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Long time resident, James "Jim" Creegan, 95, passed away peacefully on October 4th, 2023 surrounded by his loving wife of 74 years, Eleanor, and his family. Jim also known as "Big Jim" to family and friends and Grandpa and Poppy to his seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren was born on May 26th,1928 in Brooklyn, New York. He was raised on Long Island, New York and lived in the towns of Montauk, Freeport, Uniondale and West Islip. Jim enlisted in the Marine Corps during WWII and was a sergent at Parris Island. He then served in the occupying forces in the Mediterranean. After leaving the Marine Corp, he joned the Rockville Centre Police Department until his retirement in 1974. During his police officer career, he was president of the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association. Under his leadership with the PBA, he lobbied and got passed a NY State Bill for an earlier retirement option for police officers after 20 years on the job. His slogan was "Twenty is Plenty" and the retirement benefits he fought for still stand today.
After his own retirement from the Police Department, he moved his family first to Punta Gorda, Florida in 1974 and then to Hilton Head Island in 1978. He was the original GM/Harbor Master at Hilton Head Harbor Marina from 1978-1988 and then owned and ran the Island's Dairy Queen. Upon his second retirement he continued his love of fishing and discovered the game of golf. His wife, Ellie, owned Main Street Travel, so they enjoyed the perks of travel and visited many countries and sailed on too many cruises to count.
Jim leaves behind the love of his life, Eleanor "Ellie" Creegan, daughters Kim Decost (Jim), Mary Frances Chaney (Bill) and Jackie Thompson, grandchildren Jon Corby, Adam Gilmore, Hannah Smith, Alexander Betka, Zachary Betka, Jake Thompson, Emily Thompson Starling, and great grandchildren Dylan, Lani, Callie and Hailey Gilmore and Zeke and Zac Corby. Jim was preceded in death by his two beautiful daughters Regina "Gina" Creegan and Cristyne Creegan Corby who we know were there to bring our Dad home to Heaven.
Big Jim/Dad/Grandpa/Poppy was a giant of a man in many ways. He had a booming voice, a quick wit and was always the life of the party. One of his claim to fame was his thick shock of gray hair that much to the chagrin of his son-in-laws, he kept until his final day on earth. He loved his wife fiercely during their 74 years of marriage, was devoted to his five daughters and was so very proud of all his grand and great grandchildren. He kept tabs on his family, extended family and friends through Facebook. If you posted, he commented! He loved God, his country, his fellow brothers in Blue and The Ink Spots.
There is so many things to miss about this man with a tough exterior and a sensitive and emotional interior. But one thing that stands out was his love of giving toasts and speeches at every single family gathering. Whether it was a wedding, birthday, graduation, Christmas or just a simple family dinner, he always had a beautiful speech or toast at the ready. These speeches were emotional and dotted with humor but usually there wasn't a dry eye in the room after he was done. Our Dad, Grandpa and Poppy was a devout Catholic who always recited the Memorare Prayer by heart at family gatherings before the meal. It is a beautiful prayer that we will now recite in his honor.
A funeral Mass will be held at St. Gregory the Great's St Andrews Chapel in Bluffton, SC on December 1st at 10:30 followed immediately by a reception at St. Gregory the Great's Community Center. A Military burial at Beaufort National Veteran's Cemetery in Beaufort SC.will begin at 2:00 pm. All are welcomed.