[Barbara] Lynn ‘Lynny’ Tonnessen

[Barbara] Lynn “Lynny” Tonnessen of Mattituck passed away at home Monday, March 11, 2024. She was 71 years old.

Lynn was born Jan. 11, 1953, in Staten Island, N.Y. to Joan (Tolnes) and Trygve M. Tonnessen. She was one of two children. She graduated from Curtis High School in Staten Island with the class of 1970. After high school, she attended Wagner College, where she attained her Bachelor of Arts degree. Prior to settling in Mattituck in the early 2000s, she lived in all the boroughs.

Lynn was as New Yorker as they come. In her voice and laugh, in her world view (She adored people and cultures), and in her energy and creativeness. Her sister-in-law, also a New Yorker, said she once witnessed Lynn step in front of four lanes of oncoming traffic downtown, throw out her hand and proceed forward. She was a proud union worker for set design from TV commercials and shows to major motion pictures to series. Lynn knew what was behind the obscure signless doors, where she’d climb stairs to entire apartments filled top to bottom with afghans, rugs, spoons and silver and she’d pick out one item and then run back to set and she’d place it. She knew New York City better than most. One Christmas she was in charge of the floral arrangements for the major churches in the city. Lynn had lived in Kenya with giraffes, lived on a houseboat in Manhattan and wore animal printed clothing, almost always with a scarf and certainly always with a cigarette in hand. You could hear her laugh or booming voice before you could see her.

Lynn then opened a small house goods store, Main Road Home, in rural Long Island (Cutchogue). The store closed due to the recession but she herself said she was a bad businesswoman because of the thrill of talking to people, hearing about their spaces and wanting them to leave with something special, so she often gave things away or sold them for less.

Lynn fostered and rehabilitated street dogs, which is how she got her last dog Sally who she couldn’t part with. She had one designer dog, a cocker spaniel named Olivia, with designer dog haircuts and outfits, who met the stars on all the sets. In Mattituck her heart and brain child was a dog show but for everyday dogs — the Cutchogue Canine Classic at Borghese Vineyards.

Lynn is survived by her brother, Peter Tonnessen of Arkansas; niece Britt Tonnessen (and beloved husband, Zane Jones, along with a baby girl on the way) of Alaska; and nephew Karl Tonnessen (and his two daughters) of Montana.

The family has chosen to remember Lynn’s life privately at this time. DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Mattituck is serving the family.

This is a paid notice.