Charles Recktenwald

July 24, 1933 - March 25, 2015
Charles Recktenwald July 24, 1933 - March 25, 2015

Charles Robert Recktenwald, a proud Bonacker  who worked at The Star in the days when it was still printed in-house, died of cancer on March 25 at home on Jackson Street in East Hampton following a long illness. He was 81.

Jackson Street is named for Mr. Recktenwald’s great-grandfather William Jackson Bennett, who made seven around-the-world whaling voyages and was a friend of Stephen Talkhouse.

A 1986 profile of Mr. Recktenwald in The Star detailed his diverse résumé and chronicled the times in which he lived. “He is a mechanical whiz who has has worked the water, a hunter whose life’s passion is his ‘menagerie,’ a contractor who once supervised the construction of 44 houses in 11 months, and a man who can recite Bonac folklore and tales of his family’s past as he heard them told by his mother, the former Sarah Bennett,” Mary-Elizabeth Gifford wrote. 

Mr. Recktenwald, who was called Jed, was born on July 24, 1933, to Raymond Recktenwald and the former Ms. Bennett in the house where his mother, grandfather, and great-grandfather were born. As a youth, he worked as a carpenter at the fish factory at Promised Land in Amagansett. In his high school years, he spent summers working on Gardiner’s Island and also became a printer at The Star. He served for three years in the Korean War and after returning joined an Amaganett haul-seining crew and went clamming in Lake Montauk. He later returned to The Star before joining The Sag Harbor Express, where he worked as a printer for 12 years.

At different times, Mr. Recktenwald’s menagerie included cows, horses, goats, and sheep. He also kept racing pigeons, as many as 200 of them at one time, and bees. 

He was a humble, kind, and generous man, his family said, with the highest level of integrity, loyalty, and a love for God and his faith.

He is survived by his wife, Alice Leedham Recktenwald of East Hampton, as well as three children, six stepchildren, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Mr. Recktenwald was cremated. A graveside service will be held on May 2 at 1 p.m. at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in East Hampton. A gathering to celebrate his life will follow at the American Legion Post in Amagansett.