William Belber Jr.

William Belber Jr.,

William Belber Jr., a commercial fisherman who grew up in Montauk’s old fishing village on Fort Pond Bay, died on Aug. 11 in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He was 86 and had been in poor health for 10 years.

Known as Bill, he was born in Greenport to William Belber Sr. and the former Ellen Berg and moved to Montauk as a boy. His father had a small restaurant, Bill’s Inn, in the fishing village there, and later moved it to Edgemere Road.

“Bill’s Inn was a favorite for quite some time of many tourists coming to the hamlet, who could pick their own lobster from the open tanks for dinner,” his family wrote. A business leader in the hamlet, his father was also one of the first elected members of the Montauk Board of Fire Commissioners.

Mr. Belber attended East Hampton High School. He enlisted in the Navy during the Korean War, which gave him the opportunity to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Far East aboard the U.S.S. Keppler DD-765, a Gearing-class destroyer deployed during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Mr. Belber also served on the U.S.S. Gearing DD-710.

He returned to Montauk to help run the family’s business after his father had a heart attack.

It was on his first New Year’s Eve out with friends after coming home that he met Isabel Reney, a member of East Hampton’s Round Swamp Lester family. They were married on May 11, 1952.

The couple settled in Montauk, where Mr. Belber became a commercial fisherman, following in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather, Oscar Berg, who was lost at sea off Montauk and whose name is inscribed on the Lost at Sea Memorial overlooking the cliffs at the Lighthouse. Mr. Belber owned and ran a number of fishing vessels over the years, but a smaller one, the Fishawk, was his favorite, his family wrote.

“He would remember, and you never got tired of hearing him telling you, the stories about his times on the water,” they wrote. “Bill had a long and successful career as a commercial fishing captain, calling some of the other captains in the hamlet in the early years, such as Dick Stern, Sy Sarris, and Dickie Edwards, his good friends. ‘We watched out for each other,’ he would say.”

After retiring, the Belbers moved to Florida. Mrs. Belber died in 2007. Mr. Belber is survived by a daughter, Kathleen Rosman of Stuart, Fla., and two sons, William Belber III of Islip and Robert Belber of Schenectady, N.Y. Also surviving are his sisters, Mary Ellen Klein of Port St. Lucie and Carol Napolillo of Amagansett, 10 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. His brothers, Richard Belber and Robert Belber, died before him.

A funeral with military honors was held in Florida. His ashes will be scattered at sea off Montauk.