Robert E. Fordham, a lifelong resident of Sag Harbor and a man who was described as kind and gentle, died of complications related to quadruple bypass surgery while at his vacation home in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Feb. 6. He was 69 years old.
Described by his family as an 11th generation Fordham in Sag Harbor, Mr. Fordham was born to Hiram (Hydie) and Dorothy Fordham on July 13, 1943. He left for the Vietnam War shortly after graduating from Pierson High School. Following two years of service in the Army, he returned home to marry the former Eileen Archibald in 1968.
Until his retirement, Mr. Fordham worked as a telephone company lineman and service technician. He had devoted many hours to the Sag Harbor Fire Department for the past 42 years. A member of its Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company, he was known for the aerial ladder and was both a captain and warden.
Mr. Fordham was a Boy Scout leader who held meetings at home and helped scouts learn to use tools correctly and develop respect for one another. Over the years, he and his wife devoted countless hours to their children’s schools and St. Andrew’s Catholic Church, helping to run carnivals, fund-raisers, and dinner dances. Mr. Fordham’s family said he always had a story to tell or advice to give. They added that he loved his children and absolutely adored his grandchildren.
Mr. Fordham is survived by his wife and their three children: Scott Fordham, Heidi Fordham Wilson, and Kiersten Fordham Simmons, all of whom live in Sag Harbor. In addition to six grandchildren, he also is survived by a sister, Judy Gregory, and a brother, Donald Fordham, who also live in Sag Harbor.
A wake was held at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in Sag Harbor on Feb. 12, followed by burial at St. Andrew’s Cemetery in Sag Harbor. Donations have been suggested for the Sag Harbor Fire Department, Brick Kiln Road, Sag Harbor 11963, or the March of Dimes, 515 Madison Avenue, 20th Floor, New York 10022.