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Stony Brook Harbor

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Members of the Three Village Chamber unveil a memorial bench dedicated to Rehn outside his former office. Photo by Julianne Mosher

Sunday, Oct. 25, would have been George Rehn’s 72nd birthday.

The East Setauket resident was rushed to Stony Brook University Hospital on March 29. While there, he tested positive for COVID-19 and passed away from pneumonia on April 3.

Because his death came at the height of the pandemic, a delayed public memorial was held this week in two locations – both that were dear to him.

A memorial plaque for George Rehn placed alongside Stony Brook Harbor. Photo by Julianne Mosher

At noon on Oct. 25, dozens gathered at the Stony Brook Memorial Garden in Stony Brook Harbor, near Sand Street Beach, to pay their respects and to remember the good times they had with their father, friend and colleague. 

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine (R) told the crowd he knew Rehn for more than 35 years. 

“He didn’t wear his heart on his sleeve, but he wore it every day,” Romaine said. “He gave his heart to everything he did.”

For several decades, Rehn was committed to his community. A certified public accountant, he worked out of his East Setauket office located on Route 25A, across from Se-Port Delicatessen. 

He was a member of the Rotary Club of Stony Brook for nearly 40 years and was also an active member of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce. On top of that, he was involved with the Three Village Historical Society and was the treasurer of several campaigns, including one for Romaine, as well as a CPA for many local nonprofits. He was always there to help, and to tell a joke.

“Although he was taken far too soon from this terrible pandemic, he will be remembered as all good people should be,” Romaine added. “George did so much for the Three Village community and for the world.”

The plaque with his name was unveiled right by the water – one of Rehn’s favorite places. 

“He taught me how a ferry ride to Fire Island could fix anything,” his daughter, Jen Rehn, said. 

While he was a community pillar on the North Shore, the CPA was also devoted to the South Shore. He brought his eagerness to assist in any way he could to Fire Island, where he frequently visited. 

“He was truly a gracious person,” Councilwoman Valerie Cartright (D-Port Jefferson Station) said to the crowd. “We lost a great and important pillar of our community. We will never forget the contributions he made.”

And that’s why people showed up Sunday afternoon, to remember Rehn who loved where he lived. 

After the ceremony in Stony Brook,  attendees went to Rehn’s office in East Setauket to join the Three Village Chamber in unveiling a memorial bench dedicated to his name. 

Carmine Inserra, vice president of the chamber and owner of ProSysCon, shared his memories of Rehn to the crowd outside the office building they shared.

“He was a man of jokes, he was always there,” Inserra said. “I loved sharing an office with him. … And I want to carry on a legacy like he did here in the community.”

“The Three Village community and the Rotary were really important to my dad,” Rehn’s daughter said. “We’re just really touched.”

Her brother, Scott, agreed. 

“They say that the people who show up to your funeral is a representation of who you were as a person,” he said. “I think that shows here today. We all have the same amount of time here, it only matters what you do with it.” 

Rehn is survived by his wife, Liz; daughter Jen (John); son Scott (Janay); grandchildren Emma and Reece; and stepsons Joseph and Andrew.

Photo by Pamela Murphy

HARBOR NIGHTS

Pamela Murphy of Stony Brook snapped this photo at Stony Brook Harbor on August 1. She writes, “While walking at the harbor as the sun was beginning to set, I was able to capture a moment when the saturation of colors between the flowers and sky was magnificent. I was reminded how fortunate we are to live in a community that offers many beautiful venues as a respite from the challenging times we find ourselves in.”

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FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER: Jay Gao

Jay Gao

Hometown: Stony Brook

Photographer: When empty-nested, I bought myself a Nikon D750 camera, my first DSLR, at the end of 2015 as a New Year’s gift. Before that, I had experience in using compact point and shoot cameras.

Favorite camera: Nikon D750, an entry-level full-frame DSLR. I love its strength in low-light performance. 

Favorite lenses: For wildlife, I mostly use Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary, and for travel I like to use Nikon 24-120mm f/4. When shooting flowers, I prefer to use Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G.

Favorite locations: I love to visit the Stony Brook Mill Pond and Stony Brook Harbor with my camera. It is a beautiful place all year round and there are so many kinds of birds. As a matter of fact, this is mostly where I have been practicing my bird shots. My other favorite spots include my backyard, West Meadow Beach, Nissequogue River State Park and Sunken Meadow State Park.

Have you entered any photo contests? I won first place in the 2018 Better Newspaper Contest of New York Press Association; was selected to exhibit in the Oversea Chinese History Museum in Beijing by the committee of the 4th World Overseas Chinese Photography Exhibition (2019); and won in the “China’s City View” theme of Impression of China photography contest in 2020, although the display was canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Favorite aspect about taking photos: I enjoy going out and shooting with my camera. In addition to appreciating and sharing of the beauty of mother nature, you can benefit from the fresh air and physical exercise.

Best advice to get that perfect shot: 

Go out often and enjoy. When shooting birds, pay attention to the background and try to get close to their eye levels. I mostly use these camera settings: manual mode (1/1200 s, f8 and auto ISO), single point continuous focus and continuous shooting. I love to use the back button focus.

A TIME TO BE THANKFUL

Tom Caruso of Smithtown captured this spectacular sunset at Stony Brook Harbor on Oct. 13. He writes, ‘My wife and I were returning from the Shoppes at East Wind when I saw the sky turning beautiful colors as I turned toward the harbor. I was stunned by the sight and got my camera out of my bag and started snapping away. I was among at least eight people photographing it in the parking lot across from the Three Village Inn.’ 

Photo of the Week

DONNING DANCING SHOES

F..J. Buncke of the Stony Brook Camera Club caught this snowy egret  ‘doing the golden slipper dance’ in Stony Brook Harbor on Sept. 20. The handsome white wading bird sports black legs with yellow feet making it appear as if he is wearing shoes. All he needs now is a dancing partner.

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