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Apr 20, 2016 9:19 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Ceal Havemeyer, Preservationist And Advocate For The Underprivileged, Dies At 68

Apr 20, 2016 11:14 AM

Ceal Havemeyer, a champion for the East End’s downtrodden and a workhorse for preservation of Southampton’s history and character, died on Easter Sunday at the age of 68. She had been battling pancreatic cancer since last summer.A native of the privileged pavement of New York City’s Upper East Side, Ms. Havemeyer dedicated much of her life to fighting for fairer and better treatment for the underprivileged people in Southampton Town, helping victims of tragedy and giving quiet boosts to those in need.

As a longtime member of Southampton Town’s Anti-Bias Task Force, Ms. Havemeyer led campaigns for more diverse hiring at Southampton Town Hall, for employing Spanish-language interpreters at Southampton Hospital, the construction of shingle-roofed bus shelters on public transportation routes throughout the town, and the creation of the Hillcrest Avenue playground.

She marshaled relief drives following Hurricane Katrina—mustering the donation and delivery by local fire departments of older fire trucks and loads of firefighting equipment to New Orleans departments that had lost theirs to the floods—and after the September 11 terrorist attacks, as well as the donation of school equipment for Iraqi schools following the U.S. invasion there.

Ms. Havemeyer’s clipboard-toting organization skills and prioritization of the South Fork’s 9/11 donations drive allowed local trucks filled with donated supplies to be shepherded directly to Ground Zero by city emergency managers, whereas others’ loads of donations were re-routed to sorting centers.

“Ceal was happiest when she was helping other people,” her husband, Fred Havemeyer, a former Southampton Town Trustee, said last week. “Something in her just wanted to help, whether it was people who are being unfairly treated or just those who have had bad luck heaped upon them.”

Ms. Havemeyer was born Sarah Cecile Hoge on November 16, 1948, in New York City. The eldest child of William Hamilton Hoge and Sarah Collins Hoge, she was raised on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue and spent summers in Southampton. After attending the Chapin School and Finch College in New York City, Ms. Havemeyer worked as a model in London for two years. She met Frederick Havemeyer, a fashion photographer at the time, at a beach in Southampton, in 1969. They married the following May.

Their love of horses and the outdoors brought the couple to settle on the East End, first in Sagaponack and then in Bridgehampton, where they purchased the historic farmhouse once owned by Captain Andrew Jennings.

An avid equestrian from her earliest years, Ms. Havemeyer was a board member of the fledgling Hampton Classic horse show in its days at the Topping Farm in Sagaponack.

Ms. Havemeyer quickly took to local involvement and activism, her husband said. She co-founded a Southampton Village historic preservation group that fought for the preservation of the Halsey House, Stanley Howard Estate and the Parrish Art Museum.

A onetime member of the Rogers Memorial Library board of trustees, she pressed the board to diversify and shift to elected trustees, and drafted historic covenants on the 19th century Jobs Lane library building. She then spearheaded a grass-roots campaign that ultimately derailed plans by the Parrish Art Museum to expand its facilities in the village with new structures that would have swallowed historic features of the two neighboring properties—a battle that brought much criticism of the opposition group, and of Ms. Havemeyer in particular, from some corners of the community when the Parrish, a longtime cultural centerpiece, moved out of the village.

“A lot of things she spoke up on were unpopular,” Ms. Havemeyer’s brother, Hamilton Hoge, said. “But in the end, the community is better for it. Total devotion, to her, was the right thing to do.”

While most of Ms. Havemeyer’s charitable and community efforts were front and center in the public eye, at the podiums of municipal meeting rooms, many more—from funding preservation efforts to paying college tuition for some local students—were directed very privately, her family said, purposely avoiding credit or praise.

“I hope she set an example for others,” Mr. Hoge said. “It’s not the thanks you get that’s important, or the attention, it’s what you get done in the end that counts.”

Besides her husband, Ms. Havemeyer is survived by two children children, Charlotte and Frederick; two sisters, Cynthia Ann Bartlett of Hawaii and Daphne Noel Hoge of Florida; and her brother, Mr. Hoge, a resident of Southampton.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to East End Hospice’s Kanas Center, PO Box 104, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.

A memorial Mass will be held for Ms. Havemeyer at the Basilica of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in Southampton Village on June 4 at 2 p.m.

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RIP, you will be missed not only by your family but by many friends and residents.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Apr 20, 16 1:18 PM
1 member liked this comment
so sad great woman
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Apr 20, 16 5:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
A huge loss for our community and a wonderful leader
By HamiltonHoge (1), New York, New York on Apr 20, 16 6:49 PM
2 members liked this comment
Condolences to the family.
By baywoman (165), southampton on Apr 25, 16 8:32 PM
Really classy woman with Southampton in her heart...
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Apr 26, 16 9:08 PM