Hundreds of people turned out for the Huntington Historical Society’s 23rd annual “Evening of Wine Under the Stars.” The gala, held on the grounds of the Dr. Daniel W. Kissam property, honored three members of the Failey family. Maurine, her son, Dean and his wife, Marie, all of East Northport, used their unique talents to foster the Society’s endeavors and preserve and enrich our understanding of Long Island history. Four generations of Faileys were in attendance, including Dean and Marie’s daughter, Brooke and grandson, Pierson.
According to the exquisitely written profiles of the honorees created by Society Director Linda Walch for the keepsake program, Maurine Failey contributed family photographs and collaborated on two books- East Northport, An Incomplete History and Old Schoolhouses- Long Island Bicentennial Project L.I. Zone NYSRTA. East Northport, An Incomplete History’s cover boasts a photograph of Maurine’s ancestral East Northport home, built by her grandfather in 1906, where Maurine still resides to this day.
Like his mother, Dean Failey has also been smitten with an abiding love of Long Island history. Among his many accomplishments, as former curator of the Society for Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, Dean took the helm of the then floundering organization and led a team of volunteers who accomplished what at that time was deemed impossible—putting together an acclaimed Bicentennial exhibit of Long Island decorative arts.
It was a monumental undertaking, with the knowledge gleaned in the course of the project detailed in the exhibit’s catalog, Long Island Is My Nation: The Decorative Arts & Craftsmen 1640-1830, now in hard copy. After mounting an exhibit about the itinerant watercolorist Edward Lange (1846-1912) who traveled our countryside, immortalizing homesteads and landscapes in charming panorama-like vistas, Dean co-authored a book called Edward Lange’s Long Island.
Marie Failey served as vice president of the Huntington Historical Society for a total of five years. She is best known as the visionary fundraiser, a dynamo whose perseverance and hard work transformed the Evening of Wine Under the Stars into the Society’s biggest annual fundraiser, a night eagerly anticipated and attended by hundreds of people each fall.
Robert Hughes, Huntington Town Historian and Toby Kissam, a descendent of Dr. Daniel Kissam, were among the many speakers who praised the Faileys’ contributions.
The Huntington Historical Society gave the Faileys, who are avid horticulturists, a plum tree to add to their rambling gardens and a free-standing plaque which read, “Like the roots of a tree, the Failey three, will long be part of our history.” The trio also received many proclamations.
Guests enjoyed gourmet food, wine, beer, live music and a silent auction. The proceeds of the evening will benefit the Society’s educational programs and help maintain their five historic properties.