William Rockliff Claxton III, a surfer and lifeguard who loved adventure and his red 1961 MGA sports car, died on April 22 at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he had undergone surgery. He was 62. A longtime Amagansett resident, he had been living in Sunnyside, Queens.
Mr. Claxton, who was called Rocky, was born in Darien, Conn., on May 7, 1951, to William R. Claxton and the former Maureen Palmer. He and his parents summered in Amagansett for many years, and he eventually made it his home. He attended East Hampton High School, where he was a football star, and graduated in 1969. He also studied at what was then known as the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University in Brookville, receiving a degree in film studies and becoming a grip in New York film production. He worked on numerous films and television commercials during his career and became a member of the New York Chapter of the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees in 1979.
Mr. Claxton loved the ocean and was an excellent swimmer. He was a lifeguard at Georgica and Main Beaches in East Hampton Village, and, as a surfer, was known to catch waves from Montauk’s Ditch Plain to the first jetty at Georgica. At one time he joined the crew of a 38-foot sloop that sailed from Three Mile Harbor to Ha Ha Bay in Quebec, and he had also hiked in the mountains of Colombia. Friends said there was no finer wheelman around, calling him a naturally safe and fast driver.
Mr. Claxton, who had no surviving family, was buried after a graveside service on May 5 at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton, two days before his 63rd birthday. A service had been held for him at the Lynch Funeral Home in Sunnyside on May 4. Friends suggested memorial donations to a charity of personal choice.