John Alfred Frith, who worked with Bran Ferren in Wainscott on special effects for such movies as “Making Mr. Right,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” and “The Manhattan Project,” died on April 6 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He was 62 and had “a number of long-term illnesses and was under constant care” of doctors, family, and friends over the past 20 years, according to his family.
“He was well known for his brilliant integration of engineering and creative design,” his family said. He started at Mr. Ferren’s company in 1984, and while there he also worked on classified government projects. When Mr. Ferren sold the business to the Walt Disney Company, Mr. Frith stayed on and became an “Imagineer” until he retired in 1996 because of health problems.
Born on June 14, 1949, to Clara and Norman Frith, he grew up in Saratoga Springs, graduating from high school there in 1967 and going on to attend the State University at Plattsburgh. He met Jane Van Nostrand while in college, and the couple were married in August 1973. They lived in Saratoga Springs and Albany, and Mr. Frith began his own business, Digilin Audio Lab. He also worked for Randix Industries, a subsidy of RCA.
In 1981 he took a job as a senior systems electronics engineer at ITT in Southampton, and the couple and their two children moved to Bridgehampton, where they renovated a building on property owned by Ms. Frith’s parents. There they raised their children while caring for her parents.
In May of last year, Mr. Frith and his wife traveled to Scotland and England to visit his aunts and an uncle. The Frith family’s roots in England go back to the 1800s.
Mr. Frith, who was “well known for his quick wit and dry humor,” his family said, became close to the nurses who cared for him during his illness, especially Erin Grismer and Kimberly Anne Sherman and their families.
He is survived by his wife and his son, Justin Dray Frith, both of Bridgehampton, a daughter, Meaghan Alexis Guzman of East Hampton, and by three grandchildren. A half brother, Norman Newkirk of Islip, also survives.
A memorial service is planned for June 2 at 1 p.m., at the Friths’ house in Bridgehampton. Those who wish to attend have been asked to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Donations have been suggested to the National Kidney Foundation, 30 East 33rd Street, New York City 10016, or online at kidney.org.