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Norman Aripotch dies; WWII vet was Babylon paint store owner, firefighter

Norman Aripotch, a World War II veteran and

Norman Aripotch, a World War II veteran and former Babylon paint store owner, died Tuesday of natural causes, his son said. Credit: Steve Aripotch

Norman Aripotch did more than a few things on Long Island.

He hunted ducks and carved decoys of the birds. He ran the Babylon paint and hardware store his dad opened in 1935. He helped the village preserve its history and build a barn in his 80s. He served in World War II and later as a volunteer firefighter. He invested in a tavern. He raised four children.

Aripotch died Tuesday of natural causes at the home he bought 60 years ago with his wife, according to his son Steven Aripotch of Manhattan, who provided an account of his dad's life, with his siblings' help.

Norman Aripotch was 92.

He took over the family business, Babylon Paint & Hardware Store on Deer Park Avenue, in the 1970s. In 1999, he sold it to another man. The store closed in 2010.

A first-generation American, Norman S. Aripotch was born April 6, 1927, to Benjamin and Bertha Aripotch in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights neighborhood. He was their only child. The family was Jewish, of Russian, Romanian, Ukranian and Austrian ancestry. Benjamin was a house painter until he started the paint store in 1935; Bertha was a homemaker and later the store’s bookkeeper.

The family moved to Long Island sometime between 1930 and 1935, and Aripotch was raised on George Street in Babylon. He graduated from Babylon High School in 1945 and studied at Adelphi University.

Aripotch enlisted in the Army, serving from 1945 until 1946, in Germany and France, qualifying as a rifle marksman, according to his family.

He worked as a lifeguard on Fire Island, where his future wife, Mary Bell, also was employed, working concessions. The two married in 1955. They moved to 87 Wyandanch Ave. in Babylon in 1959. She died in 2014 of natural causes.

Their four children survive them: the eldest, David Aripotch of Montauk, who was followed by Susan Aripotch, of Northeast Harbor, Maine; Steven Aripotch of Manhattan; and the youngest, James Aripotch of Babylon. There are eight grandchildren.

The funeral was Saturday at Claude R. Boyd-Spencer Funeral Home in Babylon.

Norman Aripotch was a 61-year member of the Babylon Fire Department and an original owner of the Villager Tavern in Babylon Village.

He was a Boy Scout leader, member of the Long Island Decoy Collectors Association and the Nature Conservancy, and a volunteer with the North Shore Land Alliance. He also served on the steering committee of the Nathaniel Conklin House, whose mission is “[t]o bring forth culture, education and history for the betterment of our Village.”

He helped with the construction of the barn, the Conklin house’s historical reproduction barn.

Aripotch told the Babylon Beacon newspaper in 2005: "We wanted this to be a hands-on project."

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