Lottie Schaffer of Clearwater Beach in Springs, a local cook and active member of her church as well as the Springs Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, died on Oct. 29 at Southampton Hospital. She was 89.
In 1930, the then-7-year-old Lottie Dublanski emigrated from Poland with her mother, the former Helen Toporowska, and a sister, Eugenia. They passed through Ellis Island on their way to reunite with Peter Dublanski, the girls’ father, who had come from Poland earlier to find work and settle his family.
Living in the Bronx, the family, which now included another daughter, Anna Lucija, known as Lucy, was active in the Polish Club at St. Adalbert’s Catholic Church.
In 1947, she married Victor Schaffer, who died in 1993. They lived in Mamaroneck, N.Y., and had four children. While there, she was a member of St. Vito’s Catholic Church and each Sunday would rouse her three daughters and one son to attend Mass and Sunday school. Her pastimes included bowling and her family said she was a force to be reckoned with at family and neighborhood poker games.
The family moved to Clearwater Beach, and she took a job at Gus’s restaurant, where Michael’s at Maidstone is now. She was a natural as a cook, having learned to make traditional Polish foods, such as pierogi and babka, as a girl. She was friendly and outgoing, her family said, and made lasting friendships quickly in her new community.
In the mid-1970s, she was hired by Eddie Cangiolosi to run the grill at Eddie’s Luncheonette, which was on Newtown Lane in East Hampton Village. It was her true calling, her family said. She knew nearly everyone who came in the door and could tell you who wanted their eggs scrambled or who wanted their hamburgers cooked to a crisp. She loved telling the story of a customer who made the mistake — just once — of complaining about his eggs. He wanted soft-scrambled, which was how she made them. A waitress brought them back saying he found them “too firm.” So she made them again. “Not soft enough,” was the next report from the waitress. This time, Mrs. Schaffer took two eggs, broke them in a bowl, stirred them, and without ever touching them to the griddle, served them herself to the customer. He never complained again, and they would laugh about it for years.
Mrs. Schaffer was always available during blood drives to serve juice, coffee, and sandwiches. Her love of bowling kept her in several leagues; her favorite being the Thursday night women’s league. When a travel league was set up, she was ready to go across the state and to national events. She was also an election inspector for the Suffolk County Board of Elections, and had also been one in Mamaroneck.
In 1978, Mrs. Schaffer became a charter member of the Springs Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, helping to put on pancake breakfasts and known for serving them up as fast as the kitchen could turn them out. She sold raffle tickets in more recent years.
Her family said that one of her proudest moments was when the department outfitted the auxiliary with uniforms. They said marching in it in the annual Memorial Day parades meant a great deal to her. She took part in this year’s parade although in a wheelchair and despite pouring rain.
In later life, Mrs. Schaffer attended the Senior Citizens Center on Springs-Fireplace Road, first reluctantly, then eagerly, to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
She was born on Sept. 29, 1923. Her children, who all live in Springs, are Michele Caputo and Victoria Anderson of Manor Lane, Diane VanSlyke of King’s Point Road, and Alfred Schaffer of Hog Creek Road. A sister, Lucy Gracey of Bohemia, nine grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren survive as well.
A Fire Department service was held at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton on Friday, and a Mass was said at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church the next morning. It was followed by burial at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton.
Her family has suggested donations in her memory to the Springs Fire Department or its Ladies Auxiliary, 179 Fort Pond Boulevard, East Hampton, 11937.