Marvin Sidney Cullum, who was called Sid, started working in his father’s repair shop on Three Mile Harbor Road in East Hampton in 1935, when he was just 10 years old. According to his family, he and his brother, Russell, their father, Sidney, and their cousin Harry had a reputation as “mechanical geniuses.”
Employing his impressive mechanical know-how and “unparalleled work ethic,” he was known for “ ‘Cullumizing’ items thought to be hopeless causes, often returning them in better-than-new condition,” his family wrote.
Mr. Cullum, who lived in Springs, died on March 12 at Southampton Hospital. Mr. Cullum, who had been ill since January 2011, was 86.
He was born on Dec. 10, 1925, in Detroit to Sidney Cullum and the former Susan Ramon. Both were from the South Fork, and the family moved back to East Hampton when he was a small child. After graduating from East Hampton High School, Mr. Cullum joined the Navy, completing two tours in the South Pacific. He loved the discipline and dedication required in the service, according to his family, once saying that “except for the possibility of getting torpedoed, it was just about the most fun one could have.”
Upon returning home after the war, he again went to work at his father’s shop, Sid Cullum Inc. “He was justly proud of the repairs he and his brother made on Clark’s Shelter Island ferry, a job no one else would take,” his family wrote. He enjoyed not only the mechanical challenges, but also the discipline involved. He continued to work at the shop until his latest illness.
He also liked being on the water, and kept his 31-foot Chris-Craft, Lady Love, at the town dock on Three Mile Harbor Road. He enjoyed fishing, but “he didn’t care if he caught any fish as long as he was out on the bay,” his wife, Mary Louise Cullum, said. He also was a member of the American Legion.
Mr. Cullum’s first wife, Betty Jane Odell, and his brother, Russell Cullum, died before him. He is survived by his second wife, the former Mary Louise Dragotta, and his children, Timothy Lee Cullum of East Hampton and Renée Looman of Skiatook, Okla. He also leaves three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and a niece.
A service for Mr. Cullum was held on Friday at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton. His family has suggested memorial contributions to the Springs Fire Department Ambulance Company, 179 Fort Pond Boulevard, East Hampton 11937.