Elmer L. Fogerty
Elmer Fogerty was born in Patchogue, NY on October 23rd, 1905.
He attended Bald Hill Schoolhouse, which is a historic one-room school building located at Farmingville Hills County Park, between 1907 and 1913. His teacher was Mrs. Dunton. Mr. Fogerty was a wild child back then, and Mrs. Dunton would punish him with a rubber hose when she found out that little Fogerty had pranked her. Millard. G. Terry taught him as a substitute teacher. The Bible was used for many lessons during the years that Elmer was a student. Literal works, operas, hymns, and Greek choruses were also a normal part of children’s general education.
Elmer Fogerty was one of the original founders of the Holtsville Volunteer Fire department in 1929, which he served at until 1946 when the present district was formed. He was then elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners. Fogerty served as Chief until 1961.
In 1935 and 1936, he bought a seven-seat passenger car contract from William Wild, who held the original, contract for $3,700. In September of 1937, the Fogerty Bus Company started with two buses, an “Indiana” and a “Reo,” purchased from William Martha of Bayport. These buses were used in the Holtsville-Farmingville School District, with one bus used to transport elementary students, and the other high school students, to Patchogue. At that time, only Blue Point students and Farmingville- Holtsville students were transported. When Sachem High School was built in 1955, the Farmingville- Holtsville students were given the option to finish out their high school years in Bayport. Elmer Fogerty would allow the drivers take the bus home at night.
He was awarded the school bus contract for 1953- 54 at the school board meeting held on March 3rd of that year. Board President Arthur Worthington presented Mr. Fogerty with a certificate signed by all members of the Board of Education and the Administration. The certificate read, “Safe Driver Award presented for the outstanding operation of motor vehicles”. In his congratulatory comments, President Washington also presented Elmer Fogerty with a gold pin signifying 34 years of continuous service and gave flowers to Mrs. Fogerty. Bus drivers were recognized and presented with pins and wallet-size certificates by trustees and representatives of both the district as well as parent-teacher organizations.
Elmer Fogerty was one of the first bus owners to hire women. He felt that women were more ‘immune’ to the noise, safer with the kids, didn’t drink as much, and had more control. Mary Tingen, the first woman to drive for him, was given no special treatment and drove for 14 years. Elmer had a way of keeping the students well-mannered and orderly by stopping by either Maude Adams residence or, the local Carvel Ice Cream Store. Flying saucers were 10 cents! George Fogerty Sr., a relative of Elmer’s, was a chauffeur to the actress Maude Adams whenever she was staying at her home on Cenacle Road in Ronkonkoma.
Elmer was close to his family. He would play Santa Clause for his grandkids every Christmas when they were young. His grandson Patrick recalled this fondly.
On May 12th, 1937, Fogerty was nominated as a Vice President of the 34th District of Central Brookhaven Republican Club. He was elected as Treasurer of Holtsville’s Republican Club on June 18th, 1941. Elmer’s petition of getting a triangle piece of land between Horseblock and Farm To Market Road for bus storage was approved on September 27, 1956.
Elmer Fogerty was married to Maude Bates Wetsel and had 3 children. They had one son, Elmer Fogerty Jr, born in 4/20/29, and two daughters, Jane Fogerty, born in 1926, and Mary Fogerty, born approximately a year later. Elmer Fogerty Jr. had three children, too. Patrick Fogerty was born in 10/29/57. Cheryl Fogerty was born on 9/14/53. Another son, Michael Fogerty, was born in 2/25/60.
Elmer Fogerty was honored by the Bayport Board of Education for his 47 years as the district’s supplier of buses. Fogerty announced his retirement on January 1st, 1985. Elmer Fogerty passed away in April of 1987.
Research and writeup prepared by Stony Brook University Intern Chaoyu Wang.