Richard Chauncey Wilson was surrounded by family when he passed away on Sunday, October 7, after a long battle with cancer.
Born in the Bronx on March 19, 1940, to Dorothy and John Wilson (a NYC police officer), Mr. Wilson was the youngest of three. The family lived in a railroad flat and Mr. Wilson attended Public School 39. In the summers they rented a small cabin with no running water or electricity on the Smithtown Bay in Smithtown. L.I., where the days were filled with swimming, fishing and bonfires for warmth and cooking.
The Wilson family then moved to Levittown, and after graduating high school, Mr. Wilson attended Arizona State University. Back and forth from New York to Arizona on Route 66 in a red 1960 Corvette that he was able to buy from his money he made delivering heavy equipment for GE, his college summers were focused on making money for the next year. He began lifeguarding at Sunken Meadow State Park where he met a lifelong friend, Bob Streck, who introduced him to East Hampton.
After graduating from Arizona State University, Mr. Wilson worked as a manager of Hertz Rental Cars in the Bronx and after many more trips out to East Hampton, decided it was time to move to the area and trusted that everything would work out from there.
Along with Streck, George Kennedy, Ed McDonald, Fred Yardley and John Tarbet, Mr. Wilson began lifeguarding at Georgica and Main Beach. His love of his new surroundings extended not only to the beautiful ocean and bay beaches, but also to his wife to be, Patricia Plansker, who he met while teaching in Sag Harbor.
They were married in June of 1970 and had three children, Jennifer, Richard Chauncey Jr. and George. Their lives centered around the beach, and their close friends. Mr. Wilson continued to lifeguard, and to supplement his income he bartended at Sam’s and Lyons, which is now Cittanuova. As a science teacher in the Sag Harbor school district, Mr. Wilson found success with his students using a hands-on approach to teaching. Because of this success and the enthusiasm of his students, he was asked to write the science curriculum for the district.
A love for science led Mr. and Mrs. Wilson to open The Village Toy Shop on Main Street in East Hampton, where among the science-based inventory, you could find Lionel Trains, board games, unusual toys and gifts, and a surf shop in the back of the store. The store was open from 1986 to 2000.
After retirement, the Wilsons loved to travel with friends and family. They traveled to California to see their son, Rick, to Australia to visit George and his wife, Danielle, and to many countries with friends and on their own. Having a drink together at a bar anywhere in the world brought them such joy. They would meet and befriend the regulars no matter where they went.
Mr. Wilson was extremely proud of his children. He was also a very proud “Poppy” of six grandchildren: Julia and Lucy Short (Jen’s children), Camron and Layla Wilson (Rick’s children), and Lyla and Liam (George’s children). He also loved with his whole heart and soul Jen’s husband Keith, Rick’s girlfriend Jenny, and George’s wife Danielle. He felt that they too were his kids.
Throughout his years of fighting cancer, Mr. Wilson served on the East Hampton School Board for six years. On the school board until his death, Mr. Wilson started the Invention Convention, implemented the first FOSS science kits, and worked hard to obtain foundation grants. During his tenure, the East Hampton School Board accomplished new programs in coding and robotics, and a full day pre-k.
Mr. and Mrs. Wilson joined St. Luke’s Episcopal Church seven years ago. Mr. Wilson worked with Father Gerardo handing out sandwiches to the day workers at the East Hampton train station, he loved hosting coffee hour, and listening to Father Dennis’s sermons every Sunday.
Mr. Wilson had many friends, young and old, who recently spent time with him down in Chauncey’s. He loved his friends, and he loved his family passionately, and loved helping people. The family asks that donations be made to: Father Gerardo, The Hispanic Ministry of the East End, St. Thomas Discretionary Fund, 315 Pine Street, Mattituck, NY 11952.