There were a lot of sides to Debra Marino’s personality, her husband, Richard Kresberg, said to the hundreds of people gathered at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons in Southampton for her funeral on Friday, “but her mentality was part rock star, part British royalty, so she’d appreciate this crowd.”
Ms. Marino, a Sag Harbor fixture for many years, died at home in Amagansett on March 10. She was 51 and had been diagnosed with lung cancer three years ago.
Born in the Bronx on May 22, 1962, to Carl Marino and the former Barbara Hager, she grew up in Yonkers, but spent summers in Sag Harbor until her family became full-time residents of the village when she was 14. She graduated from Pierson High School and was lured to New York, where she earned her bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
The punk/new wave movement was at its zenith, and she was a habitué of clubs like CBGB and Danceteria, where she would catch bands like the Talking Heads or the B-52s, and sometimes stage fashion shows. One of her favorite groups of that era was the Ramones, but she also loved British punk, the Clash in particular.
She migrated from fashion to the music industry, working in artist management and production. Among her favorite artists to work with were John Luongo, an early master of the remix, and Steven Machat.
She loved to travel and in the early 1990s made Kiev her home for about six months. There, she was inspired by the Orthodox faith, and embraced the religion for the rest of her life. She found spiritual sanctuary in the traditions and rituals of the church, her family said. “She lived her faith,” Father Constantine Lazarakis of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons said in material provided by her family. “If there was a food drive, she would be the first one there with a carload of groceries.”
Ms. Marino moved back to Sag Harbor in 1993 and began a new career as a real estate agent at Harbor Cove Realty, which at the time was across the street from the Provisions natural foods market. She met her future husband, the owner of the market, in 1996. They were married on Sept. 27, 1998.
Their son, Aaron, was born the same year. “She felt that being a parent was the most important job in the world,” her family wrote.
When her son reached his teenage years, she found time to become politically active. She was an early supporter of President Barack Obama, setting up campaign tables outside of Provisions, and was the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton team leader for the campaign’s Organizing for Action group. She also ran the local Organizing for Action re-election effort in 2012 and was active in Representative Tim Bishop’s re-election effort in 2012.
She loved collie dogs, and could often be seen walking with her dog, Sasha. She also enjoyed the beach, travel, reading, nature, good food, and anything British.
Father Lazarakis and the Rev. Christopher Calin of the Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection in New York officiated at her funeral. She was buried at St. Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery in Sag Harbor.
In addition to her husband and son, she is survived by her mother and her brother, Carl Marino Jr., both of Sag Harbor.
Contributions have been suggested to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1078, Westhampton Beach 11978, or the Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons, 111 St. Andrew’s Road, Southampton 11968.