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Long Island Aquarium Owner Found Dead at Age 48

Jim Bissett found dead in parking lot in Mattituck.

Jim Bissett, the co-owner of and the recently-opened Hyatt Hotel in downtown Riverhead, was found dead in his car in a Mattituck park parking lot on Wednesday night.

According to Southold Police, an officer on routine patrol spotted a parked car at shortly before 6 p.m. His death is being investigated by Southold Town Police and the Suffolk County Medical Examiner's Office.

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley said foul play is not suspected.

Bissett, 48, had of a 5,000-square-foot exhibition center and 100-room hotel, a $24 million expansion to the downtown aquarium complex. He lived on Cox Neck Road in Mattituck.

Said Bissett the night of the opening: "I'm feeling good. I'm feeling relaxed. There's good things happening in Riverhead. I hope everyone enjoys the butterflies as much as I enjoyed designing and building the exhibit."

Bissett's family owned and operated Bissett Nurseries, with locations in Dix Hills and Holtsville.

Long Island Aquarium released the following statement: "The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center, Hyatt Place East End Hotel, Bissett Nursery, and Treasure Cove Resort Marina communities mourn the loss of co-owner and founder, James J. Bissett III, who died on Wednesday, December 14 near his home in Mattituck, NY. He was 48.

"No words can adequately express our sadness at Mr. Bissett’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much."

Peconic Sunset December 15, 2011 at 05:21 PM
He had a wonderful vision for Riverhead and it was amazing to watch it unfold. Condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace.
Paul Squire December 15, 2011 at 07:04 PM
Phil Gatz wrote on Facebook: "OMG! This is just awful, such a loss for his family & our community."
Erin Schultz December 16, 2011 at 01:58 PM
DogTown Daycare said on Facebook: "Really sad he was s great person. Rip"
Joseph Pinciaro (Editor) December 16, 2011 at 03:58 PM
Out of respect for the family of the deceased this comment thread has been closed, and comments based on rumor have been deleted.

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