Florence A. Lakeman

Dec. 23, 1928 - April 29, 2017
Florence A. Lakeman, Dec. 23, 1928 - April 29, 2017

Florence Ann Lakeman, a familiar presence in Montauk for nearly 50 years, died on April 29 at Southampton Hospital. She was 88 and had been in failing health for about two years, her family said.

At one time or another, Mrs. Lakeman would have spoken to nearly every Montauk resident, first in her work as a secretary at the hamlet’s medical center, later on greeting innumerable visitors in the Montauk Lighthouse gift shop.

John Lakeman described his mother as someone who enjoyed talking to others. At the gift shop, he said, she became something of a Montauk historian, fielding questions about the place from people who stopped by.

She was born in Queens on Dec. 23, 1928, to Anthony Rade and the former Genevieve Waczkovki, and grew up there. She married Thomas Lakeman on Jan. 15, 1949, and they raised their two sons in Maspeth. Mrs. Lakeman worked at National Cash Register in Manhattan before moving east.

The family were frequent visitors to Montauk, where her father had built a house and an uncle and his wife ran a party boat fishing business. In 1968, the Lakemans moved year round to a house on Greenwich Street, where she remained to the end of her life. Mr. Lakeman died on April 5, 2015.

An early job on the South Fork was at the First National Bank branch on Pantigo Road in East Hampton, where Mrs. Lakeman was witness to an armed robbery in which four men with shotguns made off with a sum of money.

She was an animal lover of the highest order, her son said, taking in stray cats, feeding feral ones, and nearly always having a dog — German shepherds, for the most part, which she enjoyed taking for walks on the Montauk beaches. She contributed regularly to the World Wildlife Fund, the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, Amaryllis Farm Rescue, and just about any animal charity organization whose pitch she received in the mail.

Both her sons survive. John Lakeman lives in East Hampton, Thomas Lakeman in Peoria, Ariz. She also leaves a sister, Jenny Lenz of Montauk; six grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.

Mrs. Lakeman was cremated. Her ashes will be buried at Calverton National Cemetery next to her husband’s, a United States Navy veteran, in a ceremony today at 2 p.m.