Some people are larger than life, and Patchogue’s own Peter J. Poulos was one of them.
A 1939 graduate of Patchogue High School, the man known by everyone simply as as Pete dedicated himself to bringing health, happiness and fun to our community from the 1940s all the way through the 1970s, as Superintendent of Recreation for Patchogue Village and then Brookhaven Town. After serving in the Army where he developed his passion and skills for entertainment and showmanship by organizing USO shows for the troops, Pete came home and volunteered with the Brookhaven Police Athletic League to develop youth programs in neglected minority communities such as North Bellport and Gordon Heights.
In 1960 he took on the leadership of Patchogue’s Recreation and Parks Department and
immediately got to work compiling a long list of “firsts.”
He was the first to host a Saturday morning radio show to promote the Village’s many activities. He staged the first Halloween Costume Parade and the first Pet Parade. The 1960 Christmas Parade was the first to guarantee a huge blizzard, with thick clouds of plastic snow swirling down from rooftops while Santa (portrayed by Pete, of course) paraded down Main Street.
Pete produced Patchogue’s annual Fourth of July parade and each edition outshined the
previous year’s. Pete arranged the first fireworks show over the Bay in 1963. His St. Patrick’s Day parade in 1962 was the first in Suffolk County, with Pete himself hand-painting the green line down Main Street the night before.
The list goes on and on: the annual “Aqua Show” at the Patchogue Pool; the youth bowling leagues; the many activities for seniors at the Four Sisters Community Center; the annual Christmas toy repair and donation program; visits by musical groups to entertain hospitalized children and parentless kids at the Little Flower House in Wading River.
Pete Poulos was a household name in and around the Patchogue-Medford community for generations. His constant smile and generous service will be remembered forever.