Jennifer O’Grady

March 2, 1943 - March 23, 2015

Jennifer Skemp O’Grady spent nearly every summer of her 72 years in Sagaponack. Her grandfather had purchased a large swath of land running from Daniel’s Lane and Town Line Road down toward the beach. She spent many of her childhood summers in a cottage rented from the White family.

Mrs. O’Grady, of Sandy Hook, Conn., died of lung disease in the company of her family on March 23 at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Born in Chicago on March 2, 1943, to Robert Oliver Skemp and the former Betty Wellington Steele, she graduated from Greens Farms Academy in Westport, Conn., the town she grew up in. She was just 5 when her mother died. Her father eventually remarried, and the former Gail Beardsley raised her as her own.

When she was a teenager, she met her future husband, Terence J. O’Grady, in Westport. The two were married in 1963 near Sagg Main Beach. Soon after, Mr. O’Grady said, they built a house on one of the family properties at the corner of Town Line Road and Daniel’s Lane. It was surrounded by potato fields at the time. The O’Gradys loved being around water and enjoyed sailing.

What was important to Mrs. O’Grady was not only the quiet and serenity of Sagaponack of that era, but also the artistic nature of the place. She had artistic ability and enjoyed doing an occasional watercolor or drawing. Back then it was not unusual to see Truman Capote walking along the dunes in a sailor’s cap.

The couple raised four children, all of whom survive: a daughter and two sons who live in Sandy Hook, Catherine E. O’Grady, Terence O. O’Grady, and John P. O’Grady, and another son, Robert E. O’Grady of Florida.

After her marriage, Mrs. O’Grady worked for many years as a travel agent, which suited her, as she loved traveling. She and her husband visited Russia, China, and Japan, among other countries. As recently as 2009, the family chartered a bus and traveled across Ireland with children and grandchildren along for the trip.

She was a volunteer broadcaster at a fine arts radio station, WMNR, in Monroe, Conn., where the O’Gradys eventually moved. But summers were always spent on the eastern tip of Long Island. The couple recently purchased an Amagansett house overlooking Napeague Harbor.

In addition to her children and her husband, she is survived by five grandchildren, a sister, Susan Skemp Crandall of Portland, Ore., and a brother, Eric Tate Skemp of Cathlamet, Wash.

The family has suggested memorial donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, Tenn. 38105.