William Bain

Of Rowe’s Pharmacy
William Bain

    William Peer Bain Jr., a pharmacist who was born above the family drugstore in East Hampton, and an Army officer in charge of recruiting on the East End, died at home in Boynton Beach, Fla., on Sunday of pancreatic cancer after a long illness. He was 84.
     At the time of his birth, on Sept. 30, 1928, Mr. Bain’s parents, William P. Bain Sr. and the former Mary Easter Elrod, lived in a tiny apartment above Rowe’s Pharmacy at the corner of Main Street and Newtown Lane in East Hampton. The senior Mr. Bain, a druggist, ran the pharmacy for many years, although he was elected East Hampton Town supervisor in 1960.
    William P. Bain Jr. joined his father in the business and took it over after his father, who died at 69, became ill. He grew up in the village, graduated from East Hampton High School, and continued his education at Columbia University, graduating with the class of 1950 with a degree in pharmacy. He returned home to work at Rowe’s Pharmacy (the name was never changed) for 43 years. In 1967, he and two partners opened Devon Pharmacy in Amagansett. It closed in 1984.
    While still a student at Columbia, Mr. Bain joined the National Guard. In 1952, he graduated from the Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., and was given command of recruiting and training guard units on the East End.
    The training was to have taken place in an armory to be built near East Hampton Airport. Instead, training took place at the Life-Saving Station at Georgica Beach in East Hampton until 1959. Mr. Bain retired from the Army with the rank of major in 1964.
    In 1951, Frances Griffing of East Hampton and Mr. Bain were married. She soon joined him at the pharmacy as bookkeeper. In 1955, in the same apartment above the store where he was born, the couple became parents of identical triplets, the first ever born in the village. A fourth son was born in 1964.    
    Mr. Bain was an Eagle Scout and, later, a fund-raiser for the scouts. He was active in many community organizations, serving as a member of the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors for 12 years and as its president for 2. He was a 50-year member of the East Hampton Lions Club, and a member of the Lost Tribe of Accabonac, the American Legion, and the Korean War Veterans. He was a life member of the Veterans of the Seventh Regiment.
    Mr. Bain was a student of American history, politics, and economics. He and his wife studied family genealogy amd attended six summer sessions at Samford University in Birmingham, Ala. They discovered that Mr. Bain had two great-grandfathers who fought in the Civil War, one on the Union side, one with the Confederacy.
    He and his wife retired to a house on Three Mile Harbor when the pharmacy building was sold in 1989 and began spending winters in Florida and summers on their boat, a 36-foot Egg Harbor. Mrs. Bain died three years ago.
    Mr. Bain is survived by the triplets, William G. Bain of Marietta, Ga., Robert E. Bain of Vestal, N.Y., and James S. Bain of Wabash, Ind., and by his youngest son, Francis H. Bain of Greenville, S.C. He leaves 10 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
    Mr. Bain’s ashes were to be buried beside his wife’s at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton. A memorial gathering will be held at a future date.
    Memorial contributions were suggested for the Hospice of Palm Beach County, 5300 East Avenue, West Palm Beach, Fla. 22407, for the East Hampton Lions Club, P.O. Box 1278, Wainscott 11975, or for American Legion Post 419, P.O. Box 1343, East Hampton 11937.