Community Mourns School Nurse, Historian

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Dorothy Kurz Magnani, who left a lasting influence on Manorville through her civic involvement and historic preservation efforts, as well as her 33 years as a school nurse in the former Eastport School District, died on December 17 at the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead following a fall. She was 92.

Friends and family members said she took great pride in her community and managed to raise her three children while working full-time as a nurse and making time for community service and church.

“She was really something,” her daughter, Linda Larmett, said on Sunday. “She was one of the great community stalwarts.”

Mrs. Magnani, whose own family settled in Manorville in the late 1800s, was a founding member of the Manorville Historical Society and served as president for eight years, publishing several manuscripts. In 2007, after years spent compiling old documents and photos and with the help of Sandy Rafuse, she wrote and published “The History of Manorville,” one of her proudest accomplishments, Ms. Larmett said.

The book is buried with her mother at the Brookfield Cemetery in Manorville, she added.

“Anybody who had a question about Manorville would call my mother,” Ms. Larmett explained.

She described her mother as a tall, beautiful woman with thick brunette hair that kept its luster even after it changed to a silver sheen. “She really was quite a striking woman,” she said.

Born in Manorville in 1921 to Philip Kurz and Florence Nienstedt, Mrs. Magnani graduated from the Southampton College School of Nursing as a registered nurse and later earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Adelphi University and a master’s degree from Stony Brook University. She also received her New York State certification as a school nurse and health teacher.

She was employed as the assistant night supervisor of Southampton Hospital and also worked as a nurse in Brookhaven National Laboratory’s research hospital. She then spent the last 33 years of her career as a school nurse in the Eastport School District, which at the time housed kindergarten through 12th grade in one building. The building is now the Eastport Elementary School and part of the Eastport South Manor School District.

Sharon Murray, the district clerk for the school district, said Mrs. Magnani served as the school nurse from the time she entered kindergarten to her 12th-grade graduation, and the two remained friendly until Mrs. Magnani’s death.

“She took care of us,” Ms. Murray said, explaining that Mrs. Magnani knew all the children in the building by name and remembered them years after they left the school. “She was a great lady who touched a lot of people.”

Ms. Murray added that despite her sweet disposition, Mrs. Magnani knew when the children were feigning illness to get out of class. “But she was warm and very caring,” she said.

Mrs. Magnani also served as a member of the New York State Retired Teachers’ Association and was a past president of the East End Retired Teachers’ Association, formerly serving as chairperson of the local group’s Memorial Scholarship Fund.

She was also a lifelong member of the Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in Manorville, where she taught religious education for 26 years. She served as a member of the Parish Council and worked on various committees. She also served as a Eucharistic minister since 1982.

Ms. Larmett explained that her mother chose her battles, but stood fast for what she believed in. That meant fighting for the preservation of the oldest structures in Manorville, including the centuries-old church that now houses the Manorville Community Church.

“They just don’t make them like her anymore,” her grandson, Brion Magnani said.

Mrs. Magnani’s was predeceased by her husband, Frank L. Magnani; a son, Kevin Magnani; and her siblings, Philip Kurz, Marie Johnson, Arlene Jamer and Henry Kurz.

She is survived by three children, Kenneth Magnani and his wife, Nora Magnani, of Pennsylvania; Linda Larmett and her husband, Jim Larmett, of Manhattan; and Jeanne Moore and her husband, John Moore, of Pennsylvania. She also leaves behind four grandchildren, Brion and Marc Magnani and John and Michael Moore, as well as two great-grandchildren, Abigail and Ethan Moore.

Visitation was held at Sinnickson’s Funeral Home in Center Moriches last Thursday, December 19. A Mass was celebrated at the Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church at 10 a.m. on Friday and burial followed at the Brookfield Cemetery in Manorville.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations in Mrs. Magnani’s name be made to the Manorville Community Church, 505 Eastport-Manor Road, Manorville, NY, 11949.

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