WILLIAM FINDLEY MCCOY, JR.
William F. McCoy, Jr. of Sagaponack, beloved husband of Barbara Brummer McCoy, passed away peacefully December 24 at the age of 91. He was born on December 10, 1929 at the Norwegian Lutheran Hospital in Brooklyn to William F. and Marian (Jacobsen) McCoy of Bridgehampton.
A lifelong resident of Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, Bill loved all that the area had to offer. One of his first memories was of the 1938 Long Island Express hurricane which he often described to his family, friends and historians. As a boy Bill enjoyed trips to New York City to visit his extended family including side trips to Coney Island. He especially loved spending time with his beloved grandfather who immigrated from Norway. His grandfather was the captain of the ferry that brought immigrants from Ellis Island to Battery Park and young Bill would proudly ring the ship’s bell as the ferry was navigating through New York Harbor.
Bill was a 1947 graduate of Bridgehampton High School and a 1951 graduate of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. He also studied at Fordham Law School..
After attending college, Bill served his country from 1951-53 with the United States Army in the Allied Occupational Forces in Germany. Upon returning home he worked in the insurance industry in New York City and East Hampton and was the Suffolk County Assistant Treasurer in Riverhead before working at the Sag Harbor Savings Bank.
In 1971 he began a storied career as a local real estate broker until this past year mostly working under his own company McCoy & McCoy Real Estate. At that time the area was just starting to transition from primarily a farming community to a resort second home market. His honesty combined with his vast local knowledge and contacts contributed much to his business success. It was typical for a client to end an appointment with a handshake and a ride on the ocean beach in his Jeep.
Bill contributed much to his community in public service He was a Southampton Town Justice of the Peace. When the five justice governing system transformed into the current model he won the election in the initial councilman class. Upon re-election in 1972 he outpolled the popular (at the time) President Nixon in a landslide victory. He was on Southampton Town’s Senior Citizens Committee and capped off his 45 years of public service as the long-time Southampton Village tax assessor.
Judge McCoy (as he was still referred to decades after he left the bench) had a reputation of being a soft spoken “out of the box” thinker governing his court room in a fair manner. According to local attorneys he was considered a tough judge and one who they respected for the force of his gavel. He was also respected for giving many a second chance and a door of opportunity to learn their lessons of life with a mentor instead of behind bars.
Bill was often referred to as the unofficial mayor of Bridgehampton. He was instrumental in the 2005 establishment of his beloved Incorporated Village of Sagaponack. As a retired judge he continued serving his community as a wedding officiator. He performed countless weddings at halls, estates and picturesque outdoor venues including on the shores of the ocean. One of his most memorable weddings was the time when he asked who the best man was and a wagging dog confirmed by an affirmative bark that it would be he. On another occasion the bride entered her ceremony by riding a white horse over the dunes.
In addition to his service to local governments Bill was the chairman of the local Salvation Army chapter. He served on the Sagaponack School Board of Education. He was a lifetime member of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church serving as an Elder and Deacon and sang in the choir with his beautiful bass voice. He was also a Civil War historian and collector. He always looked forward to his annual family vacations in the Carribean especially St. Maarten..
In addition to his wife Barbara of 63 years , Bill is survived by his 4 children and their spouses William E. (Seirin) McCoy of Sagaponack, Julia M.(Joseph) Cavanaugh of Wenham, Massachusetts, Holly M. (Rob) Gonsalves of Barrington, Rhode Island and Edward (Ted) J. (Christel) McCoy of Lake City, Florida. He also leaves his cherished grandchildren Andrew and Colin Cavanaugh, Nicholas McCoy, Lily Gonsalves, Isabella and Coral McCoy and Ted’s stepsons Dominick and Anthony; his sister in law Peggy McCoy, nieces, a nephew, cousins and many friends. He was predeceased by his parents and brother Albert E. McCoy, Sr..
The family wishes to thank the staff of the Westhampton Care Center for the exceptional care that Bill received during the past 9 months.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that memorial donations be in the form of an act of kindness for another Funeral preparations are under the direction of the Brockett Funeral Home. A graveside memorial service at Sagaponack Cemetery is planned for the spring.