Larry Tuthill Sr. was a one-man welcoming party to the Village of Greenport.
A lifelong resident, Mr. Tuthill was a senior member of Greenport Fire Department’s Star Hose Company and a longtime philanthropist. During his life on or near Greenport’s waterfront, it was far from rare to find Mr. Tuthill sitting on a bench near the Shelter Island Ferry landing while eating his lunch and greeting passengers as they arrived.
“There were times I’d see him down there and people would walk on to the dock and he’d say ‘welcome to Greenport!’ and he had no idea who they were. That’s the way he was,” friend Robert Jester said.
Since his passing four years ago, the park area off Third Street has deteriorated. In Mr. Tuthill’s memory, members of the Greenport Fire Department have decided to spruce up the park.
“He always said that was the perfect place because for a lot of people, that was where they first touched Greenport,” said Mr. Jester, who is spearheading the project. Mr. Tuthill, a civil engineer and dock builder, worked on several projects for the village and Shelter Island.
“He really shaped, in large part, Greenport’s waterfront, so I thought it was an appropriate place to honor him,” Mr. Jester added.
The park site is adjacent to the transportation hub where the Hampton Jitney, Shelter Island Ferry and the Long Island Rail Road all have stops. The Railroad Museum of Long Island is also located just steps away.
Mr. Jester said the park, which is village property, is not only a way to honor Mr. Tuthill, but also a way to memorialize Greenport’s history and the people who helped build the village. “In so many ways we don’t have a good memory of our history,” Mr. Jester said. “Here is a man who did so much for the community and we can’t let that slip by. We have to remember.”
Mr. Tuthill’s son, Larry Tuthill Jr., said the family is honored by the dedication.
“My father would be humbled,” he said. “He truly enjoyed helping people. We certainly thank the fire department. The company was his second family.”
The $8,800 price tag will include three new tables and two benches facing the water, a bike rack and a wooden fence designed to match the existing fence at the railroad station. The heart of the park will be the center circle, a cement area engraved with four compass points and Mr. Tuthill’s name, along with an appropriate quote that has yet to be decided.
The Village Board has already approved the upgrades. No public funds will be spent on the project, with the costs covered fully by money raised through the fire department’s annual Memorial Day weekend carnival. The work will be completed by a group of volunteers, fitting for Mr. Tuthill, who dedicated his life to volunteering for the village. Ratsey Construction in Greenport is donating manpower and supplies.
“Larry taught everybody what a real volunteer is, someone who goes the extra distance expecting nothing in return,” Mr. Jester said.
Work is scheduled to begin by the end of the month and is expected to be completed by the start of summer.