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Betty Bockmann dies; original Levittown homeowner was 95

Betty Jane Bockmann, a longtime Wantagh resident, also

Betty Jane Bockmann, a longtime Wantagh resident, also worked in personnel in the aviation industry. Credit: Barbara Ippolito

Betty Jane Bockmann, who with her husband and daughter was among the 300 families to be part of the foundation of Levittown, has died.

Bockmann died at the Fulton Commons Care Center in East Meadow on June 3, said her only child, Barbara Ippolito of Wantagh. She was 95.

“She always had a smile on her face,” said Ippolito, 74. “I have a lot of friends that didn’t get along with their parents, but I’m very blessed, really. She was a real good-hearted lady.”

Born Betty Jane Pahl on July 27, 1922, in Cleveland, Bockmann graduated from Patterson Co-Op High School in Dayton, Ohio. She began working as a secretary at the nearby Wright-Patterson Air Force Base during World War II.

There, she met Capt. Wilbur H. Bockmann, a chief flight test pilot and engineer for the Air Force. The pair married on April 17, 1943. Ippolito was born a year later.

In October 1947, the Bockmanns moved to Levittown, the planned community built by Levitt & Sons seen as the prototypical American suburb. With priority given to military veterans and their families, the Bockmanns were among the first 300 families to be sold a home there.

Ippolito said her parents considered the Levittown home pleasant but “on the small side,” so they left for Wantagh in 1952, settling in a Cape Cod-style home where Ippolito lives today.

Four years later, Betty Bockmann returned to work, in the personnel office at Republic Aviation Corp. in Farmingdale, Ippolito said. She ultimately worked as a personnel manager at Litton Industries in Farmingdale, which was later bought by Northrop Grumman Corp. She retired in 1982.

She was active in her community in retirement, becoming a dedicated member of the Parkway Community Church in Hicksville and serving a largely female crowd as director of the Seaford Senior Life Enrichment Group from 1986 to 2000, according to Ippolito.

“She did everything so nicely, she really did. And I guess that’s why the ladies enjoyed the group so much and always had such nice things to say about her,” Ippolito said. “When she felt she couldn’t continue with that, either she or I would hear words about how much they missed her and missed the type of meetings she planned.”

Wilbur Bockmann died in 1995, after nearly 52 years of marriage. Betty Bockmann’s survivors also include son-in-law Anthony Ippolito and sister Ruth Smith.

A family service was held at the Charles G. Schmitt Funeral Home in Seaford. Burial was in Greenfield Cemetery in Uniondale, next to Wilbur.

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