Hard work, determination and a need to help others — those were the values friends and family of Bernard “Barney” Loughlin said he lived by all his life.
Despite being told by some that opening a vineyard in the 1980s during Long Island’s boom period of small farm wineries would backfire, Loughlin set all of his efforts toward making it work.
“My father was very determined,” said his daughter Beth Cutrone, with a small laugh. “He once joked, ‘At my funeral, you’re going to play “My Way” by Frank Sinatra.’ Whatever he wanted to do, he did and it didn’t matter what anyone else told him.”
A longtime owner of Loughlin Vineyard in Sayville, Loughlin died Saturday morning of heart failure, his family said. He was 91.
A son of Irish immigrants, Loughlin was born July 31, 1925, and raised in Sayville. Having gotten into the wine business as a hobby more than 30 years ago, Loughlin and his daughters helped turn the Sayville vineyard into a popular destination.
His three daughters said although Loughlin always liked farming, he began to work seriously on the vineyard after his wife, Christine, died in 1995. Their father helped operate the vineyard until he fell ill in November 2016.
“The vineyard was my father’s whole life,” Cutrone said. “It gave him a purpose for living.”
Described by friends and family as a community-oriented man with a giving heart, Loughlin was an infantryman in World War II and a former chief of the Sayville Fire Department, which he served for more than 70 years. Friends and family said Loughlin was so devoted to firefighting that he developed a ladder beacon, a flashing light for ladders that helped firefighters find their way through smoke.
He also was a charter member of the Sayville-based Community Ambulance Company Inc., which serves Sayville, West Sayville, and other neighboring communities.
Robert Blair, president of the Greater Sayville Chamber of Commerce, said he mowed Loughlin’s lawn while growing up. He said Loughlin’s death was “a great loss for the community.”
“The man had accomplished a lot of things and he was humble,” Blair said. “He was proud of his accomplishments and his work and he worked until he couldn’t work anymore.”
Loughlin’s daughters said they would miss his easygoing humor and the stories he entertained customers with.
“People really enjoyed his stories,” said Cutrone. “If you asked him how long he lived in Sayville, he’d say, ‘I couldn’t tell you. I’m not dead yet.’ ”
In addition to Cutrone, survivors include daughters Patricia Jones and Mary Ellen Loughlin; four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
Visiting will be Monday, 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9:30 p.m. at Raynor & D’Andrea Funeral Homes, 245 Main St., West Sayville.
The funeral Mass will be Tuesday at St. Lawrence the Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Sayville, followed by internment at St. Lawrence Cemetery, also in Sayville.