Peter Burling Robinson Dies April 10 - 27 East

Peter Burling Robinson Dies April 10

icon 1 Photo
Peter Burling Robinson

Peter Burling Robinson

authorStaff Writer on Apr 18, 2024

Peter Burling Robinson died Wednesday, 10 April, of complications of a brain tumor after a long illness. He was the great-grandson of Frank A. Burling, the founder of the East Hampton Star and the Southampton Press. The family newspaper business was run by the women of his family, as his great-grandfather died and his only child, Peter’s grandmother, Hazel Burling Brown Wilde, succeeded him. His mother then ran the paper, joined by his father during their marriage, and Peter and his sister, Leslie, were raised in the news and printing spaces of the Southampton Press when the building was on Job’s Lane, a short walk from the family home. After the sale of the family business to Donald Louchheim in the 1970s, he continued to off er edits (and opinions!) to the present editorial staff . Much as he tried to move on from that industry, it was in his blood, and his interest never left.

Peter was born to Shirley Burling Brown and William Read Robinson on October 24, 1947, in Elgin, IL, where his father was pursuing professional opportunities on his return from WWII. Th e family moved back to Southampton, Shirley’s hometown, when Peter was a toddler and his sister, was born there, four years later. Apart from his schooling, his life centered largely around Southampton Village.

He led a remarkable and interesting life. A Renaissance Man, he became expert at whatever caught his attention to study and his talents were myriad. He had a brilliant, facile mind and an extraordinary attention to detail that served him well in his professional and creative pursuits.

Peter attended Southampton Public Schools until the 10th grade attending Phillips Academy, from which he graduated in 1965. Summers, when not helping out at the Press, he worked at carpentry for local builder, Alfred Padula, whose son, noted artist and architect, Warren, was his lifelong friend. He went on to Dartmouth College, left and ultimately graduated from the University of San Diego, CA, in 1972. After earning his undergraduate degree, he went back to carpentry for a few years until he was admitted to Santa Clara University School of Law, graduating 6th in a class of 300 in 1977. Fresh out of law school, he served on the legal team that brought the fi rst class action gender discrimination suit against Hughes aircraft, representing the National Organization of Women (NOW).

He left the law and came home to Southampton to work at carpentry, at which he had a natural ability. His devotion to the medium and manual dexterity endowed his woodworking with artistry, whether a hand carved object, cabinet, or wall. He worked as project manager for decades at Peter Creegan, Ltd., and from time to time at Koral Brothers, Inc., both business owners also dear friends. He learned the art form of Japanese joinery, with his friend, Tom Matthews, on a project here, under the guidance of Jokan Ohana, who came from a centuries-old family of temple builders in Kyoto. Th e practice appealed to him as it aligned with his sense of discipline, exactitude and reverence. He attended the Bath Boat Building School in Maine, where he learned the craft returning with a dinghy he moored at Sag Harbor most summers.

One of only three local boys to begin surfing back in the 1960s, he appeared on a panel discussing the early days of the sport in Southampton at the Rogers Memorial Library, recalling winter surf sessions when ice formed on their mustaches, waiting for waves at Road G or Flies before those spots even had those names, alone in the surf. He was a gifted musician, a family trait, and as a teen, played organ at the Southampton Presbyterian Church, drums in a local garage band and loved to dance. Friends likened his piano playing to the style of Keith Jarrett.

Peter was a seeker: studied meditation in India for 3 months, sailed to Hawaii from San Francisco, CA with 2 other friends in a hand built 36-foot sloop, sailed regularly at Sag Harbor in the weekly Wednesday night races there for many years, loved country music and often traveled to Nashville to listen to it. A talented artist, he drew, painted and photographed. He was a creature of habit and routine, often forging earnest and engaged relationships with shop owners and employees alike. He loved the ocean, sailing, his Ford Transit van and AirStream trailer and spent many happy weeks traveling around the country including trips to the west coast, Vancouver and Nova Scotia. More recently, he would venture out to Hither Hills State Park to enjoy the ocean and the quiet of Montauk in the off -season before his illness curtailed those activities.

His parents, Shirley Burling Brown and William Read Robinson, and younger sister, Leslie Read Robinson Sharp predeceased him. He leaves two nieces, Emily Dawson Sharp and Clair Burling Sharp Hallyburton and her husband Garth, a great-nephew, Grey Read Hallyburton, and great-niece, Gemma Catherine Hallyburton all of North Salt Lake, Utah; brother-in-law, William Howard Sharp of Portland, OR; faithful friend Kathleen Cunningham, of East Hampton and her family: Ben Faraone and Chandra Elmendorf of Northport, ME; Rachael Faraone of East Hampton, Sara and Peter Topping of North Sea; and six adored and adoring grandkids: Henry, Max, Ella, Tanner, Wyatt and Gardiner, who miss their ‘Robby’ and his hijinks.

A celebration of his life is being planned for June. Donations in his memory may be sent to Th e Peconic Land Trust or the Rogers Memorial Library.

You May Also Like:

Juan Roque Is First-Ever Bonacker To Win New York State Greco-Roman State Title, Qualify for Nationals

Juan Roque placed sixth at the Section XI Division I Wrestling Championships in February. He ... 21 May 2024 by Drew Budd

Gold Stars and Dunce Caps

GOLD STAR To Carolyn Munaco and a group of volunteers who went out early in the morning on a cold, rainy, blustery day to save horseshoe crabs that had been trapped while spawning at a beach in Hampton Bays. High water allowed the crabs safely onto the beach to lay eggs, but then the crabs found themselves blocked from returning to the water by an erosion control structure made of stone and wire. A “bucket brigade” of volunteers boosted the crabs up and over and back into the water. It was a great example of human beings causing a problem ... by Editorial Board

Pea Soup

The storm was horrible, and its timing, too: A solid ocean chill sat upon us, and young, tender things perished. The first planting of cucumbers lost. Though covered, I couldn’t fool them. The weather was not ready, the conditions not right; nature imposes another round. You hope. There were eight trays held out, still living inside the greenhouse — they weren’t exposed. Sit tight, I tell them, the sun eventually will come out. So, too, lost are the baby birds. Washed from ill-conceived nests near gutters, swept from the branches, are featherless hatchlings, ill-timed in their birth. Poof. Little bodies, ... by Marilee Foster

Sag Harbor Historical Museum Offers a Glimpse at 19th Century Style in Summer Exhibit

“Sag Harbor Summers: 1882-1907,” this year’s exhibit at the Sag Harbor Historical Museum’s Annie Cooper ... by Stephen J. Kotz

First Baptist Church in Bridgehampton Observes Centennial With Joyous Celebration

Corwith Avenue in Bridgehampton was as quiet as one would expect to find it at ... by Stephen J. Kotz

‘Tis the Season

We are still talking about the weather, with several days of east wind. Last week, ... by Al “Big Time” Daniels

Paddler’s Paradise: Eastern Long Island

“Paddle to Lunch at Rumba” attracts a dozen paddlers every time we plan it. Put ... by Jim Dreeben

Want To Improve Your Pickleball Game? Here Are Some Tips

Let’s begin by getting one thing straight: Pickleball is not tennis on a small court. ... by Vinny Mangano

Rick Sygar of New York City and Sag Harbor Dies May 10

The irrepressible Rick Sygar of New York City and Sag Harbor passed away on Friday, ... 20 May 2024 by Staff Writer

Moral Clarity

The Democratic primary in Congressional District 1 presents a choice between John Avlon, a well-known political journalist, and Nancy Goroff, a former State University of New York chemistry professor. Avlon has been quick to identify the most important issues. He highlights women’s reproductive rights and the affordability of life on Long Island as critical, but he repeatedly cites the need to protect democratic values and institutions as motivating his run for office. In contrast, his opponent began her race with an email about climate change that sounded like it was left over from her unsuccessful 2020 campaign. Though the topic ... by Staff Writer