Michael Robert Dickerson of East Hampton had worked in real estate and landscaping, hosted an LTV show, painted, and was a frequent writer of letters to local newspapers. He and his partner of 43 years, Roger Rowlett, were active in the Highpointers Club and had traveled across the country visiting the highest points in 30 states with their dogs.
Mr. Dickerson, who was 69, died on Jan. 31 in hospice care at Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead.
“He astonished everyone for decades with his ability to come back from seemingly near-death experiences, including a cancer stem cell transplant, brain surgeries, strokes, and major heart operations,” his family wrote. In 2020, he had a hip replacement scheduled for the week that the Covid-19 pandemic brought everything to a standstill.
“Later when surgeries resumed, complications had set in prohibiting the operation and he was forced to endure a deteriorating bone situation for the rest of his life. Mike, buoyed by the presence of the third generation of the same family of retrievers he had raised, put on a brave face and was noted by seemingly everybody visiting Beach Lane.”
Surfers at the beach in Wainscott called him “the Wainscott Walker,” because of the device he used when walking his dogs on the beach all year round, no matter the weather.
“Even in the end when he was unresponsive, he held on a week longer than expected until his dogs were permitted to visit him in the hospital.” He responded when they licked his hand, and died shortly after that, his family said. His yellow Labrador Z died unexpectedly two days later.
Born on Dec. 29, 1954, in East Hampton, he was the son of Robert F. Dickerson and Miriam Conklin Dickerson Davis. His family is descended from Lion Gardiner, who arrived here in the 1600s, and they have lived here ever since. In 1973, Mr. Dickerson graduated from East Hampton High School, where he appeared in numerous plays and played soccer.
He worked at the Henri Bendel Salon in Manhattan in the 1980s and 1990s.
In addition to Mr. Rowlett, he is survived by a son, Justin Dickerson of Coram, his former wife, Joanne Mannes, and by five sisters, Shelly Engstrom of Montauk, Caroline Dickerson of East Hampton, Lisa Narizzano of Springs, Priscilla Jones of Montauk, and Jennifer Davis of Exmore, Va.
The family will receive visitors on Feb. 17 at 1 p.m. at the Yardley and Pino Funeral Home in East Hampton, and a celebration of his life will begin there at 2 p.m. His ashes will be interred at the family plot at Green River Cemetery in Springs.