John Joseph Gaeta, formerly of Port Washington, passed away on Sept. 10, 2000. John was the leader of the John Gaeta Orchestra which played at the Riveria of Port Washington and he toured with the Dorsey Band. He is survived by his wife Linda of Greenville, NY. He was predeceased by his parents Joey and Cynthia Gaeta of Port Washington. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Peter of Alcantara Church on John's birthday, Oct. 1, at 11:30 a.m.
Nathaniel Eliot Hess, 94, longtime resident of Port Washington, died on Sept. 16, 2001. Born in Brooklyn on Feb. 2, 1907, Mr. Hess was the son of Russian immigrants, the youngest of seven children. He graduated from Cornell University in 1928 and left Columbia Law School to support his family after the stock market crash in 1929. Mr. Hess found work at the Borden Company, and later started Great Western Food Distributors, a farming conglomerate with grain silos and egg hatcheries. He was a commodities broker, with seats on the Chicago Mercantile and NY Stock Exchanges.
In 1940, five years after his marriage to opera singer Marjory (Levy) Hess, Mr. Hess moved his growing family to Port Washington, where he lived for over 50 years, until April of 2001. While in Port, he developed a lifelong passion for gardening which he generously shared with friends, family and community. A past president of the American Rhodendron Society, Mr. Hess hybridized and developed several new varieties, including "Long Island," "Shalom," Margalit," "Adele Lovett," "Marilyn Horne" and "Nat Hess," earning him multiple honors. He also helped to start Neot Kedumim, a Biblical Landscape Reserve in Israel. Working with the Dept. of Agriculture in Israel, Mr. Hess introduced new plants from the Protea family to enhance that country's cut flower industry.
An active member of the Jewish community, Mr. Hess and his late wife formed the Community Synagogue, the first reform synagogue in Port Washington and served as its first president in 1952. He was an honorary Life Trustee of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, chaired the Israel Committee and was a founding member of ARZA.
Mr. Hess is survived by his five children, 13 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. His wife of 60 years, Marjory Hess, died in 1995. A memorial service will take place on Sept. 28 at the Community Synagogue, 150 Middle Neck Rd. Interment at Beth Moses Cemetery is private. In lieu of flowers, those who wish can make memorial contributions in Mr. Hess' name, to American Friends of Neot Kedumim, 813 Route 3, Halcott Center, NY 12430.
Michelle L. Drouin, 54, of Port Washington, died on Sept. 19, 2001. She is survived by her husband Pierre; her children Richard, Dimitry and Sacha; her mother Denise Lanoix; and her sister Jacqueline Lanoix. Arrangements were made by the Austin F. Knowles Funeral Home, Port Washington. Mass celebrated at St. Peter of Alcantara Church. Interment private.