Edwin E. Koral died at his Arizona home November 25, at the age of 96. His wife, Julie, and daughter, Joanne, were at his side.
Ed, as he was affectionately known, was born at home in Southampton on November 20, 1922. He was the son of William Koral, a Polish immigrant, and Mina Sujecki Koral, born in Riverhead, also of Polish descent.
Ed loved being a part of everything “Southampton.” He attended Southampton public schools and, after receiving his high school diploma, built a long and enriching life filled with music, service, business acumen, and lifelong learning and congeniality. When WW II broke out, duty called; he immediately marched off to join the Army Air Corps. Attaining the rank of First Lieutenant, Ed became a flight instructor and, working with the Office of Strategic Services, the intelligence agency that predated the CIA, flew missions in China, Burma and India alongside the Flying Tigers. His missions included dropping intelligence agents and supplies behind enemy lines. For his exemplary service, Ed earned the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal, among other citations. Along with his family and the building and construction business that bears his name, Ed’s military service was always among his proudest accomplishments.
At the close of the war in 1945, Ed returned to Southampton and became active in the Southampton Methodist Church, where he met and married a Southampton High School teacher, Josephine Querns. He built his own home on Halsey Street, where the couple raised their four children. Applying the invaluable experience gleaned working in their father's building business, Ed and his brother Alfred established their own firm, Koral Brothers Inc. General Contractors. Today the highly respected firm is run by Ed’s son, Bill.
Ed always stressed the importance of being active locally. As such, he was a participating member of the Southampton community, involved in numerous organizations and endeavors. He joined the Southampton Volunteer Fire Department (Agawam Engine Company), where he remained a member for 25 years. Ed also served as Village Trustee and as Deputy Mayor; while serving on the Village Board he authored the "Architectural Harmony Ordinance," which ultimately evolved into the present-day Architectural Review Board. He chaired that position for 20 years. Ed also served as the Treasurer of the Southampton Hospital for 17 years, became a trustee of the Methodist Church, a trustee of Old Town Lodge, F.A.M., treasurer of the Southampton Cemetery, and member of the board of trustees of the Parrish Art Museum. He was also a member of the Southampton Rotary Club for many years.
Ed's activities and interests were vast and varied and went far beyond community service. He was a naturally gifted musician; while in school he was encouraged to pursue a career in that field. He began playing piano at a very young age, and with very little instruction, learned to play by ear. He mastered all of the popular songs of the era. In high school Ed began playing the French horn. Later he picked up the accordion and harmonica as well. He joined the local Barbershop Chorus, helped to form an award-winning quartet, and continued to fill his home with music.
Ed loved the outdoors — particularly the ocean — where he would often be found going for a quick dip after work. He enjoyed driving his Jeep to the jetty for a picnic, or going on a Sunday bike ride with his young family. He was a founder member of the Southampton Golf Club, spending many hours trying to perfect the game, which he continued to enjoy into his 90s. Ed was also an enthusiastic horseman; he owned horses for many years, becoming an amateur ‘cowboy,’ especially after having met and married his second wife, Julie McFarland of Arizona, also a horse lover. After Ed retired, the couple spent their winters in Arizona.
Ed leaves his loving wife of 38 years, Julie, four children: Joanne (Randy Hickin) of Virginia; Linda of North Carolina; Bill (Louise) of Bridgehampton; and Robin (Douglas Wright) of Massachusetts. He also leaves three stepchildren: Rick, Craig and Tim McFarland, all of Arizona, as well as nine grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Ed was predeceased by one grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to a sanctioned veterans organization of your choice.
A wake will be held at Brockett Funeral Home, 203 Hampton Road, Southampton, on Thursday, December 6 from 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm.