Lois Pike Eyre — a wonderfully creative woman who met the love of her life through music — passed away peacefully on March 8, 2022, after valiantly battling multiple illnesses for many years. She was 74.
Lois was born on Feb. 25, 1948, in Nyack, N.Y. She was the first child of Doris Orth Pike, a teacher, and Otis G. Pike, a future congressman. They moved back to the Pike family home in Riverhead later that year, on Election Night, when Harry Truman famously defeated Thomas Dewey.
Growing up in Riverhead, Lois inherited the family’s love of the sea. For her entire life, she enjoyed boating and had a deep love for Peconic Bay, the Long Island Sound, Block Island and the family bungalow on the bay.
Above all, Lois was blessed with creativity in the arts. She was gifted in painting, drawing, acting and, especially, music. In addition to singing in church choirs, she studied piano for 12 years.
Her true artistic passion, however, was the flute. She had about six months of lessons from the nationally prominent flutist Mark Thomas while in the eighth grade. From then on, she was self-taught. She joined the Riverhead Monday Night Band and Summer Band around age 13. For many years, she was their principal flutist, appearing often as a soloist. Her final solo appearance was under the musical direction of her husband, John Eyre.
While excelling at Riverhead High School, Lois performed with several honors ensembles. As a sophomore and junior, she was principal second flute and, as a senior, she was principal flutist with the Suffolk All-County Band. She was a member of the first flute section of the winter 1965 All-State Band. On Jan. 16, 1965, Lois won the woodwind division of the South Shore Symphony (Bay Shore) Concerto Competition. She also met her future husband, whom she beat in the competition. At that time, she rebuffed his romantic interest. Seventeen years later, he asked her to go on a date and Lois (after praying) finally said yes.
After graduating from Riverhead High School in 1966, Lois went to Radcliffe College, the women’s college affiliated with Harvard, in Cambridge, Mass. She graduated in 1970 with a Harvard A.B. degree in social relations.
While in college, she performed with the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra, as well as with numerous smaller ensembles and pit orchestras for shows, including Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Yeomen of the Guard.” She also developed her interest in acting and performed in many plays during college and for years after.
After graduation, she spent another five years in Cambridge, working in a wide variety of jobs.
In 1975, needing a change of lifestyle, she returned to Riverhead and became vice president for public relations at Central Suffolk Hospital (now Peconic Bay Medical Center). Her increasing interest in the visual arts led her to working in graphic art during her spare time. In early 1980, she took the courageous step of leaving her job and starting her own business, Lois Pike Graphics. She had notable success for almost 30 years before retiring for health reasons. She did any work that had to do with print — primarily posters, brochures, catalogs and concert programs. Some of her most prominent work was to design and produce the concert programs for all Suffolk County honors music groups (NYSCAME and SCMEA) for many years, as well as hundreds of brochures for South Oaks Hospital.
Like her parents and siblings, Lois was an accomplished public speaker. During the past four decades, she gave many speeches and introductions, mostly for arts organizations.
In 2019, Lois and John were honored by the Friends of Riverhead Free Library for their more than 30 years of service to the Piano Plus Concert Series.
Lois was predeceased by her parents and her brother Robert. She is survived by her loving husband, John; brother Douglas; sister-in-law Carol F. Pike; niece Julia McGann; nephew Otis Pike; brother-in-law Dr. Robert Eyre; sister-in-law Katherine Eyre; nephews Peter (Rebecca) Eyre, Dr. Stephen Eyre (Dr. Catherine Sumner) and Dr. Andrew (Lisa) Eyre; four grand-nieces; and two grand-nephews. Many other loved ones in faraway places ranging from Denmark to Cambodia are mourning Lois’ passing.
The family will receive visitors Friday, March 25, from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home in Riverhead. A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 26, at Living Water Full Gospel Church in Riverhead.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Lois’ memory to any of the following would be deeply appreciated: Monday Night Band (c/o René Suprina, president, 81 Rabbit Run, Riverhead, NY 11901); the Sound Symphony Orchestra (soundsymphony.org); Living Water Full Gospel Church (livingwater.online); and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (754 Montauk Highway, Islip, NY 11751).
This is a paid notice.