John Kominicki, publisher of the Long Island Press, died Tuesday night after a brief battle with cancer, the Press announced Wednesday. He was 62.
Kominicki, a Stony Brook resident, joined the Long Island Press in the summer. He previously spent 15 years as publisher and editor of the weekly Long Island Business News, though his time in journalism goes back decades.
“He was a very brilliant man,” said Victoria Schneps-Yunis, president and co-publisher of Schneps Communications, which acquired the Press in April.
Schneps-Yunis said that when her company was gearing up to purchase the Press and relaunch its print edition, she “pursued him aggressively” to head the publication because of the “quality of the man” and the “quality of the work he did.”
“He was a generous person in sharing his knowledge,” Schneps-Yunis said. “He was an honest person. He would tell it straight.”
Kominicki, one of five children, grew up in Keene, New Hampshire. He served in the U.S. Army, including time in Europe, and later worked at the European edition of Stars and Stripes.
“He was a true Renaissance man,” said Kominicki’s wife of nearly 33 years, Marie. In addition to his gifts as a writer and editor, Kominicki was an outstanding chef with a love of Ukranian food, and a showman and singer who would not easily pass up an opportunity to entertain, she said. “If there was karaoke nearby, he would be right on it.”
Kominicki joined Long Island Business News in 1998 after the Dolan Co., a Minnesota-based owner of business and trade publications in the United States, purchased the weekly.
He was “creative, dynamic and forward-thinking,” said David Reich-Hale, a Newsday business reporter who was the editor of Long Island Business News during part of Kominicki’s tenure as publisher.
Scott Schoen, publisher of Long Island Business News, said, “John was a friend, colleague and mentor at LIBN, and I’m personally devastated.”
Before moving to the Island, Kominicki ran business newspapers in Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas. His career also included work for The New York Times, USA Today and The Dallas Morning News.
After leaving LIBN in 2013, he founded Innovate Long Island, a website focused on the region’s startups and tech industry. The following year, Kominicki was inducted into the Press Club of Long Island’s Journalism Hall of Fame.
“He loomed large on the Long Island business landscape,” said Mark Lesko, vice president for economic development at Hofstra University. “John was first and foremost a business leader. A good friend. A visionary.”
In addition to his wife, Kominicki is survived by his daughter, Anya, his mother, Alma, sisters Stefanie Price of Florida, Michelle McLaughlin of Massachusetts and Jennifer Danly of Maryland, and a brother, Russell Johnson of Pennsylvania.
His family plans a memorial after the holidays.