‘Aspirational figure’ for next generation of leaders laid to rest

Community remembers Janet Draffin


On Sunday, March 24, Bayport Civic Association leader, Bob Draffin, announced that his beloved wife, Janet, had died at the age of 61 with over 30 years as a resident of the town she came to mold with her dedicated service.

He referred to her as his “angel, now heavenly angel” in a social media post that garnered nearly 1,000 comments in condolences.

Janet Draffin had long been a community pillar alongside her husband, who had started the active Civic Association over 20 years ago. For nearly 40 years, Janet worked for Suffolk County’s Labor and Social Services Department alongside her expansive volunteer work.

Members of the community were asked what they most remember about her dedication to Sayville and Bayport-Blue Point.

Here are some of the responses:

Carol Seitz Cusack, director, Therm-a-Trol

“Janet Draffin, wife, mother, community leader and friend. 

When I think of Janet, I think of the many smiles she has put on my face as we worked together with beautification, or as she was trying to get me to go to Sayville Rotary with her!  The plan was when she got out of the hospital, I would go with her to a Rotary meeting. Now, I will go in her honor.

Janet was an extremely intelligent, kind, community-minded, amazing woman and friend!  There’s nothing she couldn’t do. She was surrounded by a legacy of friends and relationships that she’s made along her journey—each of them special and unique on their own.  But that’s Janet; she had the gift of reaching out and joining people together.

Janet will be greatly missed by the Bayport community.  I think we all can agree that heaven has gained a true angel. Her passing leaves quite a hole in our community, one that will take some time to heal.”

Dorothy Johnson, activist and founder of Maxed Out Drug Prevention

“Janet Draffin has been a dear friend for many years. Her kindness and love of life were an inspiration for so many people throughout our communities of Bayport, Blue Point, Sayville, and beyond. Janet was a pillar of strength, support, and comfort to her family, friends, and so many others. With numerous community involvement, she had numerous friends who were her second family. First and foremost, Janet’s love for her husband Bob, daughter Mary, and son Billy gave her the freedom to extend her heart and soul to others. Her willingness to embrace so much will not be forgotten.

There were so many moments we laughed and cried so much we could hardly hold ourselves together. Janet was the president of the Bayport-Blue Point Chamber of Commerce 125 Beautification Club. Each month, the committee would meet to spin the wheel for the winners. I was the voice and she was the spinner. We all laughed together when she nicknamed me Vanna White.

Death is never easy. Janet’s memory will continue to live on in the hearts of those who loved her and in the hearts of all who knew her.”

Karl Auwaerter, Owner, Bayport Flower Houses

“Janet’s commitment to the betterment of the BBP community was always second to none. She beautified our community, both in a visual sense and in enriching the youth who live in BBP. Those youth will be our future leaders, a legacy left by Janet. She did all this while staying out of the limelight, a true testimony to her altruistic nature. Janet’s absence will be felt deeply by the BBP community, but the example she set will be a beacon for us to continue her good work.”

Dr. Timothy Hearney, superintendent, Bayport-Blue Point School District

“Mrs. Janet Draffin was a strong and devoted pillar of the BBP school community, who served our two towns for decades. Mrs. Draffin volunteered her time on the PTA and dedicated years to the Bayport Civic Association and the Junior Civic Association. Janet leaves behind a legacy of volunteer work, giving back, supporting others, and helping improve our neighborhood. Her support of SEED, her kindness and sense of civic pride will live on in all the lives she encouraged and touched within BBP.  Our hearts are with her family during this difficult time. Mrs. Draffin will be sorely missed by the BBP school community.”

Ronnie Devine Jr., president of the BBP Library Board of Trustees

“Our Bayport-Blue Point community has lost a wonderful person. Janet demonstrated kindness and love for her family, friends, and everyone she met. She was the chairperson of our local Chamber of Commerce Beautification Committee and the guiding light to provide our main roads with beautiful floral baskets, flags, and holiday decorations. This was just one of her many contributions for the betterment of us all. She touched our lives in so many ways and will miss her eternally. May God bless her and her loving family.”

Nora Garvey, BBP PTA, Council president, secretary, Sayville Yacht Club

“Janet Draffin has been a longtime aspirational figure for me, with her tireless commitment to our community, boundless generosity of spirit and time, and warmest heart. Her passing leaves a hole, but in her strength and fight we can continue to be inspired. She will be sorely missed, and her memory treasured as we treasure her beloved Bob.”


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