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Oct 31, 2017 3:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bradley Marmon, Longtime Owner of White's Pharmacy In East Hampton, Dies at 91

Oct 31, 2017 3:08 PM

Bradley Stanley Marmon—pharmacist, fisherman and longtime owner of White’s Pharmacy in East Hampton—was a boy from the Bronx who became a Bonacker.

Mr. Marmon died Sunday of Alzheimer’s disease, according to family members, in Lakewood Ranch, Florida, just weeks before his 92nd birthday.

Born November 15, 1925, he was the oldest of four children of John and Thelma Marmorstein. Mr. Marmon grew up in the Bronx and Manhattan’s Washington Heights area. A bright student, he was a member of the third class to graduate from the Bronx High School of Science, in 1943.

While there, he was selected to work with the physicist Harold Urey and other scientists at Columbia University who were developing uranium fuel for the proposed atomic bomb that was developed by the massive military Manhattan Project. His work on gaseous diffusion, separating two isotopes of uranium, won him an Army commendation.

“He said it was very challenging work,” Stephen Marmon, his son, said on Tuesday. “I don’t think he looked back on it fondly, but it was very interesting for him to do. This was very advanced nuclear physics, and he was fascinated by it.”

Mr. Marmon then served in the Pacific during World War II. A corporal, he was a radio operator for the Army, an interest he would maintain his entire life as an avid ham radio operator. Mr. Marmon’s son said his father’s call sign was KA1HR, and that he erected a nearly 75-foot-tall transmission tower by the garage of his house on Mill Hill Lane.

“He loved the ham radio—it could connect and let him talk to people all over the world,” Stephen Marmon said. “He even taught me Morse code and got me my ham radio license.”

Returning from the war, Mr. Marmon married Betty Lewis in 1947 and, using the G.I. Bill, started taking classes at Columbia University’s School of Pharmacy, graduating in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree. He worked in pharmacies in New York City and Bay Shore before moving to East Hampton with his family in 1954.

There, he purchased both the White’s business and its building at 81 Main Street from owner and operator William White. Now White’s Apothecary, and with another store in Southampton Village, the business has roots dating back to 1873 and remains the oldest business establishment in East Hampton.

“He was looking for a pharmacy and a good community to live in,” his son said. “There weren’t that many drugstores out in the Hamptons. Most towns would only have one, maybe two, and there just weren’t that many for purchase in those days.

“The Hamptons was a beautiful place to grow up in and come out to in the 1960s. It just seemed like a perfect fit.”

During his years owning White’s, Mr. Marmon expanded it many times to add more to offer to customers. Famously, White’s started featuring leading cosmetic lines from Lauder, Revlon and other companies under Mr. Marmon’s management. The younger Mr. Marmon said his father even spoke to the Revson family, who founded Revlon in 1932, asking permission to put Revlon cosmetics on the shelves.

“One of the strengths of White’s, even today, is bringing in the cosmetics lines that had you could only see in big department stores,” his son said. “This was one of the few drugstores where this was possible. That really cemented the business in terms of the summer customers, because that was something they very much wanted.”

Mr. Marmon and his wife, Betty, quickly became active in local civic organizations, serving as co-chairs of the American Cancer Society’s anti-smoking and cancer prevention fundraising campaigns. Mr. Marmon joined the Masons, where he rose to become a 32nd-degree member, as well as the VFW. He and his wife also were members of the Jewish Center of Hamptons.

He initially took up golf, becoming one of the first new members of the South Fork Country Club in Amagansett after its reopening in 1959.

But the attraction of fishing soon overtook Mr. Marmon’s attraction to golf.

Within a few years, he started surfcasting along the beaches of Montauk and East Hampton. Then he got his first boat, the Rx, which was soon followed by larger vessels, the Refill and then the Therapy.

Mr. Marmon said that his father kept his boats in Three Mile Harbor, fishing in the waters of Gardiners Bay, as well as the Atlantic near Montauk Point, frequently with friends and family. His catches often provided fresh fish not only for the meals of his family and numerous friends but also for local restaurants, including Chez Labatt and Gordon’s.

Before long, Mr. Marmon’s love of boats and fishing sparked his membership in the local chapter of the Power Squadron and the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary. He rose to leadership positions in both organizations and spent many hours standing watch at the Coast Guard’s Montauk base.

He sold the White’s Pharmacy business in 1998, hoping to retire and travel with his wife. But Mrs. Marmon’s death later that year forced a change in those plans.

He then moved to Bradenton, Florida, an area where he and Mrs. Marmon had vacationed before. From then on, he golfed and also traveled to such destinations as New Zealand, Hong Kong and Hungary—where some of his ancestors had emigrated from—as well as enjoying visits from his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“I think he was someone who cared about helping people. I think that’s part of the reason why he was in the pharmacy business,” his son said. “He wanted to help and be involved in the community. He really believed in giving back to the town where he lived.”

Along with his son, Stephen, of Pearl River, New York, Mr. Marmon is survived by daughters, Nan Marmon Kaftan of Bradenton, Florida, and Elise Marmon of Needham, Massachusetts; grandchildren, Matthew Sabel, Zachery Sabel, Elizabeth Marmon, and Annabelle Raymond; and two great-grandchildren, Wesley and Violet Sabel. He also is survived by a sister, Hilary Marmon of Warwick, New York.

In addition to his wife, Betty, he was predeceased by a brother, Lloyd Marmon, and sister Mona David.

Cantor Debra Stein will officiate at services at 1 p.m. Thursday, November 2, at the Shaarey Pardes Accabonac Grove Cemetery, 306 Old Stone Highway in East Hampton. The family will be sitting Shiva that afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Jewish Center of the Hamptons.

Contributions are encouraged to the Jewish Center of Hamptons, 44 Woods Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937, or to the Alzheimer’s Association National Office, 225 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60601.

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