Betty DiSunno, 89

April 16, 1928 - Jan. 5, 2018
Betty DiSunno, 89, April 16, 1928 - Jan. 12, 2018

A native of East Hampton, and the last surviving member of the second generation of the East End branch of the DiSunno family, Betty Cartwright DiSunno of Bluff Road, Amagansett, died on Jan. 5. She was 89.

She was born Betty Cartwright in Southampton on April 16, 1928, to the former Beatrice Ruppel and William Cartwright, and grew up in East Hampton, attending East Hampton schools. However, she spent much of her youth with her grandmother in Sag Harbor, and on Shelter Island, where her grandfather was a bayman and her great-grandfather was once the highway superintendent, in the days when horses and buggies were the primary form of transport.

During World War II, Mrs. DiSunno worked at the Bulova Watchcase factory in Sag Harbor, assembling timing devices for military munitions. Shortly after the war, she met Joseph DiSunno, a returning war veteran, who lived in Amagansett. They married in 1946 and raised six children.

Mrs. DiSunno loved scouring the woods for old bottles and combing the shoreline for beach glass and other flotsam-and-jetsam treasures. She often took her friends and her children, and, later, her grandchildren, on her gathering adventures. Her children and nieces recalled that when she took them to the beach at Albert’s Landing or the Nature Trail in East Hampton Village, she would often play hide and seek with the neighborhood kids, bringing along old blankets so they could make tents.

She was known to have a special connection to animals and once coaxed a runaway parakeet out of a tree; she took him home and named him Herbie. She spent hours teaching Herbie to speak, and the bird acquired a vocabulary of more than 100 words. He even learned how to whistle the tune of the advertising jingle for P.C. Richard and Sons: “I’d rather buy at P.C.!”

Mrs. DiSunno was also a member of the Ladies Auxiliary of East Hampton’s American Legion Post 419, in Amagansett. Her friends played an important role in her life, among them Shirley Anderson, whom she had known since childhood, and  Elaine Jones and Mary Curles. According to these friends, she will be best remembered for her beautiful smile, her infectious laugh, and for always being available for those in need.

She is survived by her daughters, Lynn DiSunno and Marie Lombardi of East Hampton and Denise DiSunno of Sebastian, Fla., and her sons, Joseph W. DiSunno and James DiSunno of East Hampton; six grandchildren and one great grandchild also survive. Her husband, Joseph DiSunno, and her son Leonard DiSunno died before her.

In keeping with her love of children and animals, the family has suggested memorial donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105. or to the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center, 228 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays 11946.

A celebration of Mrs. DiSunno’s life will be held at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton on April 7 from 10 a.m. to noon, with a graveside memorial service to follow at the Most Holy Trinity Cemetery on Cedar Street in East Hampton.