Charles Richard Van Duzer

12/20/2010 1:15 PM |

Charles Van Duzer

Lifelong Southold resident Charles Richard “Dick” Van Duzer passed away on Dec. 13, at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, after a brief illness. He was 82.

He was born to Charles Fish Van Duzer and Kathryn (Snyder) Van Duzer in Greenport on April 17, 1928. From an early age his love for the outdoors had him clamming, fishing and scalloping with his father in the waters surrounding the North Fork of Long Island.

After graduating from Southold High School in 1945 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He served aboard the USS Portsmouth, USS Wisconsin and USS Albany, mainly in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Honorably discharged in 1948, he returned to Southold to work in his father’s business on Young’s Avenue in Southold, Peterson Van Duzer Hardware. During this time the store’s inventory included liquid propane gas ranges, but not the LP gas. Borrowing a pickup truck, they purchased several dozen LP cylinders from Pulver Gas in Riverhead. Operating out of a small building behind the store, they delivered cylinders (with the same borrowed truck) to their new gas customers in and around the Southold area. When the hardware business was sold in 1950, the C.F. Van Duzer L.P. Gas Company was born and moved to its present location on Route 48 in Southold. Dick retired in 1989, after 38 years.

In 1952, the year the Riverhead Raceway opened, Dick embraced a short but lively NASCAR career. By then he had met his future wife, Rose Misloski of Peconic, and a wedding was planned. In a 2007 interview for a story about the Riverhead Raceway, he talked about his abbreviated career. “It was Aug. 19, 1952, in Riverhead I got T-boned in semi driving under the alias of ‘Tom Thumb.’ It was a bad accident. It bent the passenger side roll-over bar two inches. I broke my upper and lower jaw, messed up my stomach and cracked my left and right pelvis. On the way to the Riverhead hospital they kept asking me my name and all I could remember was ‘Tom Thumb.’” The wedding was now postponed and Dick spent the next five days in Central Suffolk Hospital and seven weeks mending. On Sept. 19 Rose and Dick were finally married, Dick still sporting his jaw braces.

A self-proclaimed “pack rat,” he collected beach glass, Indian arrowheads, paint pots and fishing equipment. His many hobbies included fishing, clamming, hooking rugs, macramé chairs, radio-controlled planes and ham radios.

Active in the community as well, he was a charter member of the Peconic Amateur Radio Club (PARC), Rotary Citizen of the Year in 1966 for his work for Youth Activities, Little League coach and 65-year member of Southold Fire Department Hook and Ladder Company. His life was full, his friends were many and he will be missed.

He is survived by his wife, Rose, of 58 years; daughters, Gail Davis, Karen Savalli, and Kathy Van Duzer; sons, Guy Van Duzer and Charles Van Duzer; a sister, Kay Goldsmith; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours were Dec. 17, at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home, followed by a Dec. 18, service at the funeral home and interment at Cutchogue Methodist Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Southold Fire Department, P.O. Box 1469, Southold NY 11971, or at cancercare.org or a charity of your choice.Lifelong Southold resident Charles Richard “Dick” Van Duzer passed away on Dec. 13, at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, after a brief illness. He was 82.

He was born to Charles Fish Van Duzer and Kathryn (Snyder) Van Duzer in Greenport on April 17, 1928. From an early age his love for the outdoors had him clamming, fishing and scalloping with his father in the waters surrounding the North Fork of Long Island.

After graduating from Southold High School in 1945 he enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17. He served aboard the USS Portsmouth, USS Wisconsin and USS Albany, mainly in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean.

Honorably discharged in 1948, he returned to Southold to work in his father’s business on Young’s Avenue in Southold, Peterson Van Duzer Hardware. During this time the store’s inventory included liquid propane gas ranges, but not the LP gas. Borrowing a pickup truck, they purchased several dozen LP cylinders from Pulver Gas in Riverhead. Operating out of a small building behind the store, they delivered cylinders (with the same borrowed truck) to their new gas customers in and around the Southold area. When the hardware business was sold in 1950, the C.F. Van Duzer L.P. Gas Company was born and moved to its present location on Route 48 in Southold. Dick retired in 1989, after 38 years.

In 1952, the year the Riverhead Raceway opened, Dick embraced a short but lively NASCAR career. By then he had met his future wife, Rose Misloski of Peconic, and a wedding was planned. In a 2007 interview for a story about the Riverhead Raceway, he talked about his abbreviated career. “It was Aug. 19, 1952, in Riverhead I got T-boned in semi driving under the alias of ‘Tom Thumb.’ It was a bad accident. It bent the passenger side roll-over bar two inches. I broke my upper and lower jaw, messed up my stomach and cracked my left and right pelvis. On the way to the Riverhead hospital they kept asking me my name and all I could remember was ‘Tom Thumb.’ ” The wedding was now postponed and Dick spent the next five days in Central Suffolk Hospital and seven weeks mending. On Sept. 19 Rose and Dick were finally married, Dick still sporting his jaw braces.

A self-proclaimed “pack rat,” he collected beach glass, Indian arrowheads, paint pots and fishing equipment. His many hobbies included fishing, clamming, hooking rugs, macramé chairs, radio-controlled planes and ham radios.

Active in the community as well, he was a charter member of the Peconic Amateur Radio Club (PARC), Rotary Citizen of the Year in 1966 for his work for Youth Activities, Little League coach and 65-year member of Southold Fire Department Hook and Ladder Company. His life was full, his friends were many and he will be missed.

He is survived by his wife  of 58 years, Rose; daughters, Gail Davis, Karen Savalli, and Kathy Van Duzer; sons, Guy Van Duzer and Charles Van Duzer; a sister, Kay Goldsmith; nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Visiting hours were Dec. 17, at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home, followed by a Dec. 18, service at the funeral home and interment at Cutchogue Methodist Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Southold Fire Department, P.O. Box 1469, Southold NY 11971, or at cancercare.org or a charity of your choice.

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