Florence Marie Pufahl of Huntington and Shelter Island, formerly of Locust Valley, died peacefully on Oct. 23 at the Mary Ann Tully Hospice Care Inn. She was 93.
Born Jan. 17, 1922, in Queens Village, the second of Anna and James Green’s four daughters, she is remembered as a loving wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to her extensive family. She was a friend and confidante to countless people she touched in her storied life, especially her late husband Joseph; an entrepreneur, inventor and serial problem-solver who founded several businesses during the time they raised their three sons and a daughter.
Florence and Joe had been childhood friends when romance bloomed in their teen years. Their fathers went to boot camp together before shipping overseas during World War I, and family speculates that a two-year-old Joe was in the church when Florence was baptized. A photograph of Joe dating to when Florence was 16 has written on the back, “This could be the start of something good.” It was the start of something big.
They married in 1943 as the country was entering World War II. Joe was sidelined from service due to an injury sustained at birth, and they started their family. Three sons, John, Joe and Rob came first, followed by their daughter Kathy.
The Pufahls moved to Locust Valley in the 1969 where Flo met new friends and became active in the community. An accomplished horticulturalist, she was President of the Locust Valley Garden Club for several years and was recognized with a meritorious service award from the Federated Garden Clubs of America. She and Joe’s love of flowering plants was passed on to daughter Kathy, founder of Beds and Borders nursery and a nationally recognized authority credited with advancing the art of container gardening.
Florence’s horticulture skills were in evidence in Locust Valley as well as at their beloved Shelter Island summer home. The house on Coecles Harbor was the scene countless dinners, childhood sleepovers, boat expeditions and water ski runs that created a lifetime of memories for their extended family and friends.
An accomplished water skier who famously completed her aggressive slaloming runs without ever getting her hair wet, Flo made her final run around the harbor in August 2011, just three months before her 90th birthday. Equally accomplished on the slopes, she had skied some of the great mountains of Vermont, Colorado and Utah with her family.
Florence was predeceased by her husband Joe in 2011 and daughter Kathy in 2003. She is survived by her three sons, John (Cheryl) of Lloyd Harbor, Joseph (Sandra) of Cutchogue, and Robert (Helen) of Huntington Bay; grandchildren Christopher Pufahl, Lauren Kinney (Devin), Jessica Jones (Don); Kristen Schreck (Brad); Daniel Pufahl (Lauren); Kevin Cande (Jayne), Tyler Cande, Torie Cande, Kyle Lehman and Colleen Lehman; and five great-grandchildren.
Following a funeral mass at St.Patrick R.C. Church in Huntington, she was buried alongside her husband and daughter at Our Lady of the Isle Cemetery on Shelter Island.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Carol Pufahl Literacy Foundation, 3 Harmony Lane, East Setauket, NY 11733; the Kathryn Pufahl Cande Pediatric IBD Research Fund P.O. Box 1656, 5 East 98th Street, New York NY 10029; or Hospice Care Network, 99 Sunnyside Blvd., Woodbury, NY 11797.