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Jul 7, 2009 7:47 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Building Inspector, Don Sharkey, found dead at 47

Jul 7, 2009 7:47 PM

East Hampton Town Building Inspector Donald Sharkey was found dead at his home on Montauk Highway in Amagansett Monday afternoon. He was 47.

Detective Sgt. Chris Anderson of the East Hampton Town Police Department said Tuesday that Mr. Sharkey’s death “does not appear suspicious in nature preliminarily.”

He added that he does not expect any more information soon on the cause of death because police are awaiting the results of the medical examiner’s report. He refused to comment on whether Mr. Sharkey had any known medical conditions.

East Hampton Town Police responded to a call at 3:17 p.m. and detectives and employees from the Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office were on the scene Monday afternoon.

East Hampton Town Police Chief Todd Sarris said that Mr. Sharkey was dead when police arrived at his house.

Town Supervisor Bill McGintee said Monday afternoon that his office was notifying Mr. Sharkey’s family in Virginia.

“I’m devastated,” Mr. McGintee said. “Don was one of the finest guys I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. He was a great building inspector, but more importantly a great guy.”

Mr. Sharkey’s colleagues in the Building Inspector’s office were in a state of shock on Monday afternoon.

“Whenever I’ve seen him socially, he’s just one of the nicest guys in the world,” said Phyllis Schaening, who worked in the office next to Mr. Sharkey’s. “He knew his business. He was a town fixture that everyone thought would be here forever.”

According to employees of his office, friends had grown concerned when Mr. Sharkey missed a golf tournament over the July 4 weekend that he was expected to attend.

Mr. Sharkey was a member of the South Fork Country Club in Amagansett and the Amagansett Fire Department. Morry Blutstein was also a member of both organizations.

“I was in the fire department with him for 20 years and had been with him as long as he was at South Fork,” he said. “He was an excellent golfer, very fair, and he knew the game well. He played with a lot of enthusiasm. He was just a really dear friend and always willing to help and enjoyed the game immensely.”

“He loved to do construction work himself. He bought his house and rebuilt it himself. He was quite talented in the building areas,” he said.

Mr. Blutstein said that Mr. Sharkey was also very involved in the Wounded Warrior program, which raises money for disabled veterans.

Amagansett resident Dominick Stanzione, who is a member of the fire department’s ambulance corps., said that he was on the ambulance call to the scene of Mr. Sharkey’s death, but that it had been cancelled when they learned that Mr. Sharkey was dead.

“I’m crushed. For me he was a brother in the fire department,” he said. “I’m going to miss him. It sounds trite, but it’s the truth.”

Mr. Stanzione said that no one in the fire department that he’s spoken to was yet aware of the cause of Mr. Sharkey’s death.

The building inspector’s office was closed Tuesday so that the staff could recover from the loss of their chief.

“I’d ask the public to be patient with us,” Mr. McGintee told attendees at a Town Board work session Tuesday. “We’re extremely short-staffed. Donny had been with us an enormous amount of time.”

Mr. McGintee, who said that he believed Mr. Sharkey had died sometime Sunday, said that flags throughout the town will fly at half-staff to honor Mr. Sharkey’s memory.

Town Board member Pat Mansir was still in shock after learning the news Monday afternoon.

“That is a stressful job,” she said after hearing the news on Monday. “That guy was always there. I never disagreed with any of his determinations. He was a very kind, good-natured man who would go out of his way to help people.”

Ms. Mansir said that Mr. Sharkey had been an employee in the building inspector’s office when she first joined the town’s Planning Board 17 years ago.Elizabeth Bambrick, the co-chair of the East Hampton Department Heads Association released a statement on behalf of the heads of town departments on Tuesday morning.

“The members of the East Hampton Town Department Heads Association are shocked and saddened by the untimely passing of our friend and colleague,” she wrote. “Don Sharkey will be missed.”

Yardley & Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton will be handling the funeral arrangements, though no plans had been made and no further obituary information was available Tuesday afternoon.

Reporter Carolyn Kormann contributed to this story.

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He will be missed-great guy
By Neighbor (10), East Hampton on Jul 6, 09 4:54 PM
Don was one of the nicest guys i ever met. He had a big heart, was a smart man, and one hell of a human being. My heart goes out to his family. I'm sorry.........
By DOTTS76 (8), HAMPTON BAYS on Jul 6, 09 8:47 PM
Farewell to a true gentleman. This town lost much today. Bye Don, good luck on the other side! See you there.
By Gabrielle Brady (9), East Hampton on Jul 6, 09 8:50 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Gabrielle Brady (9), East Hampton on Jul 6, 09 8:50 PM
R.I.P,donnybob,you left us too soon.
By montauk resident (41), montauk on Jul 6, 09 9:47 PM
Don was a great guy, and was always good for a laugh.
The Amagansett Fire Department will miss him too.
By Dyanna (1), East Hampton on Jul 6, 09 10:46 PM
The Town will miss you. Sleep peacefully.
By EastEnder (6), Sag Harbor on Jul 7, 09 12:13 AM
An amazing up-beat guy, who was dedicated to his job. We will sorely miss him and his wonderful smile. I will lift one for you Donny!
By Waincott Resident (42), Wainscott on Jul 7, 09 9:28 AM
Whenever I needed hlep with a building matter, Don was always there - most of the time dropping everything to get what I needed. I've worked with him for many, many years. He was the most knowledgeable, nicest person you ever wanted to meet. The Town has lost a true gentleman.
By Ms. Jane Q. Public (147), Southampton on Jul 7, 09 9:31 AM
Though I moved away from East Hampton a number of years ago, I always remember Don as a really great guy. He was always very social, happy, outgoing and had a great sense of humor. He will certainly be missed.
By Chubtone (7), Boston, MA on Jul 7, 09 2:44 PM
Don was really a super person, knowledgable, and patient. blessings to his family. East Hampton has really lost a gentle man and gentleman.
By a1lady (2), eastport on Jul 7, 09 5:17 PM
Don was one of the good guys - always a laugh and a cheerful smile
He will be missed greatly - He loved golf and a was one of our best members
He dealt with adversity in his job and in life the best way you can, calmly and with patience - He truly will be missed by a great many - God bless Don
By sfpro (22), Southampton on Jul 7, 09 5:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
I first met Don when I was waitressing at O'Mally's (now Wei Fun). Don was one of the nicest persons I could have ever have met.

When I first heard this news through a friend of mine via text message last night...I was in shock.

Don...will be missed by all! What a wondeful man!!
By eb (2), Southampton on Jul 7, 09 5:57 PM
Don was a great man to the industry. Years ago when he was secretary for the Building Inspection Association his mind was always working for a better East Hampton. The consumer was his priority to safe and sound. Every contractor who knew him, Don was known to be fair and professional. So young, so short, so missed. As we wave goodbye on his ship of fate, there on arrival will be the sounds welcome. So long friend.
By Goumba (3), East Hampton on Jul 7, 09 6:36 PM
Work will never be the same, He will be so missed by us all that worked in the office with him. I still don't believe it. RIP Don.
By annglen (1), East Hampton on Jul 7, 09 6:42 PM
We'll miss you Don,
You always carried yourself in a worthy and decent way. When I didn,t know what the hell I was doing opening up a business and later renovating my houses, you always the patient helping honorable man.
Enjoy your flight and remember we still need your 'get her done' spirit done here
By BlackDog (47), East Hampton on Jul 7, 09 7:49 PM
Another ANGEL looking over us. To Lynn, Thomas and Tom so sorry for your lose. God has a plan. God bless with all our love to you.
By novotnycrew (1), new market on Jul 7, 09 9:40 PM
Good man who will be missed as a professional and a real nice guy.
By truthinbonac (46), Amagansett on Jul 8, 09 3:36 PM
What a wonderful, kind-hearted and good-spirited man. Don, you surely will be missed by all. Thank you for all you have done for this town and for us. You always brought light into the room and will be greatly missed.
By pine1217 (6), EH on Jul 9, 09 12:06 PM
I was a classmate of Don's in HS from his hometown of Massapequa Park. The news started to spread about his passing and yes, we are all in shock. He was always sweet, friendly, and funny, and seems he hadn't changed by the comments I read above. I wish I lived closer to be able to make the services, but I know you will have some dear friends there from Pequa. You were taken much to soon Don. . . R.I.P. You will always be in our hearts, and will be missed!
By lizard (1), Lexington on Jul 10, 09 8:58 AM
The last few days have been very difficult for all those who knew and loved Don. Don touched so many lives in so many different ways. His contagious smile and laugh will be missed. Don didn't have a prejudice bone in his body, he could meet anyone at their level and make them feel welcomed and accepted. Don may have left this earth, but his memories will live in the hearts and minds of those he touched. Don's had a favorite saying "Can you keep a secret, so can I"; and the look he would give you ...more
By OutEast (3), East Hampton on Jul 10, 09 3:24 PM
Don.. I can still hear that laugh...and we heard it alot in Mass Pk! For our HS group, being kind-hearted and having a sense of humor got you in...qualities Don had from day one. RIP my friend
By Berner81 (1), Branchburg on Jul 10, 09 3:51 PM