David I. DeFriest

02/12/2014 10:13 AM |

David I. DeFriest, a 74-year resident of Southold, passed away in Flagler Beach, Fla., Feb. 6, 2014. He was 97. 

He was born Sept. 1, 1916, in Riverhead, the son of Irad B. and Elizabeth Glover DeFriest. He attended Riverhead and Bay Shore schools and prep school at Northfield Mount Hermon in Gill, Mass. He attended Renouard School for Funeral Service in New York City and acquired his funeral director’s license.

Mr. DeFriest established DeFriest Funeral Home in a rented house — where Agway is currently located — in Southold in 1940. In 1941 he acquired the home on Main Road where the funeral home has been located for the past 73 years. In later years, he established locations in Cutchogue, Mattituck and Shelter Island. Mr. DeFriest also owned and operated DeFriest Ambulance Service from 1950 to 1980. He also ran a flower shop and greenhouse behind the Southold funeral home managed by the late Bill Rusch during the 1950s and 1960s.

Mr. DeFriest was a past president of the Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association and a past member of the New York State Funeral Directors Association. He was the last active charter member of the Southold Rotary Club, a 50-year member of Southold Fire Department, a 50-year member of Peconic Lodge 349 Free and Accepted Masons, a longtime member of the Chinese Yacht Club and a past member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He was also president of Willow Hill Cemetery Association.

His personal interests included family gatherings, boating, community affairs, spending winters in Florida and small-game hunting. He was also interested in NASCAR stock car racing, and owned several stock cars over the years that competed at Riverhead Raceway.

Mr. DeFriest was predeceased by his beloved wife, Marguerite Albertson DeFriest, in 1998. He is survived by his longtime companion, Norma Miller; his children, Shirley (Paul) Danowski of Riverhead and David E. (Vickie) DeFriest of Southold; six grandchildren, Darlene Grattan (Tom) Ferris, Diana (Luke) Curry, Kelly (Scott) Tocci, Steven DeFriest, Renee (Michael) Harvey and Garrett DeFriest; three step-grandchildren, Jared (Jeanette) Born, Vivian (Bradley) Gardner and Bradford (Sabrina) Born; nine great-grandchildren; five step-great-grandchildren; two great-great-grandchildren; four nieces, Elizabeth Leahy, Margery Connor, Linda Ehrlich and Mary Hoch; and one nephew, Robert DeFriest. He was predeceased by his brother, Irad Robert DeFriest, and a sister, Thelma DeFriest Pfutzner.

The family received visitors Feb. 10 and 11 at DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold, where funeral services will be held Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 11 a.m., the Rev. Dr. Peter Kelley officiating. Interment will follow at Southold Presbyterian Cemetery.

Memorial donations to the Southold Rotary Club, Southold Fire Department or a charity of the donor’s choosing would be appreciated.

This is a paid notice.

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