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Item of the Week: In Memory of Roy Mabery, 1972

Thu, 06/27/2024 - 12:15

From the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection

This pamphlet was produced in memory of Roy Lee Mabery (1953-1972), an East Hampton High School student. He appears on the cover, the young man going to the hoop in the number 10 jersey.

The Mabery family moved to East Hampton in 1960, settling on Three Mile Harbor Road and taking an active role in the community. Roy was the fourth of seven children, and one of the family’s three-star athletes. In high school here, Roy played on the basketball and football teams, and his skill as an athlete was clear from repeated mentions in the local paper.

Just before his 19th birthday, Roy drowned in a swimming accident at Little Albert’s Beach in Amagansett. In the wake of his death, his friends and teammates worked to find a meaningful way to honor his memory. Danny Marshall, one of his teammates, came up with the idea of basketball courts.

A series of fund-raisers in the form of memorial basketball games followed, and businesses contributed merchandise for raffles to help build, name, and maintain basketball courts in Herrick Park in Roy’s memory. Ed Petrie, the coach of the Bonac basketball team at the time, and Mabery’s teammates saw their dreams come to life in 1973, when two regulation courts were installed in the park.

In 1974, the high school began annually honoring one member of the basketball team with the Roy Mabery Award for Defense and Team Play, which continued into the 1990s.

In 2023, the Roy Mabery basketball courts in Herrick Park were rebuilt as part of the park’s revitalization. On Saturday at 11 a.m., East Hampton Village plans to install a plaque for the rebuilt basketball courts with the Mabery family in attendance, ensuring that Roy Mabery’s memory as a hard-working, sincere young athlete continues to inspire a new generation of basketball players here. (If it rains, the ceremony will take place on Sunday at 1 p.m.)

Note: The spelling of Roy Mabery’s last name has appeared in different places in a number of ways, including Mabrey and Mabry. We used Mabery for this article since it is the spelling used by his family for the plaque and the title of the memorial pamphlet, reflecting current cataloging standards.


Moriah Moore is a librarian and archivist formerly with the East Hampton Library’s Long Island Collection, and Andrea Meyer is the head of the collection.

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