Ray and Sue Lani of Bayport knew at a young age that they were meant to be together. Ray recalls how they met.
I met my future wife, Sue Marino, in the summer of 1962. A mutual friend introduced us at her friend’s Sweet 16 party. I was there playing guitar and singing with a band. It was my first paid gig. We were both 15. Sue lived in East Rockaway and I lived in Brentwood. I got her phone number and we went out on our first date about a month later.
My dad lived in East Rockaway — my parents divorced when I was 9 — so I was able to see Sue while visiting him on weekends. We’d go bowling, see a movie or attend a Yankees’ game. It wasn’t long before we were going steady.
At 17 we got engaged, and two years later, on April 16, 1966, we were married at St. Raymond’s Church in East Rockaway, followed by a reception at The Luna in Elmont. We then drove to Niagara Falls in my 1959 Buick for our honeymoon.
We lived in Brentwood before buying a mother-daughter-style home in Holbrook with my mom and stepdad.
Every summer we would take our three wonderful children to the Villa Roma Resort in Callicoon, New York.
I was working as a dental technician. In 1978 my business partner and I opened a dental laboratory in Holbrook and, in 1985, we purchased L&L Labs in Medford. As the children got older, Sue worked with me as the lab’s office manager.
After we sold the business in 1995, she went to work for Nature’s Bounty in Bohemia as a line operator and retired in 2012. From 1996 to 2013, I was a real estate agent in Sayville.
Throughout our marriage I continued playing in bands as a side job, first at clubs and then with the house band, Bits and Pieces, at GiGi’s catering hall in Westbury until 1989. I am now a published songwriter and recording artist. For the past 15 years, I have been performing for local nursing homes.
Sue and I celebrated our 50th anniversary with a family dinner and a Yankees’ game. We also took a trip to Alaska with friends.
Sue is the kindest person anyone will ever meet. She is very close to my 90-year-old mom, of which I am so thankful. I’m grateful to have her as my wife. I’m also very proud of my family. We have brought up hardworking, honest and good children. Our family now includes one granddaughter, three step-granddaughters and a great-grandson.
— With Virginia Dunleavy