North Fork banker hangs up his hat after 38 years, but continues community activism

10/18/2010 7:49 PM |


“We’re still trying to get into a routine,” Walter Krupski Jr. said, months after he retired from Capital One Bank, ending a 38-year career in the industry.
The 62-year-old Mattituck resident left the bank in May, but the accolades for his many acts of community service just keep coming.
The most recent honor came from Suffolk County. “Walter Krupski has always given back to his community,” county treasurer Angie Carpenter said of the former banker. “It was an honor to acknowledge his many lifetime achievements,” she said in a press release.
“I had a sense of giving something back to the community even when I was very young,” Mr. Krupski said during an interview Monday morning. “It was really nice when I was growing up here and I’m still very happy here.”
The North Fork has always been a special place for the extended Krupski family. Walter grew up farming the land he loved with his siblings and cousins. But his dad and uncles could see a waning future for potato farming and the Krupski cousins were all encouraged to get college educations and prepare to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
Among the factors that attracted Mr. Krupski to banking was the realization that it was a business he could eventually pursue at home on the North Fork.
He credits John Kanas, former president and CEO of North Fork Bank, who went on to head Capital One Financial Corporation’s banking operations after the 2006 merger, with giving him his start in North Fork banking.
“It’s the same, but it’s different,” he said, describing his job after Capital One took over.
After the merger, Mr. Krupski remained district manager and senior vice president for Capital One, serving the same friends and neighbors he’d served under the North Fork Bank banner. But just as personnel at the smaller banks North Fork had absorbed had to adjust, North Fork Bank employees had to adapt to the Capital One culture, he said. It was a matter of learning what was expected, he said.
One focus both institutions share is a commitment to community service, he said. That has been an ingrained habit for Mr. Krupski, who said he will continue to be involved in community activities.
That means the Rotary Club can still count on him to participate in its fundraising and charitable activities. And Eastern Long Island Hospital can still rely on him to plan its major Golf Classic fundraiser. The Mattituck Lions Club will still benefit from his energy in carrying off its annual Strawberry Festival.
Mr. Krupski remembers once being asked by the Cutchogue Fire Department to help roast chickens for its annual barbecue and community celebration. He said yes, for one year. That was 17 years ago — and he’s been working the grills ever since.
“You want to be careful when you join things because you want to do a good job,” he said of his many community activities.
He co-chaired The Great North Fork Foot Race back in the 1980s; was a past president and director of the East End Arts Council; earned Director of the Year honors in 1990 from the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce; was The Suffolk Times Civic Person of the Year in 1993; served as an advisory council member who helped create the Riverhead Corps of The Salvation Army; and was past chairman and committee member of the American Heart Association’s East End Heart Ball.
In addition, Mr. Krupski has served for many years on the Douglas Moore Memorial Concert committee and spearheaded various fundraisers to benefit the Boy Scouts. As a result, he’s been honored by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, the North Fork Promotion Council and the Bummy Hudson–Wes Simchick Scholarship Foundation. Rotary presented him with the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
So what’s ahead?
Mr. Krupski and his wife, Robyn, who also retired this year from her work as a teacher’s aide at Cutchogue East Elementary School, spent the summer on an extended vacation and will soon head south to Disney World with two of their grandchildren.
“We do everything we can to see what the grandchildren are up to,” he said.
“Retirement is like starting a new career,” he said. “You just have to be involved with the things that are going to make a difference.” [email protected]