Family legend has it that when Joseph Fogarty and his wife, Virginia, moved into their first house on Long Island, a certain piece of furniture went in first.
Joseph’s baby grand piano.
Fogarty, who according to his family died on March 29 at 77 of complications from COVID-19, was an accomplished jazz and classical pianist. In his later years, he played keyboard in a band called “The Bernard Charles Quintet,” along with his younger brother, John.
“We played together for years,” said John Fogarty, 76, of Eatons Neck. “Typical wedding band kind of thing. Five-piece band that played in a lot of different places on Long Island, most of the catering houses and a lot of private parties.”
Joseph Fogarty, a Huntington resident, learned the piano as a boy from his mother, Irene, and also took lessons for what became a lifelong passion.
“He was a very good jazz and classical piano player,” said his daughter, Christine Fogarty Baker, also of Huntington. “He would play the piano for me growing up and I would sing Broadway tunes. That’s how I learned to sing.”
In 1967, Joseph’s brother, John, cofounded the Munro Studio of Music, which is still a staple of the East Northport community. It was full-time business to go along with what John called their “part-time” gigs.
“They would do wedding gigs and the wives would have a table to go watch the husbands,” Christine said. “They were great. My dad was a really good musician.”
Fogarty was an electrical engineer who, after serving in the Army during the Vietnam era, had a long career in the defense industry. He specialized in the design of naval shipboard navigation systems before his retirement in 2013.
Fogarty is also survived by Virginia, his wife of 49 years, and his daughter, Jennifer Greaney, of Riverside, California.