classes at Brooklyn College. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do careerwise, and a friend suggested that he become a doctor.

Adler was accepted to Duke University, but to save his family money he decided to study overseas in Switzerland. The medical school in Europe cost $50 a semester.

After he and his wife married in 1959, Adler began practicing as a pediatrician two years later in a home-and-office combination on Route 111 in Smithtown. His wife, a former teacher who left work to care for her children, helped manage his office. The doctor built the Teapot Lane house and office in 1967.

His son said his parents belonged to Temple Beth Sholom locally, and his father set up a facility for the intellectually disabled youth and their families in the Smithtown area.

Jonathan Adler remembered his father as a good diagnostician, too. 

Dr. Albert Adler, right, and his wife, Joan. Photo from Christine Figuccio

“When other pediatricians really couldn’t figure it out, my father was able to figure out the problem,” he said.

He said when his father began practicing medicine, there weren’t as many specialty practitioners as there are now. Sometimes, Adler would have to set bones for simple fractures and even conduct plastic surgery. He was also the last doctor in the area to make house calls. His son said when the doctor first moved to Smithtown, a few families would pay him with vegetables, fruits or cow’s milk for house visits.

Jonathan Adler said one day, an employee at The Cheesecake Factory approached his father to tell him he had saved her arm. As a child, she came down with a bone infection. At the hospital, the orthopedic surgeon wanted to amputate her arm. Adler took a needle and stuck it into the bone, and pus squirted out all over the hospital room. The decision stopped the infection that nowadays could be easily treated with antibiotics, and her arm was saved.

When Adler retired in December 2010, his wife rented the Elks Lodge in Smithtown to celebrate. Jonathan Adler said thousands of people lined up in bad weather to wish his father well.

“His favorite thing to say was, ‘Look, if you love what you do for work, you never work. I feel like I’ve never really worked. I just enjoyed every second of my practice,’” the son said. 

Adler leaves behind his sons Jonathan (Andrea), Mitchell and Roger; grandchildren Andrew, Ellis, Michael, Eli, Abigail and Sawyer; and great-granddaughter Emma.

Like a family  

Former employees of Adler’s said he made them feel like family. Margaret Higgins, Maureen Rogers, Christine Figuccio and Lisa Agosta all worked with him for several years before he retired.

Agosta said during her 13 years working for him, she found him to be “a great pediatrician, and he touched so many lives with his loving care.”

She said the staff was called the “Adler girls,” and the employees had “wonderful memories with him and Mrs. Adler.”

Agosta said besides taking care of his young patients, he was there for the parents, too. He would give mothers and fathers advice and guidance, Agosta said, “with whatever they were going through — he didn’t just care about the children — he cared about the family as a whole.”

Higgins experienced this firsthand, before she worked with him as a registered nurse for more than 22 years, when he cared for her four sons. When her 18-month-old son was sick, if Adler needed to get an expert opinion, she said, “He would always go to the ends of the earth to get the right person for you.”

Margaret Higgins, Lisa Agosta, Maureen Rogers and Christine Figuccio worked for Dr. Adler for several years before his retirement. Photo from Christine Figuccio

When her son’s intestines were about to perforate, and he needed major surgery at Smithtown General Hospital, Adler helped her find the right surgeon. She said the pediatrician made sure the surgeon knew he could call him at any time of the night. 

Rogers, who worked for him a little less than 20 years, said when her daughter-in-law’s nephew was sick, and it wasn’t known if he would survive, with Adler calling in the right people, they saved his life.

 “He never stopped looking for some way,” she said.

Figuccio also worked for the doctor for approximately 20 years until he retired.

“He was just a loving, caring man,” she said. “No other words to describe him. He really put his whole heart and soul into every child and family member, took the time needed and gave them all the attention that they would need.”

She agreed with his son that Adler was the best diagnostic doctor around. She said one day he was examining a patient when he turned and saw a lump on the mother’s neck. He advised her to get it checked. Two days later, she was having her thyroid removed due to cancer.

She remembered another patient had strep throat and all the family members kept getting it. Adler asked if they had a dog, and they brought it in after hours. The doctor did a throat culture on the pet, and it turned out the dog had strep, too.

A+ patients

Maria Talbot and her sister were patients of Dr. Adler from birth until they turned 18.

“He was such a kind and compassionate man,” Talbot said.

She always looked forward to getting a lollipop and a hug from the doctor at the end of every visit. One day he forgot, and a nurse offered Talbot a lollipop, and she began to cry. Even though he was in another exam room seeing a patient, the pediatrician came to see what the problem was, and once he discovered what happened, he gave her a big hug.

“At such a young age, I remember feeling such a sense of comfort about him,” she said. “You could tell he truly loved the children he cared for.”

Nancy Irvolino said she remembered one visit when her brother needed a shot. He began running around the room, saying to his mother, “Tell him I take pills.”

“He calmed my brother down and at the end gave him a lollipop,” she said, adding she started going to the doctor when she was 2, and at 54, he’s still the best doctor she ever had.

Joe Cusumano said as a child asthmatic, he would constantly come down with bronchitis. The doctor realized it was allergies triggering the asthma and started Cusumano on allergy shots. Since he was 15, Cusumano hasn’t had an asthma attack.

His parents took him, his sister and his brother to the doctor since they were born.

“You knew you were going to a man who cared and knew what he was doing,” he said. “I am grateful for him to this day.”

This writer was also a patient of Adler’s from the age of 9 to 20, as there were several years I needed allergy shots.

He was the first person who said I looked like a celebrity. He would always call me a young Katharine Hepburn. When I first met him in 1977, I was familiar with who the actress was, but only knew what she looked like as an older woman. So, I was a bit taken aback. One day I saw the movie “Stage Door” where a young Hepburn starred with Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball. I realized I didn’t mind looking like Hepburn, and every time I see a movie with her, I remember the doctor who made a skinny, awkward girl feel like a movie star.

by -
0 680
FIle photo

Suffolk County Police Fourth Squad detectives are investigating an incident during which a Smithtown woman was confronted outside her home the morning of July 26 by two men who allegedly stole money and checks.

A woman was standing in her driveway at approximately 9:40 a.m. on Grandview Lane when two men, both wearing ski masks, approached her and displayed a gun. While speaking to the woman in Spanish, they motioned for her to go in the home.

The woman, who does not speak Spanish, attempted to run from the men who then grabbed her and engaged in a struggle with her. The woman was able to free herself and run toward the street. The men stole money and checks from the woman’s vehicle and fled the scene. The woman was treated by ambulance personnel at the scene.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this incident to call the Fourth Squad at 631-854-8452 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.

By Steven Zaitz
Northport defeated Smithtown East, 16-13, in the Suffolk County Class A Boys Lacrosse Championship game in a game that took place over the course of two days.
After a flash lightning storm struck at East Islip on June 1, the game was delayed for 30 minutes with Northport leading, 6-5.  After the officials restarted the game, Northport would outscore the Bulls, 7-2, but the weather would force yet another stoppage.  The game resumed June 2 with seven and a half minutes remaining, and despite a furious flurry of goals by the Red Bulls, Northport would hang on to win their second consecutive Suffolk County title.
Marcus Wertheim scored four goals and Brandon Marz three goals for Smithtown East.  Michael Meyer and Jacob Starcke scored four each for the Tigers, and Jack Deliberti would net three. The Tigers take on Port Washington for the Class A title on Saturday at Hofstra.

by -
0 923
Screen shot from the "Faces of War" video

By James B. Teese

A leader in all aspects of his life, James Edward Dowling, called ‘Red’ by those close to him, lived a life worthy of countless honors and adjectives, inspiring fellow veterans, citizens and officials along the way. He helped save a world from tyranny and helped build a better community.

James Dowling and his wife, Dorothy, in a family photo.

Red Dowling passed away last week at the age of 99 — a husband, father, grandfather, WWII veteran and prisoner of war, community leader, public servant, and — as many have declared in similar terms — a good man with a heart of gold.

From drafted teenager to hero

Dowling played football and ran track for Smithtown High School before being drafted in 1943. He became a bombardier/navigator for the 703rd Squadron, 445th Bomb Group in the 8th Army Air Corps, where his flight leader was the famous actor Jimmy Stewart.

He went on to earn the rank of 2nd lieutenant and fly several missions. On the fateful day of September 27, 1944, during his 11th mission on a bombing run over Kassel, Germany, his plane was shot down and he was taken as a prisoner of war. He survived to return home as a decorated WWII veteran. His tale is featured in the “Faces of War” video series. Further, he has an entire chapter written about him in Tom Brokaw’s book — “The Greatest Generation.”

“We lost one of the greatest individuals in Smithtown history,” said Smithtown Supervisor Ed Wehrheim, a Vietnam veteran. “[He] left his mark on the world in ways that will echo throughout future generations in the most prolific of ways. His stories from the battlefield have been etched in books and TV interviews, so that we will never forget the definition and true meaning of a hero.”

“As a veteran of the Vietnam War,” said veterans’ advocate Kevin O’Hare, of Kings Park, “I looked up to Jim Dowling as a true war hero who served in WWll. Here is a man who not only served his country, but also was a POW. It was my honor to be part of the veteran video for the Town of Smithtown this past November and to be interviewed alongside my hero.”

When POW Lt. Dowling returned home, simply settling down to enjoy life was not good enough. Keeping a promise, he made before going to war, he married his high school sweetheart, Dorothy, fathered eight children and continued to be the shining example of service and sacrifice for his own burgeoning family, and also the children of the community.

He started the St. James Little League for kids in the neighborhood and served in the capacity of president for nearly two decades.

To provide for his family, on his return home, he began a construction business and started Red’s Seafood. He delivered clams all over the tri-state area including Fulton Fish Market in downtown Manhattan.

James Dowling, left, with state Assemblyman Mike Fitzpatrick on Memorial Day in 2019. Photo by James Teese

Serving Smithtown

His service to Smithtown continued when he was elected as Smithtown Highway Superintendent, running the department for nearly four decades from 1960 to 1998. By operating the office with military efficiency, he successfully created 250 miles of permanent roads. In addition, he altered the way the municipality dealt with snowstorms by making the department’s response more proactive. In doing so, he helped set the precedent of a system that is implemented nationwide to this day.

“Jim Dowling will be remembered as one of Smithtown’s greatest citizens,” said state Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick, who served on the Town Council when Dowling led the highway department.

“Upon his return, he ran for highway superintendent and developed a snow-removal team that was the best in New York State and run with military precision … he was a mentor to me during my years in Town Hall, and I owe him a great debt of gratitude for all the help and guidance he gave me,” Fitzpatrick said.

“As parks director, I worked closely together with Jim,” Wehrheim added. “He was always a gentleman and a consummate professional. He built many of the roads and infrastructure we use each day.”

Family legacy

Dowling is now reunited with his high school sweetheart, the late Dorothy (Owen) Dowling, with whom he became an adored ‘Pop’ of 25 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild.

He will be remembered as a loving father to James Dowling Jr., Douglas and Jeanne Dowling, Jeffrey and Aniela Dowling, Janet and Brett Weingarten, Jean Dowling, Elizabeth and Robert Elderkin, Gregory and Donna Dowling, and William and Christine Dowling.

He will be further remembered as an avid golfer and “one heck of a Gin Rummy player.”  He was a member of St. George’s Golf and Country Club for over 50 years.

As the family noted, “Jim Dowling lived an amazing life and loved every minute of it. He will be
greatly missed.”

“Most of all, Jim was a good man with a heart of gold,” Wehrheim said. “His memory and legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of all who were blessed to know him.”

“Jim Dowling was, truly, a great human being,” added Fitzpatrick.

So agrees a grateful township and nation. RIP Red Dowling.