President’s Letter – December 2014
Well here we’re once again with all of the hustle and bustle the holiday season has to offer. It is truly a great time of the year as we celebrate with friends and loved ones, gather together and share traditions along with some good food and of course exchanging gifts. Now, of course you know as Chamber President I am going to implore you to shop, dine and cater in locally. Even more specifically, please consider utilizing our very own Chamber members wherever applicable for all of your gift giving and holiday needs.
May I suggest that before you spend your hard earned dollars on the internet with some out of the area retailer you owe it to your very own town to try and keep your dollars within Holbrook when and wherever possible. Perhaps your approach should be let me give something back to my local business community as they’re there all year long serving our needs as well as supporting and preserving our downtown.
On Monday November 17th, we lost not only a (VERY) longtime resident but truly in my humble opinion a Holbrook icon. Louise Coste passed away at the tender age of 96. I will do my very best to highlight what this great woman had accomplished in her lifetime but unfortunately I do not have the approval to utilize the entire website to provide every detail. Louise along with her beloved husband of 45 years Ferdinand moved onto Lincoln Avenue soon after they wed back in 1938. A pioneer way ahead of her time, Louise opened her own independent insurance agency in 1948 on what is now Main Street. Yes, I did write 1948 and the Coste Insurance Agency in its original location is still run by her family today.
Louise was not only a business woman within her community she was also responsible for assisting in the development of the Insurance Women’s Association of Long Island. In 1975, she served as President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Suffolk County, Inc. In addition to her immense portfolio, she was an active Islip Town Democratic Zone leader and was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1976. I was somewhat awestruck at her wake when I saw a beautiful picture of Louise being warmly greeted by former First Lady Roslyn Carter. I have to credit her as one of the first residents to have connected Holbrook politically on both the local and national stage.
Along with the many other initiatives that this incredible woman became involved with such as the Holbrook Fire Department and organizing transportation for the Catholic Churches in the area, she was also duly appointed in 1977 by NY Governor Hugh Carey to the Board of Commissioners of the NY State Insurance Fund. This was a position Louise held throughout Governor Mario Cuomo’s term, retiring in 1993.
As a mother of three, I consider this her greatest accomplishment of all. I say that with both the experience and distinct honor of having worked closely over the years with two of her children. Fern, one of her two daughters, is not only a former Islip Town Clerk and Chamber President amongst many other community hats she has worn she has also been a devoted Board Member of the Chamber and has been instrumental in preserving and fostering its growth to this day. She, along with her husband George, are the owners of Spies Travel. Fred, her son, is the owner of the Coste Agency and he has served as the Chamber Treasurer for many years. Fred not unlike his mother also has been involved in many other volunteer organizations and has truly made a huge positive impact on our community. I have grown to admire, respect and value their guidance and friendship over the years. Suzy who is Louise’s other daughter and whom I have had the distinct pleasure to have met lives out of state.
If any of you’re wondering why I devoted most of this month’s column to honor one person’s memory, then please allow me to remind you of something. Louise’s husband Ferd was one of the original five Founding Fathers of the Holbrook Chamber back in 1954. I have no doubt Louise was very instrumental in providing guidance for her husband as well as cordially hosting meetings in their basement for the formation of what now has become one of the lead organizations within the Holbrook community. With all the aforementioned having been written, it is with great honor that I salute this Holbrook woman of distinction and a true Holbrook Icon for bestowing upon our community a legacy that will never be replicated nor forgotten. God Bless you Louise and thank you for making Holbrook a better place for us all.
In closing, on behalf of the entire Chamber I would like to wish everyone a Happy Hanukah and a very Merry Christmas. Please join us at ourHoliday Tree Lighting on December 6th and Menorah Lighting on December 16th. Don’t forget shop locally as Holbrook always has a lot of great things in store for you.
Happy Holidays and a Very Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
Rick Ammirati, President