Obituary of John Cortelyou Duryea
John Cortelyou Duryea of Bridgehampton died on March 19 in Greenport, at the age of 96. Mr. Duryea was born November 10, 1923 to Harold and Louise Duryea of Brooklyn. He lived in there until his family moved to Bellerose, Long Island. Mr. Duryea graduated from Sewanhaka High School when he was 16 years old and enrolled in Hofstra University for two years. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy to defend the nation during World War II. He was trained by the Navy at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Cornell University. Mr. Duryea was assigned to an amphibious landing ship in the Pacific as an engineer, and was honorably discharged as an ensign in June 1946. He remained in the reserves and was appointed to the rank of lieutenant junior grade. He was honorably discharged from the Navy Reserves in December 1957. Within a few weeks of his discharge, Mr. Duryea met his future wife, Raemary Chase, on a blind date. He returned to Rensselaer for a year to finish his degree in electrical engineering, graduating in 1947. In August 1947 the couple was married. They celebrated 72 years of marriage in August. Mr. Duryea’s business career was in the field of military and space electronic engineering at Sperry and Singer Corporations. He worked on the space shuttle program in the 1980s, specifically the Discovery shuttle. At that time, his work kept him living in Cold Spring Harbor, but he and his family never missed a summer with their relatives in Sagaponack. Upon retirement, they moved to Bridgehampton where they spent the next 35 years. Mr. Duryea’s interests were many, with extensive travel with his wife at the top of his list, family members said. They traveled to over 60 countries, bringing back stories of their adventures to their delighted grandchildren. According to family members, Mr. Duryea was also interested in hiking, volunteering for the South Fork Trails Preservation Society. One of his other passions was genealogy research. He created extensive family documents for several branches of the family that are carefully documented, his family said. Mr. Duryea was an active member of the Bridgehampton Club, and on Wednesdays could be found golfing with his Fearsome Foursome. He loved the beach and he and his wife had a picnic lunch daily at the Bridgehampton Club’s beach, according to family. His other interests were military history, coins, stamps, natural history, classical music, marching bands, and astronomy. His love for family and commitment to them was evident in his everyday actions and life, his family said. He is survived by his wife Raemary Duryea; daughters Lisa Duryea Thayer of Sagaponack, Jane Duryea Bowman of Raleigh, North Carolina; four grandchildren, Erin Thayer Dickson of Sag Harbor, Lauren Thayer of Sagaponack, Rachel Bowman of Raleigh, and Jonathan Bowman of Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also survived by four great-grandchildren. A memorial service will be held at a future date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church Capital Improvement Fund - Stain Glass Windows, P.O. Box 3038, Bridgehampton, NY 11932.