William Wanat

02/22/2011 4:05 PM |

William Wanat, a lifelong Baiting Hollow resident, died Feb. 21 at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead. He was 84.

Born Jan. 13, 1927, to Anton and Anna Wanat in Baiting Hollow, he grew up on the family farm there and graduated from Riverhead High School.

He married Pirkko Nylund on Nov. 15, 1958, in Riverhead and continued working on the farm until his employment in 1968 at Half Hollow Hills Nursery in Laurel. Later, he worked at the Westhampton Air National Guard Base, where, according to family, he formed many enduring friendships and was the “unofficial” photographer, taking pictures of such well known people as Nancy Reagan and Colin Powell, photos that are now a treasured part of the family lore.

He loved spending time with family, particularly his grandchildren, and enjoyed photography, gardening and landscaping, his family said. He was a member of St. Isidore R.C. Church in Riverhead.

Predeceased by his wife in 2010, Mr. Wanat is survived by his children, Sandra Buckholtz of Colorado and David, of Connecticut; his sister, Helen Kopcienski; two grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Visiting hours are to be held Wednesday, Feb. 23 at McLaughlin Heppner Funeral Home in Riverhead. A service will take place Thursday, Feb. 24, at 11:30 a.m. at St. Isidore R.C. Church, followed by interment at St. John’s Cemetery in Riverhead.