Beach, William (Bill) J
From Central Park Historical Society Encyclopedia
My first recollection of Bethpage was when I went to work for Grumman Aircraft, as a Rivet Bucker for "Rosie the Riveter", on the F4F "Wildcat" in 1944 at the age of 16. I remember how dark and desolete it was out here at 5:30 AM on my way to work at Plant #2 from my home in Franklin Square. I took the Hempstead Trunpike where there was nothing but open fields, and after I passed the Hempstead line and Meadowbrook Hospital it was very dark.
I went into the Navy in 1945.
I returned to Bethpage 1957 with my wife Julia and son John (18 months old), and bought a house on Thomas Avenue under the G. I. Bill. Daughters Bonnie was born 1957, Susan was born in 1961, and son Thomas born in 1965.
I was a Patrolman in the NCPD. In 1970 I became the Commanding Officer of Detectives at the Eight Precinct in Bethpage. During my tenure we investigated many criminal cases in and around Bethpage. Two of the most infamous cases was the extensive damage to the stained glass windows at St. Martin of Tours R. C. Church on Central Avenue. The other was the attempt to blow up the model of the Grumman LEM which was on display in the town parking lot near the railroad station.
Things I remember:
Good neighbors like Vera and Chappy Mirando.
Mr. Greco the railroad gateman on Broadway. I do not remember the names of the gatemen at Stewart Avenue or Central Avenue.
How upset we all were when they tore up all the beautiful trees along Stewart Avenue to widen the road. It was said, "why did they do that, Stewart Avenue goes from nowhere to nowhere."
The good times at Anselmi's on Broadway, and we always talked about having dinner at the Beau Sejour, but never did. The best glass of beer in town was at Duebels (corner of Stewart Avenue and Central Avenue), and at the 5 Corners at Stewart Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike.
All the children in our neighborhood, on Thomas Avenue, were kept off the sidewalks every weekday from 4:00 to 4:15. That was the time of the daily exodus from Grumman.
Standing at the fence on Central Avenue with my children watching the planes landing on the Grumman runway, particularly the Navy planes with the big radar domes on top, and the loud roar as they tested the airplane engines on the runway.
The hours my mother spent sitting at Railroad Avenue and 10th Street with the children watching the steam engines go by. The reward for a wave was a toot from the train whistle.
Senstacken's Bakery after Sunday Services at St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Stewart Avenue.
Pastor James Taylor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, an outstanding man.
The Grumman Yankees, Grumman's fast pitch softball team which won the National Softball Championship on numerous occasions. Roy Stevenson, Grumman's world class softball pitcher who is enshrined in the Softball Hall of Fame.
Sadly, the loss of my wife in 1980 at the age of 48 to cancer.
(submitted to the CPHS in 9/01 by Bill Beach)
William John Beach Rate: EN2 SS. 1945-1949 USN - 1949-1953 USNR
1946 served aboard USS Current ARS 22-Member of Joint Task Force 1, which conducted Atomic Bomb Tests ("OPERATION CROSSROADS") at Bikini Atoll, Marshall Islands, South Pacific. At both "Able" and "Baker" Blasts which were detonated on July 1, 1946 ("Able") and on July 25, 1946 ("Baker")
1947-1949 served aboard the USS Catfish SS339. Member of Submarine Division 15 Pacific Flet. Conducted numerous Cold War Submarine Patrols, various areas Pacific Ocean.
WW2 Victory Medal Pacific Theatre Ribbon American Campaign Ribbon Good Conduct Medal
Member: US Atomic War Veterans US Submarine Veterans - Long Island Base American Legion - Nassau Police Post
THE BEACHES AND BETHPAGE - Submitted by William Beach 12/3/13 - Story published in CPHS January/February 2014 Newsletter
The Beaches were responsible for recovering and paid the cost of refurbishing a long forgotten Bronze WWII Memorial Plaque for Robert Damm and Raymond E. Caffrey, two young men from Bethpage who were killed in WWII. The plaque had been buried and forgotten in front of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Once unearthed it was rededicated with a ceremony attended by Bethpage VFW Post, Post Commander Bud Rosch, Legislator Rose Marie Walker, and members of the community.
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