by Ken Giustino
One of Montauk’s deep-rooted families – the Gosman’s – lost a dear father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend. On Saturday, March 20th, John Sr. lost his life to cardiopulmonary arrest resulting from Covid-19 pneumonia.
The smiling face of this successful businessman, with a long family history here in Montauk and patriarch to the successful Gosman’s Dock, will be missed by all.
Born to Robert and Mary Gosman, John grew up in Amagansett and Montauk as Gosman’s Dock grew from a quaint lobster shack on the dock, to the sprawling multi-restaurant, shops, seafood shop, and retail fish market destination that it is today. His parent’s story of running the small shack on leased land where they prepared and sold fresh shellfish, chowder, and hotdogs, as well as Mary’s infamous ‘lobster rolls’, is legend.
After high school, John attended and graduated from St. Bonaventure University, and then served in the Army. In 1962 he married Rita McKernan, making their life in Montauk, running the business with his family and eventually their three sons John Jr, Christopher, and Michael.
I first met John when I started The Montauk Sun newspaper in 2000. The best time to catch him was early morning when among other things he’d be shucking clams. He would sometimes like to talk music, Jazz was his first choice. It was obvious that John loved music; in 1972 he established the free concert series providing the town with an array of musicians and genres, with the beautiful Montauk harbor as the backdrop. Families enjoyed lounging on the lawn, sharing a picnic dinner, or dining on lobster rolls, fresh local seafood, and ice cream from the Clam bar. He could often be seen out in the center of the property by the gazebo or the stage enjoying the live outdoor shows. In addition, he wholeheartedly supported the Montauk Music Festival and allowed us to utilize the gazebo throughout the weekend, as well as the stage for the Montauk student musicians to give their afternoon showcase on the Friday of the festival.
In addition to his three sons, three brothers, Emmett Gosman and William Gosman of Montauk, and Richard Gosman of Vero Beach, Fla., and Montauk also survive, as do seven grandchildren: Peter and Sophie Gosman of Springs, Lucas Gosman of Montauk, McCoy and Maeve Gosman of Essex and Montauk, and Keira and Devon Gosman of Shoreham. Many nieces and nephews also survive. A brother, Hubert Gosman, and a sister, Roberta Gosman Donovan, died before him.
Mr. Gosman was cremated, and his ashes will be interred at Fort Hill Cemetery in Montauk. A funeral Mass will not be offered because of the pandemic; a memorial service is scheduled for later in the spring.
His family has suggested memorial contributions to the Montauk Playhouse Community Center, at montaukplayhouse.org/donate; the Montauk Food Pantry, montaukfoodpantry.org/donate, or the Sierra Club, sierraclub.org.
Rest in Peace John, you will be missed.