***All Services are Private
Dr. Kurt W. Roeloffs Sr., who practiced optometry in East Hampton as well as Patchogue, where he lived most of his life, passed away peacefully on Sunday morning, January 9th. He was 84.
Kurt was born on July 26, 1937 in Port Jefferson and raised in the North Patchogue home on Palace Brook that his father, Kurt H.H., and mother, Olga, built for their new family shortly after Kurt’s younger sister, Rita, was born. Kurt and his wife, Sylvia (d. 2007) also raised their three sons Kurt Jr., Mark and Jerry in his beloved boyhood home. When he remarried in 2010 to Virginia, the treasured home welcomed her three children, Daniele, Matthew and Tommy and became the launch pad for their spectacular retirement marked by extensive motor-sailing throughout the Eastern Seaboard and numerous ground adventures in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska—a fitting finish to an already adventurous life.
After graduating from Patchogue High School and briefly studying at Colgate College, Kurt felt compelled to pursue his childhood flying passion and joined the U.S. Airforce where he graduated at the top of his class in 1960 and became a flight instructor at Webb Air Base, in Big Spring, Texas. Kurt rose to the rank of Captain before leaving the Airforce in 1964 to attend Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago, again graduating at the top of his class. and joined his father’s Patchogue optical business in 1967 where he quickly became a pillar of the business community and much beloved member of the Lions Club.
Kurt started and sold several other optometric and optical practices in Suffolk County in the 1970s and 1980s before establishing Roeloffs East Hampton Optical in 1989 at 9 Barnes Lane which he had bought from the East Hampton Ladies Historical Society. This new venture quickly became the premier optical practice in the village based on Kurt’s warmth and ease with everyone who patronized his new practice. His son, Mark, became his business partner in the early 1990s and runs the practice since Kurt’s retirement.
While practicing optometry, Kurt continued to be a flight instructor for private students and eventually become an adjunct professor of flight at Dowling College in Oakdale. He also continued his military service in the 106th Rescue Wing of the Air National Guard at Westhampton’s Gabreski Air Field. This earned him the distinction of being titled ‘Herr Doctor Professor Colonel Roeloffs’ by his half-joking and wholly admiring friends and relatives.
With his friends, Kurt became a passionate sport fisherman. He spent many, many weekends aboard his boat pursuing tuna, marlin and sharks in the Atlantic Ocean and striped bass, black fish, fluke and flounder in the waters nearer to Long Island’s East End. He joined the South Shore Marlin & Tuna Club and was honored to serve as its President.
Like so many other native sons of Long Island, Kurt lived life with a fullness and gusto that deserved the military honor-guard and salute that he received upon his internment in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Patchogue, near the life-long home he so dearly loved.
***** In lieu of flowers, donations to https://joinrfa.org/ Recreational Fishing Alliance P.O. Box 3080 New Gretna, New Jersey or https://www.psp.org/iwanttolearn/ would be appreciated.