October 18, 2017

William E. Havens, Jr., 65



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William (Billy) E. Havens, Jr., a lifelong Bonacker from Amagansett, died Thursday, September 28, 2017 in Boca Raton, Florida. Billy had recently moved to Florida to be nearer to his only daughter, his pride and joy, Rebecca, who is currently residing in Boca Raton and attending Florida Atlantic University.

Billy was born July 10, 1952, the son of William E. Havens and Anna Hollander Havens, both of whom predeceased him. He was also predeceased by his brother, Benjamin. In addition to his daughter Rebecca, he is survived by his sisters Marion Havens of Hicksville, NY, Lillian Havens of Manorville, NY, Connie Havens Colonna of Springs, NY, and by his brother Nick Havens of Amagansett, NY. Billy is also survived by his sister-in-law Mary Emma Havens, brother-in-law Alex Colonna, and his nieces and nephews Michael Havens, Jeanie Stillwachs, Kelly Havens, Julie Havens, Sara Havens, Jason Cobb, Anna Colonna, Alexandra Colonna, Tonio Colonna, and by his great nephew and niece Ethan and Taylor Stillwachs.

At a young age, Billy followed in his father's footsteps and fishing became his way of life. However, the struggle of the local fishermen ensued and Havens was involved and instrumental in defending the local way of life of the East End baymen. Because of his prominent involvement, he was featured in Billy Joel's "Downeaster 'Alexa'" video in 1989, depicting the hard work and woes of the commercial fishing business, was included in Peter Matthiessen's book Men's Lives, which chronicled the lives of the local baymen, and had been interviewed in The New York Times feature stories.

Because of Havens's well-known reputation as a man who "knows the sea and local waters best," he was introduced to his future wife, Deborah Ross (now deceased), as she was gathering information to produce a movie about the local fishing situation on the East End. Billy and Debbie not only enjoyed the East End with the fishing community, but they also owned and operated Harry's Hideaway restaurant and bar in Springs (the former Jungle Pete's).

Though the fishing and Bonac community were deeply seeded in Billy's heart, he and Debbie moved to California where he succeeded and enjoyed his union job of being a grip in the filmmaking business. However, in the mid 1990s the East End happily welcomed them back, this time including their young daughter Rebecca.

Life was not always easy living and struggling with a fisherman's lifestyle, but through any hardship, Billy still shared his contagious smile and laughter with everyone. He is known by all as a "good man," "a kind soul," a "solid friend," and was a beloved family member. Billy's family felt he led with the torch, and was a solid grounding strength who cared deeply about all his family, immediate and extended.

After retiring from the Town of East Hampton Highway Department, in addition to taking his fishing poles to the waters, Havens also continued to enjoy spending time on the bays clamming and scalloping, never giving away his secrets, always with a grin on his face, keeping those "special spots" to himself. Not only did he know where to find the most clams and scallops, he also kept secret where he found the best local wild raspberries and blackberries.

Billy didn't spend all his free time on the water, he also enjoyed supporting Rebecca's passion for equestrian competitions and was her biggest fan. NASCAR races, attending the local races at Riverhead Raceway, and traveling all over Long Island to attend car shows were all favorite activities he shared with family and friends.

Billy was a frequent user of social media and was the co-founder and administrator of the local and very popular Facebook group Hometown Bonac Connected Friends. For years Billy's multitude of Facebook friends enjoyed the sunrise, sunset, and his mouth-watering culinary talent photos; photos that everyone became accustomed to seeing and looked forward to daily. Billy knew everyone in town it seemed, in every profession, every side of the bridges, and he cared for them equally. Every friendship was so important to him, it didn't matter how often he saw you, you remained special to him.

Billy seemed to be the local expert on the fishing industry history on the East End. He shared his vast knowledge and photos and always seemed passionate in his discussions about the fishing industry, his friends, family, politics, and the changing way of life on the East End.

Billy Havens, to some, may have been known by a nickname, such as Wig or Bonacker Bill, but he was known by all as a good, kind, hardworking, honest man, and in Bonac terms, he was and always will be "the Finest Kind."

Visitation was held on Friday, October 13, 2017 at Yardley and Pino Funeral Home, 94 Pantigo Road, East Hampton, NY. A graveside service followed at Oak Grove Cemetery, Windmill Lane, Amagansett, NY on Saturday.

Billy was a proud American, a huge supporter of our military and veterans, and had a deep fondness for the Wounded Warriors Project. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his honor to The Wounded Warriors Project, online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org, or by downloading a donation form and mailing to Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas 66675-8517.

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