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.
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.