Helen C. Baumeister, who, for three-quarters of a century served as a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of the , died Sunday, Jan. 8.
The longtime Plainview resident was 98.
Born Helen C. Fichtner on Sept. 29, 1914, she was a member of the volunteer department's Ladies Auxiliary since 1934, when Plainview was still a rural farming community. She served several stints as an officer in the Auxiliary, including as its president.
Service to her family and her community was a hallmark of Mrs. Baumeister's life, said her daughter, Carol Berardino. "She felt so strongly about serving others," Mrs. Berardino said. "She was devoted to her family and her community."
Mrs. Baumeister was courted by the late Frederick C. Baumeister, who would go ice skating with her and once jogged from Plainview to Lindenhurst to visit her, Mrs. Berardino said. Mr. Baumeister was a volunteer firefighter with the Plainview department and a local businessman who owned a barbershop on Grohmans Lane and Old Country Road.
They married and together raised Carol and three other children here: Robert Baumeister, Linda Ravella and the late Frederick C. Baumeister, Jr., who died at a young age. The family became active in the fire department, which served a community then known for its pickle and potato farms.
"Back then, (the fire department) was something of a social club," Mrs. Berardino said. "They had a lot of good friends there and it was their social life."
At the outbreak of World War II, Mr. Baumeister took a job at the former in Farmingdale. Mrs. Baumeister wanted to assist in the war effort as well, and became a volunteer "aircraft observer," taking four-hour shifts watching the night skies over Long Island for signs of , her daughter said.
After the war, the family opened a delicatessen on Manetto Hill Road for a decade. They were among the first families to join the newly built , which opened in the early 1950s.
When her husband died some 20 years ago, Mrs. Baumeister began making plans for her own funeral. She even chose the two hymns that will be sung at her memorial service in Plainview Friday: "How Great Thou Art," and "In the Garden."
, who will preside at the memorial service at Good Shepherd Friday, was with Mrs. Baumeister on the day she died. On that day, Olsen sang "In the Garden," to Mrs. Baumeister, whose eyes lit up as the pastor sang to her, Mrs. Berardino said.
Mrs. Baumeister leaves behind eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews.
Visitation is tomorrow, Thursday Jan. 12, from 2 - 4 and 7 - 9 p.m. at the Jacobsen Funeral Home, 1380 New York Ave., Huntington Station.
A memorial service will be held Friday Jan. 13 at 10:30 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Central Park Road, Plainview, with burial to follow at Breslau Cemetery in Lindenhurst.
Family members say memorial contributions can be made to the White Oaks Nursing Center: http://whiteoaksnursinghome.com/contact.html .