Vincent P. Ferrara, who lived for many years in the summer house on Napeague built by his father in the 1950s, died on Feb. 2 at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown. His wife, Linda Ferrara, said he was diagnosed with gastric cancer about eight months ago. He was 65.
At the time of his diagnosis the couple were renting a house in Springs, having sold the family house, where they had moved full time in 1987. Last May they moved to Manorville to live with their daughter Laura Ferrara and her fiance.
Mr. Ferrara grew to love fishing as a child during weekends and summers here, and shared his passion with his sons, Vincent and John. “Big Vinny,” as the family called him, had a favorite spot, the Canyons. He fished off his own boat and also used to mate for his friend John Fiore’s, the Double Header.
He joined many shark tournaments, coming close to winning once aboard the Double Header when they reeled in a 550-pound thresher. They were unable to boat the fish, however, and had to tow it instead, which made them late for the weigh-in and ineligible for the win.
Mr. Ferrara was born in Queens on June 26, 1948, to John Ferrara and the former Jessie Capocciamo. His father and uncles built four fishing shacks on the beach off Shore Drive East in the early ’50s, and they are still there today, although only one, said his wife, remains in the family.
The Ferraras met in the summer of 1965 when her parents drove their mobile home to Napeague. They spent time together in his 19-foot aluminum boat fishing for porgies on Gardiner’s Bay and were married less than a year later, on March 5, 1966, in Astoria, Queens.
Mr. Ferrara worked for more than 20 years as an art director at Van Nostrand-Reinhold Publishing, designing book jackets. “He was a very gifted artist,” his wife said. After the company was sold, he went into the contracting business in East Hampton. For the past eight years, he was the groundskeeper and caretaker of the Ladies Village Improvement Society headquarters on Main Street in East Hampton.
“He was a really great cook,” said his wife. “He was passionate about food and always made sure there was enough. Often, there was too much.” She fondly remembered his eggplant parmigiana.
In addition to his wife, daughter Laura, and sons, Vincent Ferrara Jr. of Smithtown and John Ferrara of Manorville, he leaves another daughter, Alisa Vinasco of Smithtown, and five grandchildren. A sister, Palma Pursino, predeceased him.
A service was held at St. James Funeral Home on Feb. 5, and a funeral Mass the next day at the Church of Holy Cross in Nesconset, the Rev. Michael F. Holzmann officiating. Burial was at Mount Saint Mary Cemetery in Flushing.