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Babylon to rename town building after WWII vet and activist

The Town of Babylon on Friday will rename a town building in honor of a longtime community activist.

The North Amityville annex that houses the department of human services will now be called the Irwin S. Quintyne Building. Quintyne, who died in 2004 at age 81, was the father of Madeline Quintyne, the town’s human services commissioner. His wife, Delores, is on the town zoning board of appeals.

Quintyne was a World War II veteran and worked for 20 years in the garment industry. Like many veterans using the GI Bill to buy homes, Quintyne and his wife tried to purchase in Levittown but were turned away due to the development’s policy of selling only to whites. They instead moved to Copiague in 1965 and later to North Amityville.

The couple were civil rights activists, and when not tending to their seven children they were frequently found at demonstrations and on picket lines, fighting for better working conditions or housing for minorities. Quintyne was a Suffolk County human rights commissioner, deputy director of the Long Island Affirmative Action Program and was a member of Suffolk’s Economic Opportunity Council. He also co-founded the Suffolk chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and served on the national board of CORE.

Locally, Quintyne strove to unite Long Island, determined that “communities thrive with all of us being as one and not always looking at color,” his daughter Madeline said.

Quintyne worked tirelessly to improve North Amityville, particularly the notorious intersection of Albany Avenue and Great Neck Road known as “The Corner.” He offered guidance and jobs for the young men on the corner, who would often show up at his house in the middle of the night looking for help after scrapes with the law, Madeline Quintyne said.

In the final year of his life, Quintyne tried unsuccessfully to incorporate North Amityville as a village.

“He was a giant of a man who had a mission, and he carried it to great lengths to make sure everybody, not just him and his family, could be proud of living in North Amityville,” his daughter said.

The renaming ceremony is at 11 a.m. at 1 Commerce Blvd in North Amityville.

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