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Love Story: Third time was the charm for couple who live in Bay Shore

Florence and Bill Beitch celebrated Florence's 80th birthday

Florence and Bill Beitch celebrated Florence's 80th birthday in 2016 at FatFish in Bay Shore. Credit: Beitch Family

Florence Beitch of Bay Shore recalls meeting her husband, Bill.

In 1954 I was with a date in Manhattan when I ran into my aunt’s niece and her date, Burt. We chatted, parted ways and later that night saw one another again in a different part of town. It was weird, Manhattan is a big place and the chance of seeing one another again was slim. We all got along so well that we decided to double date, and we met the following week. That evening, when my date was out of earshot, Burt asked me if I wanted to meet his brother, Bill. I said yes, and Bill said, "I’ll have him call you."

The next week Bill did just that. I suggested we go to a club in Queens that celebrated New Year’s Eve every Saturday. Because the club was loud and Bill spoke quietly, I didn’t hear half the things he said. I felt we didn’t really hit it off, so I said I was busy when Bill called the next week to go out again. The following week he called again, but I was going out of town. When he asked me out a third time, I said yes.

A month later we were going steady. My mother, who was thrilled, asked, "What’s Bill’s last name?" I was floored because I only knew his first name. So I called him, and instead of asking directly, I said, "How do you spell your last name?" (I thought, "I hope it’s not Smith or Jones because I’ll look like a fool.") Luckily he said B-e-i-t-c-h, Beitch.

We were engaged about six months after our first date and married that year on Nov. 12, 1955. The next year we moved from Rego Park to Bay Shore though the area was not very developed 67 years ago. In 1957 we started our family, eventually having three children, Debra, Lisa and Charles.

Bill worked hard supporting our family and making a beautiful home for us. For years he was a design engineer at Grumman; in 1971 we opened Suffolk Printing. At first Bill worked mornings at our store then went to work at Grumman in the afternoon. I ran the store from 9 to 5. We were equal partners in business and in raising our family. Since there were not many women in the workforce at the time, and little in the way of after-care programs, life was a constant juggling act.

Charles became our partner at Suffolk Printing in the 1990s and in 2020 took over operations. Being semiretired allows Bill and me to maintain an advisory role while affording us long-overdue relaxation.

As busy as we were when our children were young, we believed in giving back to the community. I received the Mother of the Year Award from Congregation Beth Sholom in Babylon. Bill was the president of the Bay Shore Rotary Club from 1988-1989 and received its Paul Harris Fellow Award. He was also involved in Bay Shore’s Chamber of Commerce and was a founding member of the Business Improvement District. He received the chamber’s Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award in 2002 and the Town of Islip Small Business Award in 2013.

In 2021 we celebrated 50 years in business and our 66th wedding anniversary; we have so much to be grateful for. We have three great children, a wonderful daughter-in-law and son-in-law, five wonderful grandsons, and a life well-lived. It’s the simple things, the everyday thoughtfulness and consideration shown by my husband, that gives me pause and makes me smile; like when Bill makes me breakfast — he makes the best eggs.

— With Caroline Curtin

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