2014 0210 defriest david

David I. DeFriest, a 74-year resident of Southold, passed away in Flagler Beach, Florida on Feb. 6, 2014. He was 97 years of age.

DeFriest was born Sept. 1, 1916 in Riverhead, the son of Irad B. and Elizabeth Glover DeFriest. He attended Riverhead and Bay Shore schools and prep school at Northfield Mt. Hermon in Gill, Mass. He attended Renouard School for Funeral Service in New York City and acquired his Funeral Director’s License. He established DeFriest Funeral Home, in a rented house, where Agway is currently located in Southold in 1940. In 1941 he acquired the home on the Main Road where the funeral home has been located for the past 73 years. In later years he established locations in Cutchogue, Mattituck and Shelter Island. He also owned and operated DeFriest Ambulance Service from 1950 to 1980. He also ran a flower shop and greenhouse behind the Southold Funeral Home managed by the late Bill Rusch during the 1950’s and 1960’s.

He was a past President of The Metropolitan Funeral Directors Association and a past member of the New York State Funeral Directions Association. He was the last active Charter member of the Southold Rotary Club, 50 year member of the Southold Fire Department, 50 year member of Peconic Lodge 349 Free and Accepted Masons, long time member of the Chinese Yacht Club and a past member of the Independent Order of the Odd Fellows. He was the President of Willow Hill Cemetery Association.

His personal interests included family gatherings, boating, Nascar Stock Car Racing, over the years he owned several stock cars that competed at Riverhead Raceway, community affairs, spending winters in Florida and small game hunting.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife, Marguerite Albertson DeFriest in 1998. He is survived by his long-time companion, Norma Miller; his children, Shirley (Paul) Danowski of Riverhead, David E. (Vickie) DeFriest of Southold; six grandchildren, Darlene Grattan (Tom) Ferris, Diana (Luke) Curry, Kelly (Scott) Tocci, Steven DeFriest, Renee (Michael) Harvey and Garrett DeFriest; three step grandchildren; Jared (Jeanette) Born, Vivian (Bradley) Gardner and Bradford (Sabrina) Born; nine great grandchildren, five step great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren; four nieces, Elizabeth Leahy, Margery Connor, Linda Ehrlich and Mary Hoch; and one nephew, Robert DeFriest. He was predeceased by his brother, Irad Robert DeFriest and a sister, Thelma DeFriest Pfutzner.

The family received friends on Monday, Feb. 10 and Tuesday, Feb. 11 at the DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold. The Funeral Service, officiated by the Rev. Dr. Peter Kelley, took place at the funeral home on Wednesday, Feb. 12, followed by interment at Southold Presbyterian Cemetery.

Memorial donations to the Southold Rotary Club, Southold Fire Department or a charity of choice would be appreciated.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.