Benny Graboski of Bridgehampton and Juno Beach, Florida, died on September 17. He was 87.
He was born and raised on the family farm in Bridgehampton, the youngest of eight children, and attended the Bridgehampton School. In 1967, he married Natalie “Nancy” Stokes, of New York City, and she joined him in Bridgehampton where they lived for 54 years.
Graboski’s parents came from Poland and bought the farm on Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton in 1928. When his father died in 1955, Graboski took over the farm at age 20 and grew potatoes for over 40 years. He also operated a farmstand in the 1970’s, his specialties being “Benny’s Best” potatoes, sweet corn, tomatoes, kirbys and string beans. One of his greatest joys was giving potatoes to family and friends throughout the community.
Farming is a way of life, revolving in large measure around the seasons. Graboski was hard working, dependable, and strong, persevering through good potato years and bad, as determined by the weather and the market. He was easily recognizable, wearing the signature blue striped overalls, hat cocked at just a certain angle, driving a red and white pickup.
He loved being with his children and his grandchildren, his family noted, celebrating holidays and birthdays together. He was happiest when his family was sitting around a big table enjoying food, and he loved entertaining them with stories. He will be remembered as a good man, a good farmer, and he will be dearly missed by those who knew him, his family said.
He was predeceased by his parents, Stanley and Pauline Graboski; sisters, Sophie Zebrowski, Helen Konopka, and Edith Krupski; brothers, Vincent, Stanley Jr., John and Edmond; and son, Teddy Graboski. He is survived by his loving wife, Nancy; daughters Diane, Jennifer and Carol and their husbands; and five grandchildren.
Visitation was held on Thursday, September 22, at the O’Connell Rothwell Funeral Home in Southampton. A celebration of the liturgy of Christian burial was offered on September 23, by the Reverend Janusz Lipski at Our Lady of Poland Church in Southampton, followed by interment at Sacred Hearts Cemetery in Southampton.
Donations in his memory may be made to The Peconic Land Trust, 296 Hampton Road, Southampton, NY 11968
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