Neal Lauro, the last remaining member of the six brother team that founded Sheepshead Bay-staple Stella Maris Fishing Station, passed away in his sleep early Sunday. He was 86 years old.
Lauro, along with brothers Mike, Salvatore, Anthony, Tony and Joseph, partnered to found Stella Maris Fishing Station in 1947, expanding on an earlier business named Mike’s Rowboats, based in Coney Island. In addition to bait and tackle, Stella Maris once rented out rowboats handmade by the brothers, as well as crafting their own supplies like nets.
When they purchased the property 64 years ago, the brothers took on a very frugal approach.
“They put all their money into the purchase of the land and had no additional funds to renovate the property,” Tom Lauro, the son of Salvatore Lauro, recounted in a 2007 Astella Development Newsletter. “They rowed their boats from the bay to the Hudson River Narrows. They waited during storms to collect the driftwood that had loosened from the docks and had dropped into the river. The brothers then towed the wood back with the rowboats to Sheepshead Bay where they used it to build their own docks, piers, bulkheads, and buildings.”
Little did they know that their ramshackle docks and rough-hewn storefront at 2702 Emmons Avenue wouldn’t just last the next six decades, it would end up being one of two remaining bait and tackle shops on a boulevard once lined with them.
The Lauro family was not available to speak on the death by the time of our publication.
The viewing is today only at Cusimano & Russo Funeral Home (2005 West 6th Street), from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Call (718) 372-1348 for more information. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 am, Ss. Simon & Jude Parish, 185 Van Sicklen St, Brooklyn NY 11223.
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