Sometimes on Sunday nights, after Tom Ripley had logged countless hours over the week at the first company he’d ever owned, Grand Avenue’s Maspeth Glass, he and his wife Lorraine would sail out to the Manhasset Bay with their two young children, and through binoculars look at the glittering homes across the water.
“Wouldn’t it be nice to live there,” they’d say to each other, to their children. Some 50 years, two businesses and 10 grandchildren later, it was in a glittering house in Manhasset, his home for more than three decades, that Ripley passed away on July 2, 2015, just a few days short of his 86th birthday.
One of Maspeth’s most successful entrepreneurs, Ripley started out as a new Marine Corps grad with a $200 loan from his parents and went on to build numerous businesses throughout Maspeth, reaching customers across the country and employing 17 from his Grand Ave. store at its peak.
“Tom was always someone that could look at something and imagine what it could be,” said John Horan, Ripley’s son-in-law and protégé, over coffee at the Fame Diner last week. “He could see a jewel in the rough, see the ability or potential in it, and follow through.”
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