Raymond C. Offenheiser died peacefully at Emerson Hospital in Concord, Mass., on Easter Monday, April 1. He spent his last year in the care of the warm and professional staff of the Walden Nursing Home in Concord.
He was born Aug. 27, 1919, to Charles George and Mary Frances Offenheiser of Bellerose, N.Y. His mother was born Mary Frances Conway of the Southold Conway family and, from birth, he spent his summers in Southold, ultimately retiring there in 1983.
He considered himself a walking town historian and was fond of regaling any listener with stories of lobstering with his Uncle John off Horton’s Point, visiting another uncle’s speakeasy on Main Street in Greenport during Prohibition, accompanying farmers to the beaches at night to meet bootleggers and load illegal liquor on farm wagons, and harvesting potatoes with his cousins and brothers. He retired to a house on Soundview Avenue on land that had been part of the Horton’s Point Inn and farms in the 1800s and his playground as a child in the early 1900s.
He was a graduate of Jamaica High School in Queens, where he was a member of the school’s championship golf team. After high school, and following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the Army Reserve 71st Regiment in New York City, headquartered at its now defunct old fortress armory at 34th and Park Avenue. His unit was called to active duty in 1939 before Pearl Harbor. After training at Fort Dix, N.J., they were sent to patrol the Alaskan coast and defend against a Japanese invasion. With the onset of war, he was deployed to North Africa and later to Italy, where he joined the U.S. Fifth Army under Gen. Mark Clark. He was assigned for a short time to Gen. Clark’s staff as a field liaison and later to front line infantry units where he served for the duration of the war. These units fought their way north in Italy across the Apennine Mountains against brutal opposition, enduring several harsh winters and engaging Germany’s most elite Panzer divisions. As a young lieutenant, he was responsible for leading numerous frontline patrols and mortar attacks. This Italian campaign sustained some of the highest casualty rates of the war. For his service he was awarded two Bronze Stars for Valor and two Purple Hearts for being wounded in action. He remained in the reserves for another 20 years, retiring with the rank of major.
On his return from the war, Mr. Offenheiser met Eileen Patricia Hines of Queens Village, N.Y., whom he married in 1947. They remained married for 59 years until her death in 2006. He spent his entire professional career as an underwriter, first with Merchants Fire Assurance Corporation of New York and later with the United States Fidelity and Guaranty (USF&G) Insurance Company, from which he retired in 1983. After beginning his career on Wall Street, he was transferred in 1955 to Charlotte, N.C., where he specialized in industrial insurance for the fast-growing textile and tobacco industries. Later, in 1963, he was transferred with his family to Philadelphia, Pa. He retired from USF&G in 1983 and returned to Southold, where he lived for the next 28 years.
Mr. Offenheiser is survived by his two sons, Raymond C., of Carlisle, Mass., and Joseph W., of Laguna Niguel, Calif.; five grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and one of his six siblings, Rosemary Bie of Commack, N.Y.
Visiting hours will be held at DeFriest Grattan Funeral Home in Southold on Tuesday, April 16, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick R.C. Church in Southold on Wednesday, April 17, at 11:30 a.m. Interment will follow at St. Patrick’s Parish Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011 or http://www.alz.org/.
This is a paid notice.