Stephen Bitel

After graduating LMHS in '61 I attended The Catholic University of America to major in physics, transferred to Adelphi University to major in math and minor in art with a BA followed by a MA in Applied Science/Mathematics.  I decided to become a teacher so I walked over to the Ed. department and asked when I could start student teaching. I was told, "Not so fast. I had to take a bunch of courses first, but if I knew a teacher who would allow me to observe some of his classes, that would be helpful."

I walked out thinking of who I could ask to observe. I saw a man standing on the steps of another building whose back was to me but still looked familiar. I walked over to him. It was Mr. Lenihan, my geometry teacher! I told him of my plans and certainly I could observe his classes. We discussed the lessons afterward over coffee. He was a tremendous influence on me and my upcoming carrier. 

I started at Amityville Jr. High School, moved to the HS, then relocated to Farmingdale HS where I taught math and computer science for the next 30 years. I became an adjunct instructor at Adelphi University in the departments of math and education.

I got a postcard from one of my former students telling me that I inspired him to become a math teacher. He is now a retired math chairman from a high school in Florida. I sent Mr. Lenihan a postcard to inform him that he was a grandfather.

Over the period of those years I was a volunteer fireman, a private pilot, went to London where I bought a motorcycle,  learned to ride it on the "wrong side of the rode" and took off on one of the greatest adventures of my life!  I spent the summer of 1967 travelling on my bike throughout central Europe until I got to Copenhagen where I had it shipped home and hitchhiked back to London in time to catch my flight back to the USA. (Having a motorcycle always allowed me to find parking at Jones Beach field 6.) I also got married and have one child, a daughter, who earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience.

Another "mainstay" of my life is my other home. About 40 years ago I designed a house, had the "shell" built and decided to do all the rest of the work to finish it myself - electrical, plumbing, carpentry, sheetrock, etc.  I've got good mechanical "chops".  It's located in the small hamlet of Willow 7 miles west of the center of town of Woodstock, NY. I'm still working on it! I probably hold the record for consecutive building permits in the town of Woodstock!

Several people at the '60s reunion remembered me as a trumpet player in our HS band. As a senior I was the principal trumpet player in the band. I also played in a jazz band while in HS organized by a musician neighbor.  I took up the trumpet again several  years ago and played in the Farmingdale and Seaford community bands. That musician neighbor was also an artist and furthered my artistic interests.

My main foray into the art world is through photography which I was "hooked on" ever since I saw the magic of a picture appearing on a piece of print paper in the developer. I was about 7 years old at the time. I decided that my artistic abilities were a lot more well developed as a photographer than a trumpet player. I gave up the trumpet and have become an award winning fine art photographer. You can find my work as well as my photo biography on my website: photographybybitel.com.

We're all in the same age bracket and I'm sure we can compare health issues. However, we are still around to discuss those problems as opposed to the alternative. It saddens me to see that there are 72 of our late classmates listed on the "Gone But Not Forgotten" page and these are the ones we know of.