James Macaluso, a longtime Hampton Bays resident, died at home after a long illness on May 23. He was 65.
Mr. Macaluso was well known throughout the East End for his long career as a general contractor. Over the years, he also worked as a bartender in Hampton Bays, Sag Harbor and Westhampton.
Survivors said Mr. Macaluso will also be remembered for his important roles in local theater productions in both Southampton and Mattituck, including “The Diary of Anne Frank,” “The Odd Couple” and “Stalag 17,” among many others. A key part of the Christmas festivities in Hampton Bays was Mr. Macaluso’s appearance as Santa Claus for the annual tree-lighting ceremony and party that followed, delighting local children at the firehouse holiday celebration.
The culinary arts were Mr. Macaluso’s passion and avocation in his spare time, in part because of his early years in the restaurant business. It was his pleasure to work tirelessly for hours to create original recipes for elegant, gourmet dinner parties for large groups of friends and family, because he believed that life is about bringing happiness and laughter to others, survivors said. When he was not in the kitchen, he could be found on the bays fishing during the summer or deer hunting in the fall.
He was affectionately known wherever he went in town as “Jimmy Mac.”
Mr. Macaluso is survived by his wife of 30 years, Dorothy; two sisters, Margaret and Jean Macaluso, of Florida; a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Alana and Daniel Staudle; and two nephews, Ryan and Connor Staudle.
Visitation was at the R.J. O’Shea Funeral Home in Hampton Bays on May 27, followed by a funeral Mass at the Church of St. Rosalie on May 28.
Memorial donations may be made to the Myositis Foundation at www.myositis.org or to the Dominican Sisters Family Health Service, P.O. Box 1028, Hampton Bays, NY 11946.