George Sumner Small IV

07/10/2012 1:37 PM |

George Sumner Small IV of Southold died July 5, 2012. He was the son of the late G. Sumner Small and Harriet Mumford Small.

Born on March 6, 1923, he was the eleventh generation of Small, descended from Edward Small, who came to this country from Bideford, Devon, England, in 1634. Edward Small was a founder of the towns of Bideford and Kennebunk in Maine.

A graduate of Glen Ridge High School, Class of 1940; Blair Academy, Class of 1941; and Princeton University, Class of 1945 (graduating in 1948), where he was a member of the Key and Seal Club. A veteran of World War II Mr. Small served in the United States Army between 1942 and 1945. He was a language expert, speaking French, Russian and German, and a high-speed radio operator. He was on duty at the little Red Schoolhouse in Rheims, France, when the surrender came through and helped set up communications for the Potsdam Conference at war’s end.

Considered one of the top three home furnishings photographers in New York during the 1960s and 1970s, his many clients included Good Housekeeping, Springs Mills, American of Martinsville and Baumritter Furniture, among others.

Retiring in 1976, he moved to Southold with his wife and young son, where he began a second career designing and building reproductions of 17th and 18th century tall clocks and mantel clocks. He carved his own clock hands from brass and managed to track down a source of antique clock corners in England in order for his work to have an authentic appearance. His hobby was playing the saxophone and clarinet at local North Fork restaurants with his band, “Swing Shift.”

He served on the vestry of the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Mattituck, where he was a member for many years; on the Board of the Knox School in St. James; and was a former president of the Southwood Property Owners Association.

Married 49 years, his wife has said he was her “rock” and that she would not have had the successful career she does without him.

Coming to parenthood late at the age of fifty, he was a devoted father to his only son and a beloved grandfather to his four grandchildren. He is survived by his wife, best-selling author Bertrice Small; his son, Thomas; his grandchildren, Chandler, Cora, Sophia and Evan Small; his two cats, Finnegan and Sylvester; his good neighbor, Emily Gundersen; and his friend, Andrea Aurichio.

Arrangements were made by DeFriest-Grattan Funeral Home in Southold. A funeral was held Tuesday, July 10, at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer in Mattituck. Burial was at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y.

Donations in George Small’s name may be made to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.

This is a paid notice.