“Montauk is filled with magic, mystery, and miracles,” Eugenia Rice Bartell once wrote. She shared her love of the place with the children of St. Therese of Lisieux church before embarking on a career in real estate, while keeping up on all the hamlet’s doings as the community editor for the Montauk Pioneer newspaper. After the Pioneer folded, said her daughter Carla Markson, she dreamed of starting a newspaper in the hamlet herself, but it was not to be. She died on April 4 at her Garfield Avenue residence of complications from emphysema. She was 75.
She was born in New York City on June 19, 1937, the daughter of Willard K. Rice and the former Eugenia Sellenings. She attended Friends Seminary in the city until the family moved to its summer home in Port Jefferson. She graduated from Earl L. Vandermullen High School there and went on to graduate from the State University at Oneonta.
Soon after, she married her high school sweetheart, Michael Caraftis. The couple had two children, Ms. Markson, who lives in Mount Sinai, and Timothy Caraftis of Port Jefferson.
The couple lived for a year in Mannheim, Germany, while Mr. Caraftis served in the Army. When they returned to Port Jefferson, she finished her education at C.W. Post College and began teaching second graders. “My mother loved to teach, and the children responded well to her enthusiasm,” her daughter said.
Another daughter, Genia Silva, who lives in Pennsylvania, was born during her second marriage, to Edward Bartell, who died about 15 years ago.
Her mother often said her “real” life began with a single trip to Gurney’s Inn in 1968, Mr. Markson said. “She was quickly assimilated into this easy-going community, reading to children at St. Therese’s Nursery School, managing the gift shop at Guild Hall, and becoming a real estate agent with the firm of Monte and Monte.”
In addition to her three children and Mr. Caraftis, who lives in Port Jefferson, Ms. Bartell is survived by her brother, Willard K. Rice Jr. of Nashua, N.H., and five grandchildren.
Ms. Bartell was a member of the Montauk Community Church, where a memorial service will be held on May 4. Memorial contributions have been suggested for the Animal Rescue Fund, P.O. Box 901, Wainscott 11975.