Nancy McGroarty Cataldo, a graduate of the Patchogue-Medford High School class of 1977, has dedicated her life to giving service to others. Today she serves as the Service to the Armed Forces and International Services Regional Director for the Palmetto, South Carolina region of the American National Red Cross. The program supports milit
Nancy McGroarty Cataldo, a graduate of the Patchogue-Medford High School class of 1977, has dedicated her life to giving service to others. Today she serves as the Service to the Armed Forces and International Services Regional Director for the Palmetto, South Carolina region of the American National Red Cross. The program supports military personnel, veterans and families by offering financial assistance, information and referral services, deployment services, and reconnection workshops. Nancy first joined the Red Cross as a volunteer in the early 1990’s, and throughout her time with the great humanitarian organization she has responded and assisted with many human-made and natural disasters both near her community and in the world. Nancy's responsibilities when responding to such events include helping families with clothing, financial support, as well as temporary lodging and referrals to local agencies, and maintaining shelters during disasters. She also assists with training programs such as First Aid/CPR/AED, water safety, babysitters’ training, disaster preparation, and many more. Nancy is also involved in raising funds in support of emergency services for fire departments in and around her home region of South Carolina. She is also a member of the Rotary Club, involved with community outreach and volunteer projects such as the Emanuel UMC Soup Kitchen, the Vidalia Onion Sale for Scholarships, Little Library Project, and the Pillowcase Project.
Hard work, dedication, and service started early for Nancy. She began volunteering at the age of 12, joining service projects organized in the Patchogue-Medford schools. In 1976, Nancy was featured in the Long Island Advance for volunteering at the Patchogue Nursing Center, helping residents with everything from shopping trips to movie theater visits. She received an award from the State of New York Department of Mental Hygiene for outstanding volunteer service at Willard Psychiatric Center. She also excelled in academics and athletics, as an Honor Society inductee and a member of several P-M sports teams, including the 1977 PMHS Varsity Women’s Bowling team which won that year’s New York State Bowling Intersectional Championships. As if induction into the Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame is not honor enough, Nancy is also part of the first married couple to be inducted simultaneously. Her husband Paul Cataldo is also being honored this evening. Paul and Nancy enjoy spending time with their three daughters, granddaughter, grandson, and three dogs.
Paul Cataldo, a 1977 graduate of Patchogue-Medford High School, has devoted his life to service with the U.S. Air Force: 40 years, nine assignments in three countries, five states, and countless deployments—the majority of them in the Middle East. Paul enlisted in 1979 and in 20 years of active duty, worked his way up to the rank of Maste
Paul Cataldo, a 1977 graduate of Patchogue-Medford High School, has devoted his life to service with the U.S. Air Force: 40 years, nine assignments in three countries, five states, and countless deployments—the majority of them in the Middle East. Paul enlisted in 1979 and in 20 years of active duty, worked his way up to the rank of Master Sergeant. He saw action in many major operations, including Desert Storm, and played an essential role in the nation’s defense during Operation Enduring Freedom. Although Paul retired in 2000, he returned to the Air Force and continues to serve as a civilian. Today Paul is the Chief of Civil Engineer Operations Support for the Air Forces Central Command at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina. He is responsible for the construction, operation, and sustainment of entire deployed locations, facilitating movement, bed-down, and sustainment of entire fighter wings, and support agencies in support of Enduring Freedom. During his career Paul earned many awards and recognitions, honoring his excellent conduct, humanitarian contributions, and dedication to service. As a civilian, he has received the Air Force Air Combat Command Outstanding Staff Action Officer of the Year Award and Civilian Officer of the Quarter, both two times.
Paul is not only an asset to the military and his country, but also to his local communities. Since 2004, he has coached the highly successful SC Bandits softball team for girls aged 12-18 to three South Carolina ASA State 18-U Championships and two appearances at the ASA 18-U Nationals. In 2008, Paul became a volunteer assistant coach of the University of South Carolina Sumter Fire Ants team. Beyond motivating his players athletically, Paul also coaches them academically. Thirteen of his players have been named Academic All-Americans. Throughout his many years of service, Paul has become known far and wide as a man of integrity who takes great pride in helping others succeed. At Patchogue-Medford High, Paul played football and also fell in love with—and later married—his high school sweetheart, Nancy, who is also being honored as a Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame Inductee tonight. Paul and Nancy enjoy spending time with their three daughters, granddaughter, grandson, and three dogs. Paul also enjoys working on the1968 Mustang he bought while still a student at Pat-Med.
Lorice “Lari” Staudinger Fiala has devoted her entire lifetime to public service and charity for the benefit of the Patchogue-Medford community and beyond. A businesswoman and heiress to The Colony Shop, one of the oldest retail operations in the Village of Patchogue, which her mother founded in 1946, Lari has served as a member of the Gr
Lorice “Lari” Staudinger Fiala has devoted her entire lifetime to public service and charity for the benefit of the Patchogue-Medford community and beyond. A businesswoman and heiress to The Colony Shop, one of the oldest retail operations in the Village of Patchogue, which her mother founded in 1946, Lari has served as a member of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, the Patchogue Women’s Club, and the Lioness Lions Club — including terms as president of each of those important organizations. Her awards and honors are many. In 2000 she received an award for her support and dedication to the Chamber of Commerce and the business community. In 2004 the Town of Brookhaven Women’s Services honored her as Woman of the Year in Business, and in 2010 the Brookhaven Chambers of Commerce Coalition honored her as its Member of the Year. Her charity work is widespread and boundless. One highlight is the annual “Walk for a Guide Dog” which she established with the Lioness Club in 2003. To date the event has raised enough funds to nurture, train and develop 29 puppies into fully qualified guide dogs on behalf of the Smithtown Guide Dog Foundation. Lari has been the recipient of two very high honors with Lions International, a Melvin Jones Fellowship and the Robert J. Uplinger Award. Lari was born in Greenport in 1935, moved to Patchogue in 1946 and attended Medford Elementary and the old Patchogue High School on South Ocean Avenue. Not surprisingly, she was voted by her fellow graduates as the girl who “Did Most for the Class” of 1953. After graduation she began working at The Colony Shop. In 1959 she married Frank Fiala and moved to East Patchogue where she still resides. Mr. Fiala passed away suddenly in 1982. Lari continues to be an active member of the Village of Patchogue Community and is a welcoming ambassador for our community
Nancy Amone-Goldfader, born and raised in Patchogue and a graduate of the PMHS Class of 1977, has been a role model, a mentor, and a tireless supporter of her colleagues and literally thousands of students and their family members over the course of more than three decades. As a beloved and trusted counselor, she has left—and continues t
Nancy Amone-Goldfader, born and raised in Patchogue and a graduate of the PMHS Class of 1977, has been a role model, a mentor, and a tireless supporter of her colleagues and literally thousands of students and their family members over the course of more than three decades. As a beloved and trusted counselor, she has left—and continues to grow—an indelible legacy within the Patchogue-Medford School District and her community at large. The level of popularity Nancy enjoys throughout our District today is in keeping with the impact she made in her own student days. At PMHS she was her class vice president, homecoming queen, and captain of the cheerleading team. She epitomized of school spirit, then as now. After graduating from Bloomsburg University and receiving her masters in counseling from C.W. Post Long Island University, she began her 34-year counseling career at South Ocean Middle school and then the high school. During her time at Pat-Med, Nancy has involved herself in many extra-curricular activities including as cheerleading coach, class advisor, General Organization advisor, coordinator of the Sunshine Club for faculty and staff, a PMCT building representative, as lead counselor, and mentor to new staff. Among Nancy’s many proud honors was the dedication to her of the PMHS Yearbook by the Class of 1994, of which she was class advisor. In 1998, she was honored by the Western Suffolk Counselor Association as its Counselor of the Year. Homecoming 2006 was dedicated to her, the senior class citing her school spirit and dedication to extra-curricular activities. She has been inducted into the National Honor Society (2009) the Tri-M Music Honor Society (2017) and National Business Honor Society (2018).
Beyond the P-M District, her passion for community is demonstrated by her membership in the Women’s Club of Patchogue, of which she is a past president. In 1994, Nancy and her husband David moved to East Islip where, after having three children, Nancy became an active supporter of the EI Early Childhood Center, the school PTAs, and several other school district committees. For her outstanding service she received the PTA Jenkins Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award. Nancy has also served as president of the FTK (For the Kids) Foundation which, through major fundraising events, sponsorships, and donations has raised resources to enhance and expand academic, cultural, and recreational programs for all students in the East Islip District.
The Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame is proud to add to its roster of honorees one of the best ambassadors the School District has ever had.
A graduate of the PMHS Class of 1989, Darryl Jefferson a is a 14-time Emmy Award-winning television executive, mentor and industry leader. With much of his career spent in the intricate production of multiple Olympic Games telecasts for NBC Sports, Darryl has been a part of the technical team in 12 of the 20 most-watched televised events
A graduate of the PMHS Class of 1989, Darryl Jefferson a is a 14-time Emmy Award-winning television executive, mentor and industry leader. With much of his career spent in the intricate production of multiple Olympic Games telecasts for NBC Sports, Darryl has been a part of the technical team in 12 of the 20 most-watched televised events in U.S. history. As a student at Rutgers, Jefferson was elected as the university’s first African-American student body president. He began his television career in children’s programming, first as an intern with Linda Ellerbee’s Lucky Duck Productions, creators of the children’s news magazine NickNews. After college, his first job was as a production assistant at the Children’s Television Workshop on the popular show GhostWriter. A number of freelance production jobs followed, until Jefferson was chosen to manage the sprawling entertainment plant at the new Chelsea Piers complex in Manhattan — six film and television stages, where such shows as Law & Order and Spin City as well as feature films like Big Night and The Preacher's Wife were created. In 2002, Jefferson moved into television network operations with Lifetime Television, directing all aspects of both traditional and the newly-emerging field of digital post-production services.
Jefferson joined NBC Sports Group in 2008, in support of the Beijing Summer Olympics, and has worked with NBC on every Olympics since. At the Pyeongchang, Rio, Sochi, London, and Vancouver Games he was the driving force behind the “Highlights Factory” — an integrated global asset management system that allows staff to view, exchange, edit, submit, and publish digital video from both live feeds and 300,000+ hours of archival content from anywhere in the world. Today Jefferson oversees all post operations for the entire NBC Sports Group, including 24/7 post production editing, graphics (on-air and pre-production), post production audio, asset management and digital workflow for all NBC Sports properties (Olympics, NFL, NHL, NASCAR, Horse Racing, and others). In 2014, Jefferson developed a Technical Apprentice Program (TAP) to encourage and develop the next generation of technologists, preparing its members for the endless new waves of exciting and daring digital technologies, and — just as importantly — ensuring that they represent a broad diversity of cultures and perspectives. As a highly valued and sought-after mentor within the NBC community, Jefferson was named as the founding leader of NBC’s Black Employee Network.
Richard Kaler, a member of the Patchogue High School Class of 1962, was a highly decorated military hero who gave his life for his country while serving in Vietnam just four years after graduation. Kaler had been a football captain and a wrestler at PHS, a young man with many friends who nicknamed him “King” because he was always the org
Richard Kaler, a member of the Patchogue High School Class of 1962, was a highly decorated military hero who gave his life for his country while serving in Vietnam just four years after graduation. Kaler had been a football captain and a wrestler at PHS, a young man with many friends who nicknamed him “King” because he was always the organizer of activities and always in charge. Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri, a childhood friend, remembers Kaler as “the classic gentle giant.” Everyone knew Richie was “born to be a Marine" and he worked hard through athletics, in long hours at the old Patchogue YMCA, even toiling for the Patchogue Village Highway Department to hone his body into the peak physical condition required for all those who wish to serve in the Corps. In 1963 he fulfilled his dream, and by March 1965 he was a Private First Class in the 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Soon he was deployed to Vietnam, and promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal. On July 21, 1966, while on an operation near the Demilitarized Zone, Richie was killed in action. He was just 22 years old, and only 41 days short of the end of his tour of duty. He was decorated with a Purple Heart and the Navy Cross, the second-highest honor that can be awarded to a U.S. serviceman. Richie’s Navy Cross citation reads:
“For extraordinary heroism as a machine gunner with Company H, 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines near Cam Lo, Republic of Vietnam, on July 21, 1966. The Company was engaged in a search and destroy mission during Operation Hastings, when the point man from Corporal Kaler’s platoon was fired upon and killed by enemy machine guns. Disregarding his own personal safety, he immediately moved forward through heavy fire and carried the body back. The following day, the platoon attacked the same position. When several machine gun positions opened fire, cutting down several of his comrades, Corporal Kaler, knowing the hazards involved, without hesitation, and in complete disregard for his own safety, exposed himself to the intense fire and charged the enemy positions. Receiving a bullet to the thigh, Kaler nevertheless closed within the North Vietnamese, silencing one position before he was struck and mortally wounded by enemy fire. By his daring initiative, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty in the face of insurmountable odds, Corporal Kaler was responsible in a great measure for saving many of his comrades and thereby upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom.”
Deborah Mazura, a member of the Patchogue-Medford class of 1972, spent 40 years as an educator who extended her skills and experiences with her students on Long Island to bring life-enriching service and charity to thousands of people living in impoverished or catastrophically damaged communities in many parts of the world. Through her gu
Deborah Mazura, a member of the Patchogue-Medford class of 1972, spent 40 years as an educator who extended her skills and experiences with her students on Long Island to bring life-enriching service and charity to thousands of people living in impoverished or catastrophically damaged communities in many parts of the world. Through her guidance and leadership, her students have helped raise funds that have made an enormously positive impact on the lives of the impoverished residents of a village in the African nation of Tanzania. She and her students have also devoted tireless energies over countless days and months to aid such causes as the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Stony Brook Pediatric AIDS Center. In taking on these missions, Deborah has succeeded greatly in achieving her twin goals of helping all of her students to develop a sense of empathy and responsibility to humanity, while also making a significant difference in the lives of others less fortunate.
As a Pat-Med student, Debi was very involved in a large variety of activities, such as musicals, chorus, cheerleading and Leaders Club. She received a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from SUNY Oneonta in 1976, after which she married Francis (Bud) Mazura and began her teaching career. She has long been an active member of Saints Peter and Paul Church, having served as a youth group director and a cantor since 1999. In 2006 she was invited to travel to Africa on a singing mission, and it was that experience which ignited her desire to help the many needy people of Tanzania. Upon her return she established Seeds of Hope Tanzania, a non-profit that focuses on offering food, shelter, medical assistance and educational opportunities for the villagers of Arusha. Funds raised enabled such remarkable projects as the construction of a new church, a water tank and well system to provide safe drinking water for an orphanage, the hiring of teachers and purchasing of materials to educate scores of young students, new homes to replace mud huts for many families, a sustainable garden at a center for handicapped children, the painting and repairing of buildings, providing new hospital beds and necessary supplies for a health center, and helping to fund surgeries and treatments for young children suffering from challenging health issues. Deborah continues to visit Tanzania every other year, still working to inspire others to join in the quest to make significant differences in the lives of others. The Seeds of Hope website prominently features this quote by the author Robert Louis Stevenson: “Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” By that measure, Deborah Mazura stands very tall indeed.
A graduate of the PMHS Class of 1979, James Molloy was a heroic officer of the New York City Police Department who was among the first responders to the tragic terrorist attack that killed more than 2,600 people at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Molloy was driving through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel that morning on his way
A graduate of the PMHS Class of 1979, James Molloy was a heroic officer of the New York City Police Department who was among the first responders to the tragic terrorist attack that killed more than 2,600 people at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Molloy was driving through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel that morning on his way to work as a Deputy Inspector when the two hijacked airplanes struck the twin towers. He went immediately to the disaster site and engaged in the relentless rescue and evacuation efforts — both before and after the collapse of the buildings — which resulted in the saving of many thousands of additional lives that day. Molloy remained at “Ground Zero,” working on “the pile” for many long months afterward. More than a dozen years later, as he was preparing to retire from his 35 years of highly decorated and distinguished service as an NYPD officer, Molloy learned that he had developed brain cancer. The rapidly spreading tumor was a direct result of his long exposure to the terribly toxic environment at Ground Zero.
Deputy Chief James Molloy died on January 30, 2017 at the age of 55, leaving his wife Mary, a retired NYPD officer, and daughters Alexa and Christina. Jim Malloy had always dreamed of being a police officer while growing up in Patchogue, where he especially enjoyed tinkering with classic cars, clamming and water skiing on the bay with his friends in the summers. He joined the NYPD in 1982 and rose through the ranks while earning advanced degrees from Marist College and the FBI Academy. After 9/11 he served in several NYPD precincts, the Organized Crime Control Narcotics Division, as well as in several Detective and Special Operations units. His proudest achievement was in becoming Deputy Chief of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit, about which it has often been said: “When people need help they call the cops. When cops need help, they call the ESU.”
There could have been no more appropriate posting for Jim Malloy. According to his friend, Joseph Murphy, Molloy often said he had no regrets about spending all that time working at Ground Zero. “Even though it cut short his life,” Murphy writes, “he was proud to have been there. It was Jim’s duty to help others — even at his own peril.”
The Music Man may be one of America’s best-known Broadway and Hollywood fictional classics. But within the Patchogue-Medford community, spanning nearly three-quarters of a century, The Music Man was very real, in the person of the revered and very much beloved Eugene Romeo. Many generations of Pat-Med students benefited directly or indire
The Music Man may be one of America’s best-known Broadway and Hollywood fictional classics. But within the Patchogue-Medford community, spanning nearly three-quarters of a century, The Music Man was very real, in the person of the revered and very much beloved Eugene Romeo. Many generations of Pat-Med students benefited directly or indirectly from Mr. Romeo’s prolifically generous inspiration in ways musical, spiritual, and educational. Born in Patchogue in 1914, Gene was perhaps the community’s first superstar, a vocalist and violinist whose talents were nurtured in the P-M schools and nationally recognized. Before his high school graduation in 1932, he was selected to perform in the first violin section of the National High School Orchestra in Cleveland. As a gifted tenor, he was awarded a voice scholarship by the internationally renowned teacher Isidore Luckstone, and he became a featured performer as both a singer and violinist in Boston University’s glee clubs and orchestras. In 1939 he returned to Patchogue to take a job as music director at Medford Avenue Elementary as the first Italian-American teacher to be hired by the P-M district. His tenure was interrupted by his service in the U.S. Army Air Force from 1942-46, after which he resumed teaching, this time at Bay Avenue School. In 1953, Mr. Romeo was named music supervisor for the entire district, a position he held until his retirement in 1979. During these years of growth, his commitment to expand the district’s music program was unyielding. He hired a steady string of superb teachers, expanded musical repertoires, bought new instruments, and most important, made it a practice to visit with students from kindergartners through high schoolers to promote and inspire in them an appreciation for and love of music.
As if his fame and following for the wonderful work he did in the schools was not enough, Mr. Romeo won even wider acclaim for the spectacular popularity of the North Patchogue Fire Department Marching Band, which he founded in 1947 and led for more than three decades, and was consistently ranked among the finest such units in New York State. Hardly anyone who ever attended Patchogue’s annual Fourth of July parade from the 1950s through the ’70s will ever forget the sight and ground-shaking blare of the oncoming band, powered by its front line of booming trombones. There may not have been 76 of them, but they were most certainly led by Patchogue’s very own Music Man. Mr. Romeo passed away in 1998.
A member of the Class of 1962, Harold “Bud” Rooney was one of the greatest all-around athletes to ever come out of Patchogue-Medford High School. The proverbial “triple threat” athlete, Rooney earned all-league and all-county honors in not one, but three sports — as Patchogue’s versatile varsity football quarterback, record-setting baske
A member of the Class of 1962, Harold “Bud” Rooney was one of the greatest all-around athletes to ever come out of Patchogue-Medford High School. The proverbial “triple threat” athlete, Rooney earned all-league and all-county honors in not one, but three sports — as Patchogue’s versatile varsity football quarterback, record-setting basketball forward, and hard-hitting baseball shortstop and pitcher. He went on to become a football star for the nationally renowned Syracuse University Orangemen from 1963-66. Playing alongside future NFL stars Floyd Little, Jim Nance, Larry Csonka, and future Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin, Rooney gained fame as a feared defensive back in the ferocious unit nicknamed “the Spiders.” As captain of the unit, Rooney was known as “The Black Widow.” He kept up his year-round athletic excellence at Syracuse, also playing basketball and baseball. His dream of playing professional football after college was cut short when he suffered a leg injury sustained while working as a member of the New York Jets development squad. But in at least one respect Rooney was able to follow in the footsteps of a certain contemporary who did make it big with the Jets. Like superstar quarterback Joe Namath, Rooney’s movie-star good looks and appealing personality earned him opportunities to begin a very promising career as a model and actor. He had small roles in the movies “Love Story” and “The Owl and the Pussycat.” To help pay the rent for his Greenwich Village apartment, he also began working as a freelance photographer.
Then very suddenly and all too soon, what had seemed nothing less than a charmed life took a tragic turn. On May 17, 1973 Rooney suffered an epileptic seizure from which he was unable to recover. He was just 28 years old. A wake service at Patchogue’s Ruland Funeral Home brought together hundreds of shocked and saddened family members and friends, including Namath and several other sports celebrities. Jets and Steelers’ defensive back (and future broadcaster) John Dockery delivered a eulogy. Former Patchogue-Medford football coach Joe Agostinello called Rooney “the best athlete I ever coached. To me, Patchogue and Buddy Rooney have always been one, in that he represented Patchogue wherever he went — in high school, college, and all through his adult life.” Don Campbell, the longtime P-M basketball coach said of Rooney: “A kid like that comes along once in a lifetime.” The Patchogue-Medford community was lucky to have had Harold “Bud” Rooney.
A member of the Patchogue-Medford High School Class of 1974, Howard Rowland is a highly successful businessman who, for nearly four decades, has given back to the community nearly without limits, devoting his time, resources and passions to dozens of worthy charities and organizations throughout Long Island and the New York metropolitan
A member of the Patchogue-Medford High School Class of 1974, Howard Rowland is a highly successful businessman who, for nearly four decades, has given back to the community nearly without limits, devoting his time, resources and passions to dozens of worthy charities and organizations throughout Long Island and the New York metropolitan area. Even when he was growing up in Patchogue, Rowland knew where his career was headed: he would be a builder. With a degree in architecture from Farmingdale State College, he entered the construction business and in 1983 he began working for the prestigious 100-year old EW Howell Construction Company. Rowland moved quickly up the corporate ladder, and by 1997 he had ascended all the way to the office of President and CEO, which he still occupies today. The company is famous for having built some of Long Island’s great mansions for the likes of E.F. Hutton and Charles Lindbergh, manufacturing plants for Grumman Aerospace, and medical and research facilities for Stony Brook University Hospital and Brookhaven National Laboratory. Throughout his career, giving back to the community has been a major motivator for Rowland, and so he made it a priority for EW Howell. Here are but a few charitable projects the company has supported: Child Advocacy Center at the Pat and Mary Bagnato Place for Kids, an establishment dedicated to the care of child victims of physical and sexual abuse; the Grace Peshkur house, a 3,000-suqare-foot handicap-accessible home built in 2006 for a young Holtzville girl diagnosed with Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa; Benefit for a Friend, a non-profit organization formed in 2003 which helps needy families of construction workers. In addition, Rowland has served on the boards of several charitable and not-for-profit organizations including Mercy Center Ministries and United Cerebral Palsy of Suffolk County. In 2011, under Rowland’s leadership and guidance, EW Howell was one of five firms in the U.S. to receive the Association of General Contractors (AGC) Community Award. Among the honors that have been bestowed on Rowland: Mercy Center Ministries Man of the Year (2015), AGC of America Community Award, Farmingdale College Foundation honoree, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation honoree (2013), Ward Melville Heritage Organization Award (2016), New York Botanical Garden 125th Anniversary honoree and Founders Award, Good Samaritan Hospital Ball honoree (2016), Suffolk County College Foundation honoree, Stony Brook Hospital Foundation honoree, Bayport-Blue Point School District SEED Foundation founding board member. Added to those are the many honors Rowland and EW Howell have received for their many superb building projects over the years. Howard and his wife, Patti, have lived in Blue Point since 1981. Their three daughters, Erinn, Megan and Kayla all live within the metropolitan area.
As a beloved teacher at Medford Elementary School for 36 years, as a long-time trustee of the Patchogue-Medford Library, as co-president of the Hadassah Chapter at Patchogue’s Temple Beth El, as a scout leader, friend, neighbor, advisor and role model, Eleanor “Ele” Ryder has positively impacted and influenced the lives of countless Patc
As a beloved teacher at Medford Elementary School for 36 years, as a long-time trustee of the Patchogue-Medford Library, as co-president of the Hadassah Chapter at Patchogue’s Temple Beth El, as a scout leader, friend, neighbor, advisor and role model, Eleanor “Ele” Ryder has positively impacted and influenced the lives of countless Patchogue-Medford community members over the course of several generations. In so doing, she has more than lived up to the high hopes and dreams her parents might have had for her when, upon her birth in Auckland, New Zealand in 1946, they chose to name her after one of the world’s most admired women: Eleanor Roosevelt. Luckily for us, Ele and her parents soon moved to New York. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz in 1966, did graduate work at Hofstra, and in 1968 began as a young teacher at Medford Elementary. In addition to her years of leadership and guidance at Medford, she has co-authored the Long Island Fourth Grade Social Studies Curriculum and published many articles on education. She was selected to work with McGraw-Hill on the English Language Assessment Test and has been a member of the New York State Education Department School Quality Review Team. She has received “Teacher of the Year” awards from Patchogue-Medford, Suffolk County, and Dowling College, as well as “Woman of the Year” awards from Brookhaven Town and the Hadassah Organization.
Some of the best testimony about Ele’s generosity and spirit comes from people who were 9-year-old fourth-graders when they first met her — many of whom are still her friends 25 or 30 years later. One such is Nora Alfaro of Medford, who writes: “Being a first-generation Salvadoran-American was very difficult as a child. My parents hardly spoke any English. I had to go to school, learn and do my homework by myself. I did not have the educational support at home that I desired. Mrs. Ryder welcomed me to her classroom. I remember her as being smart, sweet, nice, kind, loving, respectful and polite. She made me feel like I fit right in and I felt comfortable in her classroom. She did things that no other teacher ever did for me. She went over and beyond. One day to my surprise Mrs. Ryder and Mr. Ryder went to visit me and my family at our apartment, brought pizza, soda and dessert. Honestly, I remember as a child being a bit embarrassed because I felt that someone important was visiting us at home. But to my surprise, I discovered that she was the most humble human being that you can ever meet. That’s why I admire her so much. I truly believe that Mrs. Ryder is the most beautiful, kind, generous, loving and strongest person I have ever met. One important lesson she taught me is to never judge anyone, to accept everyone, and to love equally. I look up to her so much and in so many different ways. Mrs. Ryder is truly the best, most generous woman I've known in this world.”
Kathleen Williams was a top student in Patchogue High School’s Class of 1967 who, after blazing a path of enormous achievement in the business world, took an abrupt and selfless turn to provide years of dedicated service to the entire world. Kathleen achieved great success as an expert in employee training and talent development for such
Kathleen Williams was a top student in Patchogue High School’s Class of 1967 who, after blazing a path of enormous achievement in the business world, took an abrupt and selfless turn to provide years of dedicated service to the entire world. Kathleen achieved great success as an expert in employee training and talent development for such international clients as Bankers Trust, Merrill Lynch, Coca-Cola, Target Corporation and many others. But by the time she turned 60, she began to feel disillusioned with many aspects of corporate America, and started looking for a way to serve a greater purpose and value to humanity. “I wanted to take a life’s worth of experience and wisdom and do something that would leave our world a better and safer place to live,” she wrote. So, in January 2012, at the age of 62, she joined the Peace Corps, and she is still at it today. During these last eight years she has learned to speak four new languages and has lived in some of the remotes villages of Thailand, Ukraine and the Southern African nation of Botswana, where she lives and works today.
Kathleen, herself, writes:
“I am often without water and electricity and—yes—internet service, because I have committed to fully integrate into my assigned communities by experiencing life at the same level as my villagers. I spent two years in a small town in northern Thailand helping the community prepare for the adoption of the ASEAN economic community. Teaching English, professional competencies and American business practices to both youth and adults, my work helped create a stronger and more competitive work force. During a third year in Thailand I was invited to serve on the staff of Khon Kaen University’s College of Local Administration where I taught leadership skills to newly elected town mayors and local government leaders. Next, I was posted to a remote village in western Ukraine where people were still struggling to move beyond former Soviet values and corruption to build a democratic government. There I taught one hundred young people about ethical leadership, preparing them to take their country in a new direction. After Ukraine, I chose to take on the terribly challenging HIV/Aids epidemic in Botswana. In our small village, 82% of the residents are under the age of 35 and 50% are under 20. Much of the rest of the population has died of AIDS, leaving children without parents and the community without a work force. I live and work with 600 children in the village’s primary school, teaching basic life skills and HIV prevention. I also work to ensure that students live with adults and not alone, and that there is food and water available for them at home. Our school has a 100% attendance rate, as for many of the students, the school provides the only parental guidance they will ever receive, and hot meals every day. I live in a small house with frequent electrical outages and water shortages. I need to travel two hours on a rickety bus to reach a supermarket. But we are making progress and I often find myself in tears for the small joys of being able to give a six-year old an apple or a glass of water on his way home from school, or of making eye contact with a 10-year-old who knows I will not hit her. Serving in the Peace Corps has been hard and challenging. It is easy to want to give up. But Peace Corps service is more than helping people at the most local level of a country. It is about building relationships with people whose only understanding of America comes through YouTube videos and local news. Over the past seven years, I have built friendships with more than 20,000 people who have gained a much better appreciation of the kindness, compassion, and love of the American people. Let this be my legacy.”
The 1982 Boys’ Varsity Track Team was perhaps the greatest assemblage of athletic talent and accomplishment in the history of Patchogue-Medford High School. After going undefeated though its entire season of dual meets, the team went on to win the championships of its league, conference, and all of Suffolk County, finally finishing as the top-scoring team in the New York State Championship Meet. In addition, the team also finished first in two very prestigious regional competitions, the Eastern States Meet and the Loucks Meet, which collectively included all the top teams from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. Many veteran track and field experts considered the 1982 Pat-Med team to be one of the best, if not the best, in the history of New York State track and field competition. Two Pat-Med athletes prevailed at virtually every level of competition: Dean McFarlane became the State champion in both the 110-meter and 400-meter Hurdles, and Ed Ellis (a 2017 Patchogue-Medford Hall of Fame inductee) won the Shot Put and finished second in Discus. Other top performers throughout the season were Anthony Smith (Long Jump), Andre Taylor (Sprints), Ray Sullivan (3200 Meters), Mike Allmer (Pole Vault), Gary Waters (Pole Vault), and Eric Stevenson (Triple Jump). At the State Championship Meet, McFarlane, Ellis, Smith and Taylor teamed up to win the 4x100-meter Relay. The spectacular team was coached by Ed Cinelli, Tom Julian and Steve Lewis.