Joseph Gerard Kaelin

10/29/2013 4:37 PM |

Joseph G. Kaelin passed away Oct. 23, 2013, from complications of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 71 years old.

A lifelong Riverhead resident, Joe was born April 1, 1942, to Viola (Raynor) and D. Russell Kaelin, the third of four boys. After graduating from Riverhead High School in 1961, Joe started his 38-year career with the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of New York. His first job was as a night loader, and he worked his way up the corporate ladder to become a key account manager. He retired from the company in 2000.

While working at Coca-Cola in 1976, Joe and his wife, Mary Ann, started Kaelin’s Concessions, a family-run summer business. During that first summer, he and Mary Ann, along with their boys, Jimmy and Joseph, would feed hungry beachgoers hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries and other assorted fare at Dolphin Beach in East Quogue. Over the next seven years, the business grew, with Joe and Mary Ann operating other concession stands along Dune Road, including at Tiana and Ponquogue town beaches and Cupsogue County Park.

In 1982, Kaelin’s Concessions left the beach for Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton. For 31 years, Joe and Mary Ann helped thousands of campers at the Cedar Point Park General Store, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner; dispensing invaluable information about the best places to fish; and showing a family-friendly movie every Saturday night.

Being involved in his community was very important to Joe. He served as a volunteer fireman with the Riverhead Fire Department for 44 years and had been a captain with the Red Bird Hook and Ladder Company. In addition, he was active with the Rotary Club of Hauppauge, serving as its treasurer. Joe was also an active member of the Riverhead Republican Committee, working as custodian of the polling equipment every Election Day.

In addition to his wife of 50 years, Mary Ann (née Spitaleri), Joe is survived by his two sons, Jim and his wife, Terri, of Fairfax, Va., and Joseph and his wife, Tricia, of Riverhead. Joe was predeceased by his grandson, Jimmy, in 2003, but is survived by grandchildren Tommy, Katie, Lily and Kyle. He also leaves behind his brothers, Dan and his wife, Pat, of Jamesport, Harold and his wife, Celinda, of Florissant, Colo., and Rod and his wife, Drew, of Wilmington, N.C., as well as many other relatives and friends.

Visiting hours began Oct. 28 at Reginald H. Tuthill Funeral Home in Riverhead and continue Tuesday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. Services will be held Wednesday, Oct. 30, at 9:15 a.m. at St. John’s R.C. Church in Riverhead followed by interment at the church cemetery.

This is a paid notice.

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