Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Chris Kartalis, Saltaire Lifeguard

Chris Kartalis, 1958. Photo by Bill Weinlandt, courtesy W.J. Weinlandt.

— Former Saltaire Chief Lifeguard, Chris Kartalis, 82, who resided in Bayport, L.I., for 60 years, died October 31, 2010, Sunday after a long illness.

He was chief lifeguard starting in the Uncle Pete Kurachek years and later. Like Uncle Pete, Chris had a background in football, phys ed and teaching. Like Uncle Pete, he believed in being in charge. On the oceanfront, Chris was the most attentive lifeguard the 1950's had ever seen. Kids, even the best swimmers, had to check in with him before going in. Other kids, some of them the best swimmers, would walk to the far reaches of Saltaire to escape Chris' jurisdiction.

Born in Manhattan, he moved in 1933 to Staten Island. He was graduated from Curtis High School, where he excelled on the gridiron.

On football scholarship at Wagner College, he set records at the quarterback position en route to earning a degree in science and education.

Mr. Kartalis earned a master’s degree in physical education at New York University in Manhattan and began his teaching career in 1951 in the Sayville School District on Long Island as a science teacher; after several years, he moved to the Bay Shore district, where he taught physical education until his retirement in 1985.

Mr. Kartalis’ love was always athletics, and throughout the years he coached many sports, including football, tennis, soccer and basketball. Schools that benefited from his expertise included those in Sayville, Bay Shore and Stony Brook, La Salle Military Academy in Oakdale, L.I., and the Knox School in St. James.

Mr. Kartalis was head lifeguard for many years at Saltaire, on Fire Island, and was dock master at Flynn’s restaurant and marina in Ocean Bay Park.

His wife of 49 years, the foremr Elizabeth Wertz, died in 2004.

Surviving are a daughter, Jean Amacker; his brothers, Nufry (Jack), Constantine (Gus) and William, two grandchildren.


Beaver said...

Speaking for myself, and I'm sure my peer group, that Chris, like Uncle Pete, was a beloved figure for those of us that grew up in Saltaire in the 50's and 60's. He took his job seriously and our safety was his paramount concern. There were however, those that would ignore Chris' warning about undertow, rough surf, etc. I don't want to mention any names but "that Larry Lynch" would ignore Chris and threaten to go swim at his "grandmother's beach" - the area in the surf where his grandparents first home had been prior to the '38 Hurricane. Great memories of a Saltaire that was and will NEVER be again.

jimmy said...
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Anonymous said...

How nice to hear such nice sentiments about our good friend, Chris Kartalis. We became friends when picking grapes at the Laughlin Vineyards in Bayport and have been friends ever since. As my husband and I run our dog passed his house, we often stopped in to give the dog water. We will miss our friend, Chris. We hope he's is blissfully at peace in heaven doing the things he loved most, listening to music, playing tennis and telling wonderful stories.