Loretta Grabowski liked to mow the lawn on her tractor. “She would ride for hours. The lawn was small, but it didn’t matter,” her daughter Ann Grabowski said. “She would mow the neighbor’s lawn too. She said she would do her best thinking on that tractor; it would clear her mind.”
Ms. Grabowski died on Saturday at the San Simeon by the Sound nursing home in Greenport. She was 91 and had dementia for the last four years.
As a young woman, Ms. Grabowski summered in East Hampton, and met her future husband, Vincent Grabowski, when he worked at George Greene’s luncheonette on North Main Street.
“My father was stationed here in World War II and worked at the luncheonette. Mom would stop on her way home to Bay Shore, to grab a cup of coffee for the ride back. He had a crush on her but was shy. Another waitress told my mom he liked her, and they started talking. That’s how they met.”
They married on Feb. 12, 1961, and made a house on Oakview Highway their home.
The house was often full of debate. Ms. Grabowski was a lifelong Yankees fan, while her husband loved the Mets. “There was always a lot of banter about who had the better New York team,” her daughter said. Mr. Grabowski died in 1997.
Ms. Grabowski was not formally employed, but instead babysat for many neighborhood children, and later her grandchildren. As a skilled baker, she was popular with kids. She served as a Girl Scout leader during the 1970s.
“I always loved coming home from school. She’d always have home-baked cookies ready,” her daughter said.
She was born to John Bartley Costello and the former Christine Harrison on July 7, 1932, in Bay Shore. She grew up there and attended St. Patrick Catholic School.
In addition to Ms. Grabowski, who lives in East Hampton, she is survived by another daughter, Andrea Kim, also of East Hampton, six grandchildren, and two siblings, Arthur Costello of Deer Park and Grace Palmer of Stuart, Fla. Another sister, Christine Thomas, died before her.
A graveside service for Ms. Grabowski with Pastor Doreen Quaranto will be held tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Cedar Lawn Cemetery here. The family has suggested memorial donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, online at stjude.org.