William George Cassidy was born on Oct. 9, 1884, in the old village of Winfield, today’s eastern Woodside. He married Charlotte Koehler, who was born in Germany, on Nov. 25, 1908. U.S. Census records confirm he had an eighth-grade education, but rose to become a locomotive engineer for the Long Island Rail Road on the old steam engine trains. He bought a 25-by-100 corner home at 130-02 95 Ave. in South Richmond Hill, walking distance from where he worked. The last of their five children was John, better known as Jack, born in March 1927.
Jack was introduced to show business as a teenager by a relative and quickly excelled with his golden baritone voice. In June 1948, he married Evelyn Ward, a dancer four years his senior. In April 1950, they had a son, David, who later gained fame in “The Partridge Family.” In 1956, Jack fell in love again. He married Shirley Jones and they had three sons. He became a larger-than-life figure as an actor, singer, writer and designer — one of the most Tony-nominated musical actors in Broadway history. He and Shirley divorced in 1975. In her 2013 memoir she confirmed his alcoholism, bipolar behavior and same-sex affairs took a heavy toll on their relationship. On Dec. 12, 1976, at age 49, he fell asleep with a cigarette on his naugahyde couch after drinking and died in his penthouse apartment in a raging fire. City finance records today list his childhood house at a tentative value of $536,000.