Robert Godfrey Plitt, for more than three decades the owner of Plitt Ford Mercury, the last auto dealership in the Town of East Hampton, died of natural causes at home on Huntting Lane in East Hampton Village on Aug. 19. He was 87 and had lived here for 57 years.
“It’s actually a pretty great story,” Michel Plitt Wirth, Mr. Plitt’s daughter, said. “Both my father and mother had spent their childhoods summering on Shelter Island. One day they were on their way to the beach in East Hampton and, on a whim, my father walked into Willard Motors and asked the owner if it was for sale. He bought it that day on a handshake.” The year was 1954.
Willard Motors was on Pantigo Road where CVS is today. The business operated there as Plitt Ford Mercury for 18 years before moving to Wainscott in 1993. Mr. Plitt remained active in the business until its closing in April 2009. The dealership was known for excellent service and, over the years, won loyal customers.
He was born to Godfrey Lewis Plitt and the former Martha Wegner in Flushing, Queens, on Jan. 10, 1924. He attended the Foxwood Academy in Great Neck and received a bachelor’s degree in business from Trinity College.
Mr. Plitt served in the Army Air Corps for four years during World War II. After the war, he became a sales representative for General Motors, leaving when he bought Willard Motors.
Throughout the 1950s and ’60s, Mr. Plitt was a member of the Guild Hall Players, a popular amateur theatrical group. He was a Mason and a member of the Trinity College Half Century Club, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. His children said he enjoyed tennis and was devoted to his family.
Mr. Plitt is survived by his wife, the former Shirley Schulum. They would have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary on Sept. 17. In addition to Ms. Plitt Wirth, who lives in East Hampton, he is survived by a son, Jeffrey Plitt of Springs, and three grandchildren
Mr. Plitt was cremated and his family held a private service. They have suggested donations in his memory to the East Hampton Village Ambulance Association, 1 Cedar Street, or the East Hampton Village Police Benevolent Association, 30 Broadway Avenue, both in East Hampton 11937.