Helene Fugazzi, Lighthouse Keeper

Jan. 28, 1939 - Nov. 27, 2018
Helene Fugazzi, Jan. 28, 1939 - Nov. 27, 2018

Decades before Helene Fugazzi worked at the Montauk Lighthouse — retiring, then returning to the job because she enjoyed her co-workers and visitors so much — Montauk and the beach played a big role in her life. 

She and her husband, the late Harold Fugazzi, were native Brooklynites who met at the beach at Breezy Point in Queens.

“Today when I look at pictures of them and their best friends — we have one of these great 1960s photos of all of them — they looked like the Brat Pack, the way they were all laughing and stuffed into one cabana,” said Mrs. Fugazzi’s daughter, Tina Fugazzi-Wagner. “I always think they all had such style. Back then, they even dressed up to go to the beach.”

Mrs. Fugazzi died of colon cancer on Nov. 27 at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care on Quiogue after two years of ill health. Her husband died on Feb. 21, 2011. 

Mrs. Fugazzi first became acquainted with Montauk as a child with her father, a fisherman. She and her husband rented in Montauk annually, at Shepherd’s Neck Inn and Roosevelt Drive, and bought land on Franklin Drive in 1960, shortly after they were married. Fourteen years passed before they built their house there. They moved to Montauk full time when Mr. Fugazzi retired in 1999.

Mrs. Fugazzi was active in Montauk as a member of the Montauk Historical Society and Montauk Village and Beach Property Owners Associations. 

Early on, her 15-year stint at the Lighthouse included greeting tour buses with a talk about the area and the facility’s history. She led tourists on the trek to the top to see the view. “Later,” Ms. Fugazzi-Wagner said with a laugh, “she told them, ‘I’m done. I can’t keep going up those stairs.’ She loved it so much there. She’ll be missed. She loved being there and loved being a grandmother.”

Mrs. Fugazzi was born on Jan. 28, 1939, in Brooklyn to Joseph DeLauzon and the former Eileen Smyth. She graduated from Catherine McCauley High School in Brooklyn. She and Mr. Fugazzi, who were married on Aug. 20, 1960, changed addresses twice in Queens before settling in East Northport, where they raised three children, who survive. They are Lisa Fugazzi of Northport, Mark Fugazzi of Port Washington, and Ms. Fugazzi-Wagner, who lives in Island Park. Three grandchildren also survive.

A service for Mrs. Fugazzi was held on Dec. 3. She was buried at Calverton National Cemetery. The family has expressed appreciation for the caregivers at the East End Hospice Kanas Center.