Lake Hopatcong lost one of its all-time favorite people on Thursday, August 21. As the long-time owner of Bertrand Island Park, Ray D’Agostino made Lake Hopatcong a joyous place for thousands who grew up here or visited the northern New Jersey landmark. He created the family atmosphere at Bertrand Island that is still so fondly remembered more than 30 years after the park’s closure.
Ray was working in Dover when, in 1948, he entered into a business relationship that would change his life. Still feeling the effects of the Depression and World War II, Louis Kraus, Bertrand Island’s founder, decided to sell the park to Lorenzo D’Agostino, his son Ray, and his close friend Larry Donofrio, who were concessionaires under Kraus. Ray served as the park manager and in the 1960’s became its sole owner. Under his leadership, Bertrand Island evolved with such popular additions as Kiddieland and many new rides and games. Ray tuned Monday and Thursday evenings into “Nickel Nights” which became one of the park’s best loved features. Infectiously enthusiastic, Ray delighted in reminiscing about the park. Those who worked with him at the park remained his life-long friends.
Throughout his life, Ray was active in the community in various ways, serving as a councilman in Mount Arlington for 20 years as well as its Police Commissioner for eight years. Surviving is Vicki, his wife of 61 years and his three daughters Ramona, Donna, Delores and their families.