Silvestro Avallone

Jan. 19, 1932 - Jan. 12, 2014
Silvestro Avallone - Jan. 19, 1932 - Jan. 12, 2014

       Silvestro Gabriel Avallone, who helped refurbish the historic houses that eventually became East Hampton’s Town Hall, died on Jan. 12 in an Oro Valley, Ariz., hospice. He was 81 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer last June.

       Mr. Avallone was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 19, 1932, to Joseph Avallone and the former Camilla Destasio. He grew up there, but as soon as school was out each summer, his family would head to Amagansett, where his father, who played the French horn with the Metropolitan Opera Company, had built a house. Come Labor Day each year, it was back to Brooklyn.

       He graduated from New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst, then joined the Army, serving in the Korean War. On Oct. 9, 1954, he married Dorothy Demes. The two had known each other since the eighth grade and had been high school sweethearts.

       For the first 15 years or so of their marriage, Mr. Avallone worked for the Torjeson Company in Brooklyn, which installed partition doors at schools and hospitals. He traveled a lot for his work and often had to be away from his wife and three sons. The family lived in Seaford, then Staten Island, and finally moved to East Hampton, where he went to work for Clark E. Smith Builder in Southampton, which had the exclusive contract to restore the historic buildings that Adelaide de Menil and Ted Carpenter brought to their 40-acre spread on Further Lane. Ms. de Menil and Mr. Carpenter eventually donated most of those buildings to East Hampton Town, and they were moved to the town property on Pantigo Road to become the new Town Hall complex.

       The Avallones moved from East Hampton to Oro Valley 17 years ago, but on a trip east last May, Mr. Avallone had the opportunity to see the buildings in their latest incarnation. “He was impressed,” his wife said.

       While in East Hampton, he also helped to build Bran Ferren’s house in Springs. When Mr. Ferren’s special effects company in Wainscott was bought by the Walt Disney Company and Mr. Ferren moved to Beverly Hills, he called Mr. Avallone out of retirement to help him renovate his house there. “He said, ‘You know how I work. I don’t want anyone else,’ ” Mrs. Avallone recalled. The couple lived in Santa Monica while Mr. Avallone worked on Mr. Ferren’s California house.

       After they moved to Arizona, she said, “He didn’t want to touch wood anymore, so he went into doing copper sculptures.” The sculptures are displayed throughout their house there, and though people often asked, he never sold them, she said. In Oro Valley, “He was Mr. Fixit for all the neighbors.” 

       In addition to his wife, Mr. Avallone is survived by his three sons, Karl Avallone of East Hampton, Mark Avallone of Oswego, N.Y., and Eric Avallone of Los Angeles. He also leaves three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a brother, Alfonse Avallone of West Palm Beach, Fla. Another brother, Gabriel Avallone, and two sisters, Anna Raneri and Mae Lacapolla, died before him.

       Mr. Avallone was cremated. A service with military honors was held at the Adaire Funeral Home in Oro Valley on Jan. 15.

       The family has suggested memorial contributions to a cancer charity or a hospice of choice.