Harold Burt Dominy, a Wainscott plumber, clockmaker, and veteran, died on June 17 at the VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. He was 91.
Mr. Dominy, who was born in Southampton on Dec. 30, 1921, to Erastus J. Dominy and the former Elizabeth Ginn, grew up in East Hampton and graduated from East Hampton High School in 1938. He joined the Army Air Corps in 1940 and served during World War II for the next five years as a radio and radar operator. In 1950 he was recalled and served with the Air Force in the Korean war for a year.
Mr. Dominy married Christine Simmons in 1942 in Palm Beach, Fla. They settled in Wainscott, where he owned his own plumbing and heating business, Little Village Plumber, until retiring in 1971.
After their retirement, the Dominys became snowbirds, spending the winter months in Boynton Beach, Fla., and the rest of the year in East Hampton. They were married for 63 years.
At the age of 74, Mr. Dominy picked up a tradition bequeathed by his ancestors. The Dominy family of craftsmen came to East Hampton in 1669, about 20 years after the town’s founding. Nathaniel Dominy (1714-1778) was the first of the Dominys to make clocks, furniture, and coffins for the people of the town. Succeeding generations followed in the tradition until the Industrial Revolution, when mass factory production drove them out of business.
Harold Dominy began making clocks in honor of his heritage, but his designs in no way resembled those of preceding generations. His family said he would claim that “they were made to tell time, that’s all. They’re very narrow.”
He made both clocks no bigger than tissue boxes and everything in between, including elegant six-foot-tall grandfather clocks, using a variety of woods. One long-case clock was made of zebra wood, the family said, “giving the square door the illusion of curves.” He worked in a basement shop full of tools, with stacks of wood along the walls.
An amateur ham radio operator since 1939, Mr. Dominy once came across some computer circuit boards in an electronics supply store. He glued a clock face to the circuit board and built a 21st-century Dominy clock.
Time was not of the essence when he was in his workshop. “If I kept the time I wouldn’t be making any of it,” he told his relatives.
Mr. Dominy is believed to have made some 30 or 40 clocks after retiring, many of which are owned by family members. His grandfather clocks can be found in local churches and at the American Legion Hall in Amagansett.
His wife died some years ago. He is survived by two daughters and a son, Beverly Fick of Wainscott, Sharon Dollinger of East Hampton, and Harold Dominy of Boynton Beach. He also leaves eight grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and 2 great-great grandchildren.
Mr. Dominy was cremated. There will be a graveside ceremony in East Hampton at a time and place to be announced.