Florence Herrmann, a longtime Center Moriches resident who devoted her life to family and charity work, died Monday at age 94.
Herrmann raised three children, helped her husband with his funeral home business and volunteered frequently at her longtime church.
“Pretty much everything she did was based around helping other people,” said her son Mark Herrmann, a sports reporter at Newsday.
His mother was born Sept. 29, 1923, to Joseph and Bertha Podlaski. She grew up in East Moriches with four siblings and graduated from Eastport High School in 1941.
She met her husband, George Herrmann III, at a wake at his family’s Center Moriches funeral home. Their first date was at a bowling alley. They married in 1945 and she moved to Center Moriches that year.
They celebrated their 70th anniversary together at their nursing home three weeks before he died in 2015.
With “an extension of the funeral house” in their family home, Herrmann frequently took messages and had to drive her husband around to attend to funeral business because he did not have a driver’s license, Mark Herrmann said.
“She was on call all the time to be his wheels,” Mark Herr mann said.
His mom also was known to help out whenever she could at St. John the Evangelist in Center Moriches. She donated money, baked goods for church sales and even vacuumed the altar.
“She was a wonderful person,” said church secretary Margaret Lunghi. “Whenever she talked, she always made your day.”
Herrmann’s charity work included being a candy striper at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital and volunteering with Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, which serves children with disabilities. She also cared for her two grandchildren while their parents were working.
“That was the strength of her,” her son said. “Her best aspiration was to have the rest of us, whoever was around her, succeed.”
A voracious reader, Florence Herrmann read about three books a week, which “is what kept her going,” he said.
She spent the last two years living at the Westhampton Care Center, where she died. The cause of death is not known, but she had been battling dementia, Mark Herrmann said.
In addition to her grandchildren and son, she is survived by another son, Allan Herrmann of Center Moriches, a daughter, Eileen Buckheit of Moriches, and brothers John Podlaski of East Moriches and Joseph Podlaski of Sebastian, Florida.
A wake will be held Friday at Wesche Funeral Home (formerly Herrmann’s Funeral Home) in Center Moriches from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Westhampton Beach. She will be buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in East Moriches.