Louise Preston Raynor died at Westhampton Care Center on October 10, 2017. Her grand-nephew, Peter, was with her when she died and she had been visited all day by a constant stream of staff and friends at the center. She was 97.
Ms. Raynor was born February 26, 1920, to Louisa and Fletcher Raynor of Westhampton. She was one of eight children; she was predeceased by her twin sister, Elsie, and sister Beatrice, as well as four brothers, Clifford, Everett, Sidney and Louis. She is survived by her brother, Marvin, of Beavercreek, Ohio, and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, and great-grand-nieces and great-grand-nephews.
Ms. Raynor grew up on South Road in Westhampton with her many siblings where they basically lived on Moriches Bay, swimming, fishing, clamming and sailing. She loved the bay, the beach, birds and animals of all kinds, and conveyed that love throughout her life to those around her, survivors said. In the summers, her family lived at the Westhampton Yacht Club in Remsenburg, which was run by her parents. During those years, she and her brother, Marvin, taught many children to sail. The club was destroyed by the Hurricane of 1938; the storm also destroyed her father’s boathouse and boat on Beaver Dam Creek.
After graduating second in her class from Westhampton Beach High School, she worked Moriches Bay, and may have been the first woman to obtain a commercial fishing license. During the war years, she was required to have a special government permit in order to operate a boat more than 16 feet long. She continued working the bay into the early 1950s. During this time, she was an avid photographer of people and nature, and developed her own photographs, some of which appeared in Meredith Murry’s “The Magic Boat.”
After a dangerous incident on the bay, her mother prevailed upon her to find a safer means of making a living, and she went to work painting houses for Ken Raynor. One of the funniest stories she told about those years involved painting the inside of a house in Remsenburg. She had painted all the rooms, except the bedroom, and returned the next morning to finish. The lady of the house was not ready to get up yet and told Louise to set up her ladders and a catwalk across the bed and cover her with a tarp in order to finish the ceiling.
After her parents died, she built a small house on a parcel adjoining the family home on South Road. During her retirement, she was very active in the Seatuck Seniors, and bowled in a league in Westhampton Beach. She was a skilled illustrator, creating original birthday and Christmas cards for friends and family, and she was something of a poet as well, survivors said. An avid and skilled poker player, she enjoyed the game all her life. She was active in the Beach Methodist Church and drove for Meals on Wheels, well into her 80s.
Her last six years were spent at the Westhampton Care Center, where she was affectionately known to all by her nickname, “Weez.” She made friends with fellow residents and much of the staff. She took life as it came and made the most of it. Two weeks before she died, she participated in the Senior Olympics in Patchogue with residents from 13 other facilities across Long Island; she won four medals.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Werner-Rothwell Funeral Home. A graveside service is being planned for the spring.