He was known to everyone as Roy. Whether it was assisting a family member, being a good neighbor, spending time at the local fire department or simply offering a kind word, Walter "Roy" Beach was always there to lend a helping hand.
"Dad was a man who loved life and made the best of every day," said daughter Kathy Foster, 70, of East Northport. "He was a humble man and a friend to many."
Beach died of a stroke on Oct. 1 at age 96. His health had been in decline for several years.
Born in Jamaica, Queens, in 1926, Beach grew up in Franklin Square with two siblings. At 17, he enlisted in the Navy during World War II and was deployed to England in 1944. On D-Day, Beach stormed the beach at Normandy, one of the many milestones he would encounter in his life of service.
Back home in Franklin Square, Beach met and married his wife of seven decades, Maureen. Together they had five children.
"I was 16 when I was introduced to Roy by a friend. He was 21, and I had to ask my mother's permission to go out with an older man," said Maureen Beach, 90. "We went to the movies the day after his 21st birthday. He asked me if I wanted to join him for a drink after — I don't think he knew how old I really was — so we went to an ice cream parlor instead and we've been together ever since."
The couple was married in 1950 and soon rented a house in Levittown before Roy Beach was stationed in Bayonne, New Jersey, on the USS Washington after being recalled for the Korean War. The family would eventually settle in Eatons Neck and considered nearby Northport home as well for the next 46 years.
"Roy absolutely loved Northport. We have been living here at my son's for the past four years, and Roy loved every minute of it," said his wife. "He loved boating — we belonged to the Northport Yacht Club for many years."
Roy Beach worked for the now-defunct Long Island Lighting Company for 42 years and served as a volunteer with the Eatons Neck Fire Department. His fire department career would span 64 years, including time as a volunteer and then captain in Levittown, where the Beach family lived for 20 years before moving to Suffolk. He continued his position as secretary of the Firemen’s Benevolent Association in Levittown even after the move, his family said.
"When we moved out to Eatons Neck, Roy joined the fire department as soon as he could — first as a fireman and then commissioner," said Maureen Beach. "He truly loved his work with the fire department, and was just a good, wonderful man who always wanted to help."
After Roy Beach retired, he split time between Long Island and Florida.
"We have a house in Florida that he loved where we would go to for six months out of the year," his wife said. "Roy didn't have a fear in the world and lived life to the fullest. He even went skydiving at the age of 70."
Roy Beach also made it a point to help others in any way he could, even making coffee at the Northport 7-Eleven that was owned and operated by Foster and her husband.
"He loved to laugh — even at his own expense — and loved God, his family and his country," Foster said of her father
Along with his wife and daughter, Roy Beach is survived by his four other children, William Beach of Northport; Sandy Beach of Hampton Bays; Nancy Vrabel of Clearwater, Florida; and Brian Beach of Hilton Head, South Carolina. A funeral Mass was celebrated Oct. 7 at St. Philip Neri Catholic Church in Northport.