Hardworking, determined and honest to the core were some of the first words that came to Doug Corwin to describe his dad, Lloyd Corwin Jr.
The owner of Long Island’s last duck farm, Mr. Corwin said his father was the “core guy behind the business” and the driving factor in keeping the business running today.
Mr. Corwin, who owned Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue, died Tuesday. He was 83.
“It’s a big family operation, I was born into this,” Doug said. “It’s changed a lot in my lifetime but the core has always been there. My dad helped with his values, he helped push us in the direction that helped us thrive … If it wasn’t for Lloyd there wouldn’t be a duck farm here.”
The business began in 1908 on land purchased by a family ancestor, Matthias Corwin, in 1640.
After graduating from Cornell University’s School of Agriculture in 1955, Lloyd Corwin started taking on a larger role at the company his grandfather first built.
“He took this thing on his back,” Doug Corwin said of his dad. “His father died relatively young, in 1976, and I was just graduating Cornell at the time. My dad had a lot of struggling years when me and my brother were off at college and he was trying to carry this thing alone. If it wasn’t for him we wouldn’t be here. He worked pretty hard up until the last few years. But even then he was involved in the major decisions.”
Doug Corwin credited his father with rescuing the farm by bringing it into the next phase of poultry raising, saying the elder Mr. Corwin dedicated his life to producing ducks.
It raises 1 million ducks a year, or 4 percent of the nation’s total, which is distributed throughout the country with a focus on the Northeast, the younger Corwin said.
He said part of the reason the family has been able to keep the duck farm around for so long was his dad’s willingness to accept change.
“Lloyd realized change is something that’s constant and the talks he had are some of the greatest memories I have of him.” his son said.
In addition to working at the farm — which was featured in the New York Times on numerous occasions, such as in 1974 and 1992 — Mr. Corwin served on the National Duck Council, even as president for some time. He was also a member of the Soil Conservation Service and the Riverhead’s Lions Club.
A lifetime Aquebogue resident, he was active in the Old Steeple Community Church and Aquebogue Cemetery and enjoyed spending time with family and friends, as well as traveling and gardening, his family said.
The younger Mr. Corwin said his dad strongly believed in the importance of being apart of the community, something he instilled in his son.
Services for Mr. Corwin, which were made around the family’s farming schedule, are Friday, Dec. 15 from 3 to 8 p.m. the Tuthill-Mangano Funeral Home in Riverhead. A funeral Service will be held Saturday, Dec. 16 at 11 a.m. at the Old Steeple Community Church in Aquebogue.
Memorial donations may be made to the Old Steeple Memorial Fund.
Doug Corwin said when he thinks of his dad, one specific memory doesn’t stand out, but rather his commitment to consistently improving the farm and the lessons her passed on.
“My father always pushed me,” Doug Corwin said. “It was always ‘We’re doing good but we can do better’ … I understand who he was and why he was and it drove me to be a better person.”
Top photo caption: From left, Lloyd Corwin Jr. sits on a tractor as his father, Lloyd Corwin Sr., and grandfather, Harry Corwin, look on in an undated photo. (Credit: Courtesy photo)