Obituaries: Stiber, Hanes, Warner

Sidney J. Stiber

Sidney J. Stiber

Sidney J. Stiber, husband of Dorothy Seiberling, died on December 15, 2013 at his home on Shelter Island. He was 95.

Born in New Haven, Connecticut but raised in New York City, Sidney was a true renaissance man. After dropping out of high school following his junior year, he embarked on a diverse career that included being a film writer, director and producer, sports reporter, restaurateur, an aviator (he built his own planes and made a solo flight across the Atlantic in the 60s), land developer and jazz producer.

Raised on the Upper West Side, where he had encounters as a child with Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth, he set out on his own at age 15 after his parents separated. “What saved me,” he once recalled to a local paper, “was my love of the jazz music of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and the great blues singers. This interest kept me out of trouble and spared me the fate of many kids in my gang in a less-than-great neighborhood.”

After attending the Art Students League to study painting, Sidney was drafted and served in Europe during World War II. Instead of returning to art school (“too lonely,” he later said), Sidney became a TV sports editor at TeleNews, where he covered the golden age of New York baseball for newsreels, including Bobby Thompson’s historic “shot heard ‘round the world.” He was even able to charm the sometimes surly Joe DiMaggio into being filmed.

In his mid-40s, he embarked on a 30-year film career, writing, directing and producing his own films, including one on Robert Frost that was nominated for Best Short Film at the 1961 Cannes Film Festival. Other films included Duke Ellington’s 70th birthday celebration at the White House during the Nixon administration, and Louis Armstrong at the Newport Jazz Festival. Some of Sidney’s films were used in Ken Burns’s “History of Jazz” series on PBS.

He filmed the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, the first to be televised in North America, editing the footage on a rocky flight back to New York. Once, when on assignment to profile Ben Hogan and the master golfer chided Sidney for filming him mid-swing, Sidney politely told Hogan, “I’m just trying to do my job. Mr. Hogan.” Charmed, Hogan offered to give him a golf lesson, but Sidney declined. “Thank you, but I don’t play golf,” he said to Hogan’s astonishment.

During this time and into the ‘70s, he ran 14 Lums franchise restaurants, including three in New York City and one in Roosevelt Field on Long Island.

Even though he wasn’t an architect, he built a series of pre-fab dormitory houses for Boston College, which quickly became the most popular dwellings on campus.

Since 1955, he owned his own planes, including several he built. The pride of his small fleet was the Long-EZ he built in the 1980s, which was considered experimental aircraft. “In that plane you just don’t feel like a bird, you are a bird,” he said. He was grounded in 1997 when he had heart-valve replacement surgery, but he went on to build one more — which he donated to a local college as a teaching instrument for students.

He is survived by the those he touched with his towering personality and humble humanity, of whom there are too many to name.

A memorial service is being planned.

Ruth Wernersbach Hanes

Ruth Wernersbach Hanes passed away peacefully in her sleep on December 26, 2013 in Amityville, New York. She was 79 years old.

Ruth was born on March 15, 1934 and raised in Williston Park, New York and attended Mineola High School, at which she excelled and enjoyed playing the piano. Ruth continued this love for music as she furthered her education at Methodist Nursing School in Brooklyn. Ruth earned the title of RN (registered nurse) and continued on in a lifelong career of healthcare.

Ruth married and had three children. After her children became adults, Ruth rekindled a lifelong friendship with Lee A. Hanes Jr. of Shelter Island. Ruth and Lee married in 1981 and took up residence at Lee’s family home on the Island. Ruth and Lee both shared a passion for music and the water. Ruth served as “first mate” on their boat and often sailed along Shelter Island’s shoreline. They also went on many cruises to various tropical locations.

Ruth was extremely talented at knitting and was known for her quality sweaters and gloves. Friends said a day wouldn’t go by that you would not see Ruth or the rest of her family modeling her own work. Ruth also became an active volunteer at Mashomack Preserve and at the Senior Activity Center, of which she was a founding member of the Mah-Jongg Player’s Club.

Ruth was predeceased by Lee, her husband for over 20 years. She is survived by her three children: Cathy Putland Blados of Elizabethton, Tennessee; Laura Ward of Amityville; and Danny Putland (Terry) of Elizabethton. Ruth was also a grandmother of seven: Gretel French, Eleanor French, Anna Rose (Patrick), Benjamin and Steven Putland, and Bryan and Patrick Ward. Ruth was also the proud great-grandmother of two: Evan Rose and, most recently, Emmeline Rose.

Ruth was laid to rest in a brief ceremony on December 28, 2013 at Nassau Knolls Cemetery. She will be greatly missed by all of her friends and family. In lieu of lowers, the family would like all donations to be made to the Shelter Island Senior Activity Center, an organization that she enjoyed and always wanted to see thrive.

Edward Douglas Warner

Edward Douglas Warner, 82, passed away peacefully on December 29, 2013 at Southampton Hospital.

Doug, as he was known to his family and friends, was born on June 20, 1931. He was the son of Edward J. Warner and Elizabeth (née Hallock) Warner. He grew up in Quogue, helping his father, a commercial fisherman, eeling in the Shinnecock Bay.

He graduated from Westhampton High School and Stroudsburg College in Pennsylvania. He was drafted to the Korean War shortly after graduation. He served in Korea for two years as a medical attendant in the U.S. Army.

On his return from the war, he continued his summer job, working at Bohack’s supermarket, where he became a manager and set up many of their markets on Long Island.

In 1960, he bought his own grocery store, Pat and Howard’s Market in Quogue. In 1965 he bought another store, Fedi’s Market, on North Main Street in East Hampton. Doug and his family moved to East Hampton shortly after that. He sold Pat and Howard’s Market and in 1969 he opened a second Fedi’s Market on Shelter Island. The Shelter Island store stayed open every day until March 31, 2013.

From 1973 to 1979 he also had a hand in building and running Jan-Su Stables, a horse farm named after his two daughters, Jan and Sue. At the time, the horse farm was one of the largest on the East End with 56 stalls and a 200-foot by 96-foot indoor arena. He put on many successful indoor and outdoor horse shows at the stables. This led him to become one of the founding committee members of the Hampton Classic Horse Show.

By the early 1980s he had sold the East Hampton market and the horse farm and gave all his attention to Fedi’s on Shelter Island. For 44 years, Doug and his store were pillars of the small Island community.

His allegiance to the town and the Shelter Island Fire Department developed over those years. His family said he would open the store after hours if the department needed him, and when his Parkinson’s disease got too bad, he gave a key to the ladies auxiliary so they would always be able to serve the firefighters.

He also enjoyed donating the Fedi’s food raffle to the Fire Department’s annual Country Fair.

He will be remembered proudly by his daughters, Jan Warner of East Hampton, Susan Warner of Sag Harbor, and by Dorothy Kosowski, his beloved longtime companion.

Note: Doug’s family submitted the following as some of “Doug’s Favorite Things”: The New York Yankees, dinners out with Dee, watching Jan in the horse shows, talking sports (as long as it wasn’t with a fan of the Red Sox, Boston Celtics or Notre Dame), yelling at salesmen and delivery men, going to Sue’s sports games (tennis, basketball, softball), vacations with Dee, work (and never being late for it), Broadway shows, Lou Rawls.

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