Walter F. Goehring, the former owner of Fred's Diner in Huntington who in his younger days was known as an excellent short-order cook at the family-style establishment, has died. He was 80.
Despite juggling an onslaught of requests from packs of customers and overzealous waitresses, family members said Goehring hardly ever got an order wrong.
"People used to sit in awe. He was amazing. His memory was impeccable," daughter Colleen Goehring, 48, said Sunday, noting her father's knack for multitasking.
Goehring died July 29 at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson of lung cancer.
Goehring's parents founded the German restaurant in the early 1950s, when it quickly became well liked for its signature sauerbraten, family members said.
Through the years, Walter Goehring, of Port Jefferson, worked there, usually standing behind the counter as a short-order cook. He bought the diner from his parents.
A father of four daughters, he spent more than 40 years at Fred's before selling it a few years ago.
Before joining the family business, Walter Goehring was a U.S. naval airplane mechanic specializing in fixing propellers. He served from 1952 to 1956, family members said, and was stationed in Pensacola, Florida.
"I miss him," said wife Mary Goehring, 77, of Port Jefferson. They were married for 57 years.
After the military, Walter Goehring decided to help his father with the business, often working 14-hour days while raising a family.
At night while asleep, his daughters playfully placed food orders to him, which he unknowingly repeated, relatives said. "He was programmed," Colleen Goehring of Port Jefferson said.
Joking aside, the long work days came at a price, as some relatives found it hard, periodically, to connect with him, family members said.
Goehring tried to make up for lost time on Mondays and impromptu summer trips with his family.
Goehring's funeral was Aug. 1 at O.B. Davis Funeral Home in Port Jefferson. He was interred at a mausoleum at Washington Park in Coram.
He also is survived by daughters Deborah Lamson, 57, of Port Jefferson, Mary Argimon, 54, of Santa Monica, California, and Christina Resnikoff, 45, of Sound Beach; and four grandchildren.