A funeral service was held on Monday at Christ Episcopal Church in Sag Harbor for Sam Van Kuren Willson, a retired advertising executive who had been organist and choirmaster of the Bridgehampton Presbyterian Church for over a decade. Mr. Willson, who had a heart attack in 1995, died at Southampton Hospital on Oct. 2 after a brief illness. He was 84 and lived in Sag Harbor and New York City.
Mr. Willson was also a composer and had conducted concerts of the Choral Society of the Hamptons. In retirement, he wrote and published short stories and poetry.
Mr. Willson had spent weekends in Wainscott until 1972 when he bought a house on North Haven, a house he shared with his partner of 42 years, Gerald Rosenfeld. They subsequently moved to Sag Harbor.
He was born in Rutland, Vt. on Feb. 11, 1928, a son of Earle V.K. Willson and the former Edna T. Bush. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and, with honors, from Harvard College in the class of 1950. Before moving to New York City to pursue a career in advertising and overseas personnel management with the Interpublic Group, an international marketing organization, Mr. Willson taught English for a time at Phillips Andover. He served in the Army during the Korean War.
Mr. Rosenfeld survives, as do Mr. Willson’s two nephews, a niece, and their families. The Rev. Karen Campbell officiated at Christ Episcopal Church.