After I graduated from HHS, I attended Brooklyn
Polytechnic Institute for a year. It
was located in a depressing old building in downtown Brooklyn and I hated the
railroad and subway commute. I
transferred to St. Johns University where I graduated in 1965 with a chemistry
degree. I worked Friday night,
Saturday night and Sunday cooking or dishing up ice cream at Howard Johnsons.
Summers I worked as a stonemason’s laborer and then as a truckers
helper carrying sheetrock into buildings under construction.
I got a job at Grumman Aerospace working with
analytical instrumentation in the Spectroscopy Lab.
I worked on the Lunar Module crew compartment for six years.
This involved setting up a program that tested all non-metallic materials
used in the crew compartment to ensure that they would not give off any harmful
substances under temperature and pressure conditions to be encountered in space.
In June 1966, I married Marcella Lepanto who lived
in Westbury. We met in an economics
class at St. Johns. She was an accounting major and the only reason that we met
was that my advisor never told me that I could take political science instead of
economics. We bought a house in
East Northport just before we were married and lived there until1991.
She worked for both local and big eight CPA firms and then started her
own practice working out of our home. We
both went back to St. Johns where I obtained an MBA in Finance (paid for by
Grumman) and she obtained an MS in Taxation.
In 1971, we drove up to the White Mountains of New
Hampshire over the Columbus Day Weekend to see the fall foliage. While driving to the coast of Maine on our way
home, we stopped at a realtor in Bridgton and ended up buying a piece of
property on Trickey Pond in Naples. Trickey
Pond was a pristine spring fed lake about 2˝ miles long and ˝ mile wide that
drained into Sebago Lake via a small stream.
Marcella had come to Maine several times as a child and had fond memories
of the Sebago Lake Region.
When the space program wound down after the moon
landings, I found myself out of a job. My
aerospace experience was not in demand on Long Island. We did not want to
relocate since Marcella had started her accounting practice. She worked for the
next two summers while I went to Maine and built our vacation home. With the
help of some “book learning”, I did everything myself except the excavation
and foundation. Meanwhile, I worked
in a liquor store and went back to school taking the accounting and business law
courses needed to sit for the CPA Exam. I
passed the CPA exam and formed a partnership with my wife.
I also started teaching accounting, first at Nassau Community College and
then at Brooklyn College where I taught accounting and tax.
I moved on to CW Post School of Professional Accountancy where I taught
for several more years.
We needed to find additional office space, and
after a long search, we bought a rundown Victorian House on Main Street in
Northport Village, gutted it and restored it preserving all the interior
woodwork and charm. We practiced
together in Northport until 1990.
In 1990, Marcella had a heart attack caused by
years of childhood diabetes complications. She had extensive heart
surgery and could no longer work. Her prognosis was for about a two year
life expectancy. She was 45 and I was 47. We decided to enjoy our
remaining time together so we sold our house and our accounting practice the
following year and moved to our house on the lake in Maine. She lived for
14 more years and we had a wonderful retirement together. We traveled
extensively in our motor home with our Saint Bernard, Stanley, visiting forty
nine states and all the Canadian Provinces and Territories. We also visited her
relatives in Sweden and took my mother to visit her relatives in France and
Germany. Last, but not least, we enjoyed the peace of country living watching
the sunrise over our beautiful lake.
Friends always asked me how I could retire at 48
and not be bored out of my mind. Far
from being bored, I found there were not enough hours in the day to do what I
wanted to do. I have kept busy with
volunteer work helping to start and run a food pantry in a neighboring town.
I served on the Board of Trustees of PROP, the Community Action Agency of
Cumberland County, for nine years including two years as Board President.
Although I was termed out, I continue to serve on their Finance
Committee. I have served on many
Naples Town Committees and was chair of the last Comprehensive Plan Committee. Currently,
I am Chair of the Naples Planning Board, serve as president of our homeowners
association, and serve as treasurer and newsletter editor for a local
non- profit environmental organization.
In August of 2007, I married Mary Ann Dacus, whom I
met on e-harmony.com. She was originally from Oklahoma and came to Maine
from Texas to be closer to her daughter in New Hampshire. So I now have a
stepdaughter and a step granddaughter who is currently enrolled at Drew
University in Madison, New Jersey where she plays field hockey and lacrosse.
Mary Ann and I love to travel and have visited Costa Rica, the Caribbean, China,
Tibet, Morocco, Italy and Spain. We
were in Athens to watch the Olympic Torch starting out on the journey from the
Acropolis to Beijing. I spend a lot
of time on the Internet looking for travel deals.
My favorite memory from my high school years was
the Senior Trip overnight ride on the Old Bay Line. We were so lucky that we
were able to take that ride on the historic steamboat, The City of Norfolk.
The Old Bay Line, which had been operating steam packets since 1840, stopped
sailing in October of 1961 for the winter and went out of business in 1962
without starting the season.