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John R. Lycke

Thu, 07/20/2023 - 10:45

Jan. 22, 1938 - June 25, 2023

John R. Lycke, a Montauk entrepreneur who built and owned the Montauk Laundromat, among other local businesses, died of respiratory failure on June 25 at Citrus Memorial Hospital in Inverness, Fla. He was 85.

As a young man, Mr. Lycke worked briefly for the East Hampton Town Police Department. He was a projectionist at the Montauk movie theater when movies were shown at the Montauk Playhouse in the 1960s, and worked as a dispatcher for the Montauk Fire Department, living at the firehouse with his family while doing so.

He was a member of that department for 49 years, running the kitchen at the firehouse for much of that time, and was a Freemason for 55 years.

He owned an ice company, a firewood business, Lycke Disposal, and Lycke Home Protection, and he established Breakwater Court, a Montauk motel, as well as the Laundromat.

Mr. Lycke gardened and cooked. Fishermen friends gave him tuna and he would can dozens of cases of it, giving half to the fishermen and keeping half for himself, his son, John Patrick Lycke, said. He canned pickles, made an excellent clam chowder, and was known for his Swedish brown bread, his family said.

He fished and played golf as well, and was a dog lover whose own, Elvis, was “his best friend,” his family said.

Born at Southampton Hospital on Jan. 22, 1938, to William Lycke and the former Gulla Johansson, he grew up in Montauk’s Shepherds Neck neighborhood, attending the Montauk School and East Hampton High School.

His first marriage, to the former Joan McLaughlin, ended in divorce. The couple had three children, John Patrick, Darlene, and Karen. Darlene Lycke died in 1986. John Patrick Lycke and Karen Lycke Damm survive and live in Montauk.

In September 1992, he married Jane Belber, who survives. They had two daughters, Robin Velveri and Lisa Belber, who both live in Florida. 

In 2002, the couple moved to Citrus Springs, Fla., where they lived on the second tee of the community golf course.

In addition to his wife and children, Mr. Lycke is survived by nine grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. A brother, William Lycke, died before him.

Mr. Lycke was cremated and his ashes will be interred at Fort Hill Cemetery in Montauk. A service will be held at the Montauk Community Church on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

His family has suggested memorial contributions to the Montauk Fire Department, 12 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk 11954.

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