Lifetime Setauket resident Charles Bubnis, who served in the Navy during World War II and later served 66 years in the Setauket Fire Department, died May 13 at the age of 87.
Born and raised in Setauket, Bubnis served as an electrician's first mate on the destroyer USS Pringle, and survived a kamikaze attack in 1945 that killed 69 men and sank the ship.
He later joined the Setauket Fire Department, where he served in the engine hose company, the fire police, as an ambulance driver, and as a captain – and will also be remembered for his baked clams, clam chowder, and joke telling.
Bubnis later worked in many different trades, managing a business machine repair shop, a gas station, an auto repair shop, a snow removal service, and a fuel oil company. He also was a night supervisor at Kings Park State Hospital, a school bus driver and a truck driver. He even built his own home in Setauket, where he lived until his death.
He will also be remembered for his kindness. "He was a really good friend to people, and reliable," said daugther Noreen Koster. "He was always a generous man with his time and with whatever he had."
She described him as a lifelong learner. "He wanted to buy a computer and was taking classes at 87 years old," she said.
Bubnis had many interests: antique cars, flying planes, beekeeping, gardening, baking, cooking, camping, dancing, and traveling. He was also active in community groups such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Loyal Order of the Moose, and the local civic association and historical society. In 2011, he took part in the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
He was predeceased by his wife of 49 years, Marjorie, and four of their children. He is survived by children Noreen Koster, Christine Koster, Mary Cleveland, Nancy Keefer, and Carol Svoboda; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
Donations in his memory can be made to the Setauket Fire Department Benevolent Association.