Port Washington resident Lawrence Chrapliwy, 71, died on Sept. 12 due to a fatal auto accident on Mackey Avenue in Port Washington. According to the updated GoFundMe page set up for Lawrence and his wife Lynn prior to the accident, Lawrence tragically died of a heart attack while driving a 1978 Toyota Chinook, or as he called it, his “plein air mobile” camper.
According to Nassau County Police homicide squad detectives, the vehicle was heading westbound on Reid Avenue in the vicinity of Mackey Avenue when it struck the west curb on Mackey Avenue and continued until it collided with a residence. Lynn was a rear passenger and suffered a collapsed lung and broken ribs and was transported by the Port Washington Fire Department to an area hospital. Lawrence was also transported to an area hospital by the Port Washington Fire Department and was pronounced dead by hospital staff at 2:19 p.m. The vehicle was impounded for a safety check.
“This is a terrible and heartbreaking situation, really for the whole community,” said Port resident Ann Latner. “If you knew Larry and Lynn, you would know that they were local Port artists. Larry was a plein air painter, and could often be found painting at the dock or other places around town. Lynn is also a talented painter. Until quite recently they lived in the Sands-Willets house, which is owned by the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society, and were caretakers there. Lynn has been a member of our band, the Front Porch Players, which plays folk music at all of the historical society events. Larry was a gentle bear of man, who always had a big, kind smile. His beautiful artwork adorns many homes in town. He will be very much missed.”
“Port Washington has lost a great artistic talent who was a master plein air landscape painter,” the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society said. “Larry Chrapliwy’s work captured the beauty of Port Washington’s history, waterfront, and landscapes as few artists have. He was loved by his students and friends. The memory of his joyful smile will live on in our town’s history.”
Lawrence was born and raised in Indiana and became a talented artist without formal training. He worked as a graphic artist and later moved to a small studio in Toledo, OH. Lawrence worked in graphic design for about 30 years, becoming talented in hand lettering and developing identities for companies through his graphic art. Lawrence retired in Port Washington, where he had lived for the last 14 years, according to his son, Keith.
“Since he had such a love for painting and drawing, he got into painting,” said Keith. “When he would get into something, he was all into it. He spent the last 14 years establishing himself as a painter. He loved Port because of the Town Dock and he would go down there and paint.”
Lawrence also taught painting to students of all ages at the Science Museum of Long Island.
“If you met my dad, you wouldn’t forget him,” said Ketih. “He had a really easy personality and liked people. No one was ever a stranger to him, just very personable, fun and had a witty sense of humor. He had a wonder to him and could capture these different moments throughout the city.”
Lawrence is predeceased by his first wife Judy Elli in 1980. He is survived by his children Kerry, Keith, Andrea and Erika Chrapliwy and Allie Russell.
Keith said that Lynn was discharged from the hospital on Sept. 14 and will be moving back to Ohio to be closer to family. A memorial was held for Lawrence at Sunset Park on Sept. 15.
A GoFundMe page, www.gofundme.com/larry-amp-lynn-need-a-helping-hand, has been updated to raise funds for Lawrence’s funeral and Lynn’s recovery.