Obituary of Aloise X. Golly
Aloise Xavier Golly of Larchmont, New York passed away on November 7 at the age of 96. He was born in New Rochelle on January 23, 1927, to Aloise Matthew Golly and Bridie O’Donnell Golly. Al was a 1945 graduate of Iona Preparatory School and a World War II veteran of the United States Navy.
Al is survived by his devoted wife, Cheryl S. Cohen, and their daughter, Amelia Cohen-Golly. He is also survived by his daughters Gayle Mastromonico; Linda Strand (Charles); Janet Best (Jim Magrone); and Beth Hicks (Robert) from his previous marriage to Kathleen Galvin Golly. He leaves behind eight grandchildren: Michael Mastromonico; Jordan Mastromonico; Alison Mansoor; Nick Strand; Casey Trauger; Emily Gilsenan; William Hicks; and Hannah Best as well as nine great-grandchildren. Al was predeceased by his sister, Dolores Golly Lynch and by a grandson, Benet Mastromonico.
Al was often called “Red,” a reference to his deep auburn hair. The nickname persisted long after his hair turned white. Al grew up amid his family’s bustling floral and landscaping business, Flowers By Golly. From a very young age, Al assisted with the round-the-clock demands of cultivating and propagating greenhouse plants. Horticulture was a vocation and passion passed down from his beloved paternal grandfather, Francis Xavier, who had designed gardens in Paris. Like his grandfather and father, Al learned to identify most any tree or shrub by its leaf arrangement, bark, or flowers.
After completing his Naval service in Guam, Al returned to the family business in New Rochelle and later worked throughout Westchester for the Bartlett Tree Company. Al was involved in planting and maintaining many of the magnificent specimen trees still flourishing today. An example is the majestic weeping cherry tree on Larchmont’s North Chatsworth Avenue.
In the mid-1960s Al made a career change by joining CBS Television, where he had a long and distinguished career as a video editor and supervisor. He was honored by receiving four Emmy awards for his technical achievement in sports programming. Al traveled extensively to set up football, basketball, golf, and political convention coverage ‘on the road.’ He was witness and participant to the evolution of broadcast technology—from the era of capturing images on heavy reels of two-inch video tape to the development of one inch tape, VHS, Beta, and digital recording. Al contributed his skills to programs including “The NFL Today”; “The CBS Evening News”; the soap opera “As The World Turns”; and the iconic “Ed Sullivan Show,” where he recalled meeting The Rolling Stones before they became famous. Al shared his knowledge generously with many younger co-workers and was regarded with much affection and respect.
Growing up near Long Island Sound, Al developed an early love of the water. Swimming, rowing, fishing, and lobstering were his favorite pastimes. Al used his fine carpentry skills to build more than one sea-worthy boat in his own backyard. He became a spirited sailor and excellent navigator, carefully reading the clouds and currents. Bluefish and bass were his favorite catch. In winter, Al was a graceful ice skater, heading out early with his children to enjoy the frozen lakes and ponds.
With a mind for mechanics and circuitry, Al would happily repair your car, your washing machine, or your watch. He loved tinkering with cameras and devoted time to becoming a skilled amateur photographer, even setting up his own home darkroom. Al had an innate talent for drawing and watercolor painting. He was rarely without a pencil in his pocket or behind his ear, with which he could quickly sketch out plans for a simple dollhouse or a complex home addition. Al was particularly pleased with his fun invention for slicing bagels into thirds.
Al was endlessly curious and widely read. He was a fan of Joyce as well as Le Carre. Museums and libraries were treasured spaces. He could lose track of time in bookstores as he poured over woodworking magazines, collections of old maps, and cookbooks of all kinds. Coaxing him out could be a major challenge!
Al was definitely a ‘foodie,’ adventuresome in exploring a wide range of cuisines. Still, nothing beat his favorite indulgence—the simple joy of a ‘well done’ slice of Sal’s pizza. As a cook, Al was precise and patient. There was no rushing him as he labored to create a batch of perfectly caramelized onions. Steaks were expertly seared in his favorite cast iron pan. On weekends Al happily prepared his French grandmother’s famous crêpe recipe.
Al adored the arts, especially live performance. He proudly attended his children’s school plays and dance recitals. Symphonic music and opera drew him to Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. A Strauss waltz or Irish ballad could bring tears to his eyes.
Throughout his life, Al never declined an opportunity to hike or picnic. Favorite locations were Rye Marshlands, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, and his beloved Harbor Island in Mamaroneck. Happy times were had exploring the small towns of Washington County, NY, where he and his family had great fun canoeing down the Battenkill River. A memorable adventure was hiking the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail and exploring the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon, a trip he talked about for years.
After retiring, Al continued to devote great energy to gardening. He was proud of his vibrant dahlias, zinnias, hollyhocks, and giant elephant ears. He delighted in bird-watching, several times witnessing wrens fledge from his homemade birdhouses. Al always had an easy and deep bond with animals, caring for many beloved dogs, cats, and (once) a pet crow. In Autumn Al enjoyed raking leaves; he was an early proponent of keeping them to use for mulch. He looked forward to the invigorating tasks of splitting and stacking wood for the fireplace. Halloween was another opportunity for Al’s creativity. Over the years he designed and sewed numerous original kids’ costumes, and his special pumpkin-carving technique always drew the neighbors’ oohs and aahs.
Throughout his life Al demonstrated great resilience and determination. He rarely complained. Through difficult times Al remained optimistic. When physical limitations set in, he just tried harder, always expressing an abundance of love and gratitude.
Al maintained a sense of wonder: marveling at dramatic sunsets, meteor showers, a heron in flight—even at the beauty of a finely tuned engine. The sound of rain and thunder beckoned him. An enduring image is of Al throwing on his favorite yellow slicker and heading outside, smiling—into the storm.
Donations in Al Golly’s memory can be made to Friends of Marshlands, P.O. Box 237, Rye NY, 10580.