Thomas Laffey who was legendary in the Long Island real estate scene died on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at age 81.
He founded Laffey Real Estate which has 13 offices throughout Nassau, Suffolk and Queens Counties, says the firm's website.
He is survived by wife Eileen (nee O'Grady); siblings: Joseph, William, Mary Newcomb, Kathleen Kane; children: Philip (Neil Cox), Emmett (Karen), Mark (Claudia Poglianich), Brian (Beatrix Sebok) and Desmond (Brooke) and his grandchildren Morgan, Kieran, Finn, Jack, Connor, Shannan, Devon, Grant and Avery. He is preceded in death by his parents Michael and Catherine Laffey and brother Michael.
Laffey was born on Jan. 3, 1938 in Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, to Catherine Coyne and Michael Laffey.
He came from humble beginnings where fishing, farming, and sheep herding were the way of life and the daily struggle, said the obituary.
At 17, Laffey immigrated to the United States. He was greeted by family, given a new suit, and lived in Mineola with his aunt.
In those early years, Laffey worked hard, appreciating all that his newfound country offered the young Irish immigrant. He had no preconceived notions, asked for nothing and was grateful for the opportunities, said the obituary.
In a 1997 Newsday article, Laffey is quoted as saying, “I just thought I could get a job here and that I would do the best job I could”.
Laffey served two years in the Army as a way to repay the country for the opportunities it had given him, said the obituary.
In 1966, he married Eileen (nee O'Grady) whom he met at Jaeger House, a Manhattan dance hall for Irish Immigrants.
After a few years in the manufacturing sector, Laffey found his true calling, according to the obituary. He began working nights and weekends for a real estate broker, Austin Leahy.
In less than two years, Laffey opened his first office on Jamaica Avenue in Bellerose, the obituary said.
Over 10 years time, the couple welcomed five children.
His sons remember him as a driven father who encouraged them to pursue their goals, said the obituary.
Laffey is remembered for his love of family, Ireland, community and real estate.
A funeral was held Tuesday, Aug. 20 in Williston Park.
Burial will be in Galway, Ireland.
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