Virginia Antionette O’Dwyer died at the age of 91 on August 13.
She was the founder of Virginia A. O’Dwyer Real Estate, located across from the Stony Brook train station. Many in the Three Village area remember the company’s sign with the colonial pineapple logo as a symbol of hospitality and friendship.
The building still stands today, filled with several agents who worked with Virginia years after Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty acquired the business in 2014.
Virginia was married to William O’Dwyer and a mother of five when she returned to work in the 1960s, according to her son Michael O’Dwyer. He said his mother wanted to buy his father a boat and his first job was with real estate company LC Clarke in Stony Brook.
“She always had a love for real estate,” he said. “She’s found her niche.”
It was in 1970 that she created her own company.
Michael O’Dwyer said that when his mother asked for a loan, the bank asked where her husband was and she said, “Excuse me.”
“She was one of the first women to get a loan just in her name in Suffolk County,” he said.
Her son, who is also a real estate agent and his mother’s business partner, said he has learned a lot from her over the years.
“One thing I’ve learned is that it’s not always the highest bid that gets the house,” he said. “It’s the best offer. There are always many terms and ways to help your buyer present their offer better. »
His mother worked until Daniel Gale Sotheby’s acquired the business. Although she had received offers over the years, it was not until Daniel Gale arrived that she felt confident to sell.
“She waited for the right company to come along,” he said, adding that she felt the company had similar values to her company.
The son said his agents were like family to her, and in all those years only two agents left – but returned to work for her. When she sold the business to Daniel Gale, he said she wanted to make the right decision for her agents.
The son said his mother always balances a career with her family.
“She thought in her own way that anyone could do anything if they put in the effort,” he said. “She was very dedicated, honest and fair with everyone she worked with.”
In addition to real estate, he said his mother loved antiques and collected religious art. She left the art collection to Hope House Ministries in Port Jefferson, which she always considered a worthy cause. Her son said that in addition to collecting antiques and art, his mother also loved to travel.
“She had a lot of energy,” he said. “She got energy from other people. I think she really liked what she was doing. She loved her family and she loved her business.
Virginia and her husband were married for 58 years before his death in 2008. She was born in Mineola on December 14, 1930, to Rita “Dorita Court” Haeger, an opera singer.
“She was quite a character, so I think my mum got a lot of nerve from her,” Michael O’Dwyer said, adding that his mum was very devoted to his grandmother.
Virginia and her husband first lived in Westbury before moving to Nissequogue in 1963. About 15 years ago, the couple moved to the village of Stony Brook and restored a 200-year-old house, according to her son.
She is survived by her children Maureen (James) Riley, William Jr. (Marguerite), Daniel (Bessie) and Michael. Her son Jean preceded her in death. She is also survived by 15 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.
Friends may call at Marinello Funeral Home, 493 Middle Country Rd, Coram on Tuesday, August 16 from 2-7 p.m. Funeral Mass will be held Wednesday, August 17 at 10:15 a.m. at Sts. Philip and James RC Church, St. James. Interment will follow immediately at Oak Hill Cemetery, Stony Brook.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in Virginia’s memory be made to Hope House Ministries, Attention: Development Department, PO Box 358, Port Jefferson, NY 11777.