Born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1904, Earl A. Towers grew up in the small Canadian town of St. Thomas where his father was a funeral director and owner of Towers Funeral Home. It was here young Earl Towers readily accepted his father's profession as his future life work. He left Canada in 1924 to study at mortuary schools in different parts of the United States graduating from [Gilda Gray] The Cincinnati School Of Embalming at the age of only 16. Earl Towers was the youngest licensed embalmer in North America!
In 1933 Earl Towers bought the white columned building, well known as a landmark at the intersection of Long Beach and Foxhurst Road, from Gilda Gray, the “Golden Girl” of Ziegfield Follies Fame. Gilda Gray was the famous “shimmy dancer” from the “Roaring Twenties.” After divorcing and losing her money in the stock market crash, she moved to California making several movies. She continued to visit her old home and new owners, the Towers family, each year for many years.
In 1941 Earl and his wife Florence became the parents of a baby boy, Robert Earl Towers.
A local resident since 1933, Earl Towers witnessed Oceanside grow from a small hamlet into a spread out community of more than 36,000 people. He recalled polo fields for horses, hunting grounds for ducks, a 10 acre zoological tract that housed Long Island's collection of wild animals, the old Roadside Rest where musicians would gather (for many years the site of Nathan's), and St. Anthony's famed underground shrine [Funeral Home] (destroyed by fire in the 1960's).
Citing the deed as proof of his claim, Earl was proud of the homes original structure (much of which is still intact today) dating back to 1776. A footnote to the building's history is the story that the first owner of the property came from England with the recipe for Worcestershire with him. In 1962 an addition was built and the two structures are now connected by a hall.
Earl Towers, Oceanside’s adopted son, was active professionally until his death in 1990, at the age of 86. He energetically perused all his interest in the community and it's organizations. He was a charter member of the Oceanside Kiwanis Club, involved in the Oceanside Board of Trade and at one time its president. For many years was a member of the Oceanside Fire Department, he was a Shriner and served on the board of councilmen of the Oceanside Lutheran Church. After 50 years of dedicated service and work of the appellation, Earl was honored over and over by his hometown as an Oceansider par excellence.
In 1990 “The Triangle” located at the fork of Long Beach Road and lower Lincoln Avenue in Oceanside, was dedicated, after his passing, to Earl Towers honoring him for decades of giving to the Oceanside community and it's people.
Bob Towers grew up in Oceanside, observing his father's active participation in community organizations, learning the importance of Oceanside's needs and realizing its necessities. Oceanside has been home to Bob his entire life. He was born at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside and attended Oceanside's public schools. Upon graduating he studied for four tears at Wagner College, Staten Island, graduating with a B.S in Business Administration. A Vietnam War Veteran, Bob served in the U.S Army Intelligence and Operations with the First Cavalry during 1965. Upon returning home, Bob attended and graduated from the American Academy McAllister Institute of Funeral Service, Inc. After receiving his Funeral Director's license, he worked side by side with his father, being the third generation funeral director in his family. Later managing and directing the family business which has served the communities of Long Island for more than 75 years.
Bob has been an active member of the Oceanside Rotary Club for over 40 years and was presented with the prestigious Paul Harris Fellowship Award in 2000 for his services to the community. Bob has been active in the management of the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce for the past 20 years, serving as it's President 1996, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2007. Bob and his wife, Kathy were both significantly instrumental with the conception through completion of the “Liberty Lighthouse” working with Nassau County through the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Triangle Beautification Project, seeing to it's every detail of transformation over the 8 year period of time. For Kathy's conceptual sketches and dedication to The Triangle and lighthouse project, she was presented with a plaque citing her selfless contributions to Oceanside community.
Written of Bob by a local newspaper; “Bob has a caring nature he has made many generous contributions to religious organizations, school clubs, and community organizations. [Patriotism] He has actively reached out to Oceanside Kiwanis Club, Special Olympics, school clubs such as MADD, SADD, Oceanside's Dawn Delirium and Rotary's Health Care and Food Drive. Bob has done a lot to improve the shopping district of Oceanside through the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce Beautification Program which took foothold during his term as Chamber president. It was Bob, himself a Vietnam War veteran, who initiated monthly chamber dedications honoring the fallen heroes of our town. Coordinating with the V.F.W., American Legion, Jewish War Veterans, and Fourth Degree Knights, Bob met with many family members, and officiated at the dedication ceremonies. Bob serves his community in any way that is necessary and is always willing to donate to causes that will help others.”
Honored by the Oceanside American Legion for his patriotism, a community newspaper praised Bob by writing; “His patriotism after the attacks of September 11th is known through the community. His kindness and compassion helped ease many families through their loss on that tragic day. In addition, Bob offered the professional services of Towers Funeral Home, as well as his staff to participate after Flight 800 Crash on Long Island. It is thanks to Bob that we have American flags placed all over Oceanside reading “Proud to Be an American”. There has been a “God Bless America” sign on the front lawn of the Funeral Home since 9/11, erected feet away from our American Flag. By his side through all these activities is his wife of over 40 years, Kathy Towers. Bob and Kathy continue to work in their community, and church, for the betterment of the town, and it's people.
For the many things Bob has quietly done for the children and people of Oceanside, it is obvious why the Chamber Of Commerce would choose him as Business Person of the Year.
Though semi retired now, Bob has entrusted the day to day operation of Towers Funeral Home to his loyal staff, the next family which will honor and carry on the Towers family tradition. It consists of William (Bill) Kallinikos, his daughter Krissie, son-in-law George, and of course Tim, Frank and Amy.