Environmentalist, Wave Columnist
Bernard "Bernie" Blum, a longtime Arverne resident, environmentalist and Wave columnist, died September 30. He was 64. Blum was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His family moved to Arverne in 1956, when he was 14 years old. Blum was later the founder and president of Friends of Rockaway, a citizen's group dedicated to the protection of Jamaica Bay. He served on the Jamaica Bay Taskforce, and regularly attended meetings on local environmental issues. Bill Mulcahy, a friend of Blum's and fellow Friends of Rockaway member, called Bernie one of Rockaway's "greatest guardians." "Bernie and I were closer than just fellow environmentalists. He was my close friend. Bernie used to go with me to visit my father in his nursing home and he helped me though his death and funeral," Mulcahy recalled in a letter to The Wave. He added that he is happy that others want "to continue Bernie's work of protecting Jamaica Bay and Rockaway." Jonathan Gaska, the District Manager of Community Board 14, said Blum "really strived to make Rockaway a better place." Blum was never shy about raising his concerns with the community board or any other group or city agency. Gaska said that he "always had a good sense of humor," and "was right more than he was wrong." "He will be missed," Gaska said. Blum was also a dedicated minyan member of Congregation Derech Emunoh of Arverne since 1988, where he also served on the board of directors. "Mr. Blum's active participation helped Derech Emunoh to continue and flourish," said his friend, Joyce M. Ashe. Blum is survived by his brother, Elliott Blum, and two nephews. Interment was at Mount Richmond Hebrew Cemetery.
Entrepreneur, Assistant Wave Editor
Harry McGuirk, a longtime Rockaway resident and former reporter and assistant editor of The Wave, died September 22 at Connolly Hospital in Dublin, Ireland.
McGuirk was once a travel agent, specializing in travel between the United States and Ireland. He also ran The Jaeger House, a New York ballroom, where he introduced a number of now well-known Irish musicians to the U.S. McGuirk was a radio host of "Shamrock Time," dedicated to Irish American interests. He volunteered often for both charity work and fundraising efforts.
McGuirk is preceded in death by his wife, Margie; and brothers and sisters, Cathleen, May, Billy, Lil, Nan and Paddy.
He is survived by many nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Massey Brothers Funeral Home in Dublin, Ireland. A Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. James' Church, Dublin. Interment was at Palmerstown Cemetery, Dublin.
Gerald A. Conicelli
Gerald A. Conicelli, a Roxbury resident, died September 28. He was 64.
Conicelli, an auto mechanic, was born on October 6, 1941 in the Bronx. He was a parishioner of St. Francis de Sales Church.
Conicelli was preceded in death by his parents, Rocco Conicelli and Henrietta White Conicelli.
He is survived by his children, Patricia A. Conicelli, Gerald A. Conicelli Jr., Michael R. Conicelli, Margaret Conicelli and Marykate Conicelli; and grandchildren, Joseph, Michelle, Kevin, Christopher and Kerri.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Kraft-Workman Funeral Homes Inc. in Mountville, Pennsylvania. A Christian prayer service was held on October 2.
Michael J. Cosgrove
Michael J. Cosgrove, a Rockaway resident for 25 years, died September 29. He was 48.
Cosgrove was born on August 17, 1958 in Brooklyn. He attended Nazareth High School and worked for Nynex and then Verizon for the last 26 years. Cosgrove was a member of the Monsignor Burke Council 2672 Rockaway Knights of Columbus.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Patricia Cosgrove (nee Norton).
Cosgrove is survived by his wife, Kelly-Marie Cosgrove (nee Douglass); son, Matthew John Cosgrove; daughter, Beth-Anne Cosgrove; brothers, Shaun, Patrick, Jerry and Jimmy; sister, Kathleen; nephew, Jeremy Berge; and eight nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements and visitation were entrusted to the Denis S. O'Connor Funeral Home. A Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Francis de Sales Church in Belle Harbor.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Won Purple Heart In Vietnam
Joseph DeQuaglio, who was awarded a Purple Heart in Vietnam and was a Rockaway resident for more than 14 years, died last month.
Details of DeQuaglio's passing were scarce because his only living relative is his cousin, Bill, who has not had contact with him for many years.
DeQuaglio was often seen in the Beach 116 Street shopping area walking his small white dog. His dangling empty pants leg and his crutches were a reminder to those who knew him that the Vietnam War had changed his life.
DeQuaglio was an enlisted man and a combat engineer when a rocket grenade fired by a Vietcong sniper took his leg, according to his cousin. Although DeQuaglio was badly wounded, he reportedly led his small squad in a counter attack that saved the lives of those who were with him.
He was active in the Disabled American Veterans and in the Purple Heart Society. He reportedly wrote a book of poetry that was never published.
DeQuaglio is predeceased by his parents, Mary and Romeo DeQualgio.
He is survived only by his cousin, William DeQuaglio.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
John J. McNamara
John J. McNamara, a Rockaway resident for 25 years coming from Massapequa and Brooklyn, died September 30.
McNamara, a firefighter for the FDNY who retired from Engine Company #268 on Beach 116 Street, was born in Brooklyn.
He is survived by his son, Bryan McNamara (Stephanie); sister, Eileen M. Bloniarz; and grandchildren, Eva and Tai.
Funeral arrangements and visitation were entrusted to the Denis S. O'Connor Funeral Home. A Funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Camillus Church. Interment was at St. John's Cemetery in Middle Village.
Mary Adela Walker-Lawson
Mary Adela Walker-Lawson, a longtime Rockaway resident, died September 25. She was 95.
Walker-Lawson, a nurse, was born on July 23, 1911 in Westmoreland, Jamaica, West Indies. She migrated to Panama, where she worked on the Panama Canal until she came to the United States. Walker-Lawson was an active member of the Ocean Village Senior Citizen Center.
She was preceded in death by her husband.
Walker-Lawson is survived by many friends, the Wallace, Robinson and Coles families; the Ocean Village Senior Citizen Center staff and members; and many loved ones.
Visitation, funeral arrangements and a service were entrusted to Jeremiah C. Gaffney's Funeral Home. Interment was at Rosedale Cemetery in Linden, New Jersey.
Lowrece Williams, a longtime Far Rockaway resident, died September 26. She was 84.
Williams, a school aide, was born on February 12, 1922 in Branchville, South Carolina. She was once a member of the First Baptist Church of Brownsville in Brooklyn under the leadership of Bishop A.D. Lyonsa and became active in the Ushers ministry. With no children of her own, Williams became the godmother to her only son, Pastor Gregory K. Stanislaus. She was also considered a visiting member of the St. John Baptist Church family.
Williams was preceded in death by her brothers, Cornelius John and Wallace; and sister, Carnell.
Williams is survived by her niece, Sandra Holman (Jamellah Abdur Rasheed); the Stanislaus family, Eula, Bern Nadette, Gregory and his wife Ruth, Trell, Debbie, Yolanda and her husband Scottie; and many other relatives and friends.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to Jeremiah C. Gaffney's Funeral Home. Visitation and a service were held at First Baptist Church of Brownsville in Brooklyn. Interment was at Canaan Baptist Church in Branchville, South Carolina.