As a teenager, Robert Byrnes lived in the Montauk village located on Fort Pond Bay at the time. It was during Prohibition and he was known to help local bootleggers on occasion.
Mr. Byrnes died at Southampton Hospital on July 31. He was 92 and had been ill for the past few years.
Mr. Byrnes was born in New York City but grew up in Valley Stream, where he became a star football player for Valley Stream Central High School. In fact, he purposely flunked his senior year so he could return to the gridiron, his family said.
He first came to Montauk with an uncle. After high school he moved there and never left, except during the war.
When the United States entered World War II, Mr. Byrne joined the Coast Guard. During the war, the Navy took over Fort Pond Bay to accommodate torpedo testing operations. After the war, the newly married Mr. Byrne moved with his wife, the former Miriam Ammon, to Montauk’s Shepherd’s Neck community.
He began working on commercial fishing boats, and later, with a partner, Sy Sarris, he ran the Marion H. During the winter months he worked as a carpenter.
According to his daughter Eileen Byrnes, Mr. Byrnes never lost his love of sport. “When he first got out of the service he played baseball. A photograph shows him wearing a shirt with ‘AFD’ on it, must have been the Amagansett Fire Department team.” Ms. Byrnes said her father later played with the local softball league, bowled, and played basketball in the Montauk School gym well into his 70s.
Mr. Byrnes was a member of the Montauk Fire Department and the proud owner of golden retriever dogs. In addition to Ms. Byrnes of Montauk, he is survived by his other daughter, Nancy Byrnes, also of Montauk. He leaves his sister Nancy Gillespe of Seaford, as well as four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Byrnes loved to watch his grandchildren play Little League ball.
Mr. Byrnes was buried at Fort Hill Cemetery in Montauk with a Coast Guard color guard in attendance. Memorial contributions were suggested for East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach 11978, or the Montauk Ambulance Squad, 12 Flamingo Avenue, Montauk 11954.