John “Tom” Wetzel of Cutchogue passed away March 9, 2020, at Acadia nursing home in Riverhead at the age of 86.
He was born in Hollis, Queens, in 1933 to John and Regina Wetzel.
Tom, who was the oldest son of seven children, was predeceased by his parents; his sister Mary; and two younger brothers Joseph and Richard.
In 1950, Tom entered St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, N.J. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in June 1955, and was active in the Mendel biology program.
As a young man, Tom spent summers in Mastic Beach where he met his future wife, Joan Vairo.
He worked in Queens Village as vice president of plant operations for Deknatel (Pfizer) until his retirement. During that time, Tom travelled extensively to Germany and Costa Rica, overseeing the company’s production of surgical sutures. He also worked nights for several years at a part-time second job at the U.S. Post Office.
In 1985, he received his MBA from Robert B. Willumstad School of Business at Adelphi University in Garden City.
Tom and his wife, Joan, started spending summers at their house on Pequash Avenue in 1974 and moved permanently from West Hempstead to Cutchogue in 1992.
He served as president of The Fleets Neck Property Association beginning in 1997. He retired as president in 2007 after 10 years and was designated a life member. Among his many accomplishments, Tom created the first “Welcome to Fleets Neck” sign in 1999, initiated the Fleets Neck “Tidings” newsletter, assisted in changing the permit for the dredge spoils of East Creek, met regularly with Southold town officials re: storm drains, road runoff, traffic control and the Christmas Tree Farm and also assisted in beach preservation.
Tom enjoyed working around the house, boating, his family and friends, watching sports and the news.
Tom and Joan were married for 63 years. Tom is survived by his wife, Joan; children, Deborah, Lenore and Thomas; grandchildren, Alexandra and Matthew; as well as his sisters Jeanne and Patsy and brother Andrew.
Visitors will be received Sunday, March 15, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Coster-Heppner Funeral Home, 32470 Main Road, Cutchogue. A funeral Mass will take place Monday, March 16, at 11 a.m. at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Mattituck.
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
This is a paid notice.