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George Herrmann III dies; Center Moriches business and civic leader was 91

George Herrmann III, a World War II Navy

George Herrmann III, a World War II Navy veteran who was once the proprietor of the former Herrmann Funeral Home, a co-founder of the Center Moriches Little League and an active Center Moriches resident, died Aug. 19, 2015. He was 91. Credit: Family photo

George Herrmann III helped start a Little League program in his hometown of Center Moriches after serving in World War II.

He and two friends took out a loan and bought the league's field off Beachfern Road.

Herrmann, who ran the Herrmann's Funeral Home for nearly 30 years before starting a second career in sales, was devoted to community and church. He was president of the Center Moriches library board and ushered at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church into his 80s.

He died Aug. 19 of natural causes at Westhampton Care Center. He was 91.

"He really represented that 'Greatest Generation,' " said his son, Mark Herrmann, 59, a sports reporter at Newsday. "They served in World War II, and when they came back, they served their communities.

"He enjoyed his life. He lived it on his terms. . . . He liked being at home. He liked being in Center Moriches."

Jim Dineen, 87, who helped to buy the field for the then-Center Moriches Little League, recalled how Herrmann, surprised with the plan at the bank, quickly embraced the idea.

"That's how he was," said Dineen, of Center Moriches. "He was the type of guy who was all for the kids."

Herrmann, who went by the nickname "Junie" for Junior, never left Center Moriches until the war, when he served in the Navy in North Africa.

When he returned, he became an apprentice funeral director in New York City. He later joined the family's funeral home business.

In the late 1970s, he sold the funeral home and started working for Biodex, a Shirley-based medical equipment company. He retired at 85.

When he died, Biodex employees told stories about "what a great man he was and what a great mentor he was to people," said Bob Ranieri, Biodex's senior vice president of sales.

Biodex president Jamie Reiss, a childhood friend of one of Herrmann's sons, recalled playing after school in the 1950s at "Herrmann's Field" -- the side yard at the Herrmann house.

Herrmann's wife, Florence, now 91, served pink lemonade and chocolate cookies. "It was the best part of our lives," said Reiss, 69, of Center Moriches.

Herrmann joined the Rotary Club and in the 1950s and '60s helped develop Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck, a camp for mentally and physically challenged Long Island children, Mark Herrmann said.

Nan Peele, director of the Center Moriches Public Library, called Herrmann "a guiding hand for our library" as a nine-year board member who advocated for a new building built in 1988.

Herrmann held season tickets for the then-New York Nets and volunteered as a goodwill ambassador and helped direct summer clinics with New York Islanders and Nets players in the early 1970s, his son said.

Herrmann died three weeks after his 70th wedding anniversary. The funeral was held Saturday at the family's church, St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church.

Mourners included Kansas City Royals scout Paul Gibson, a Center Moriches Little League alumnus, who later pitched for the Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and New York Yankees.Besides his son and wife, Herrmann is also survived by another son, Allan of Center Moriches; a daughter, Eileen Buckheit of Moriches; a brother, Charles of Hendersonville, North Carolina; two grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.


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