News of the tragic death of builder Ben Krupinski, his wife Bonnie Bistrian Krupinski, their grandson Will Maerov, and pilot Jon Dollard shocked the Hamptons on Saturday, June 2. The New York Times, in a 1992 profile, dubbed him “Contractor to the Stars,” but he was much more than that, particularly in the Hamptons where he and Bonnie were known for their kindness and generosity. They were also the proprietors of some of our favorite restaurants, including the 1770 House, Cittanuova, and East Hampton Point.
Ben worked in the Hamptons, New York City, Westchester, and Fairfield County, particularly Greenwich. He was known everywhere as a hard worker, someone who wasn’t satisfied with less than the best, and a modest guy. He worked his way up to the top by being the best at whatever he did. An East Hampton native, he worked till 11PM in his father’s store, Benny’s Deli. He then worked for his wife’s family business, Bistrian Sand and Gravel, eventually starting his own business in 1980. He quickly became known for top quality work and the great and the good (Martha Stewart, Billy Joel, Roger Waters) soon took notice. His trucks began to be seen all over the South Fork, whenever a great estate was rising from the sand or an important building needed renovation.
Martha Stewart told Behind the Hedges, “I am devastated by the news of the untimely passing of my dear friends Ben and Bonnie Krupinski and their grandson William Maerov. Ben and Bonnie were my friends from the moment I met them in the early 1990s.
“I was fortunate to work with Builder Ben, as I always called him, on the renovation of my 1878 home in East Hampton. I loved his ability to problem solve and build a beautiful homes. Together they were generous philanthropists and supporters of East End businesses.
“Bonnie became my dear friend and always exuded charm and practical good sense. When they began raising their grandchildren they did so with gusto, intelligence and a sense of wonder and love.
“Will, their grandson, was an outstanding young man–very curious, well educated, well-traveled and a delight to be with. I spent a lot of time with Will, advising him on business plans and together we planned his grandparents’ 70th birthday party last summer. His potential was lost in this very unexpected way.
“I will miss each of them so very, very much.”
David Steward, who work with Krupinski on the construction of his East Hampton home (above), commented to Behind the Hedges, “Ben Krupinski was the ultimate builder and an amazing partner when we built our modern home in Springs. He managed a large construction company and numerous real estate investments out of his handsome office on Newtown Lane, yet still really loved to go out on the worksite and pitch in with the work–and he took amazing care in everything that he did. Our home is on Accabonac Harbor, so we had to be very conscious of the water table and potential flooding. We arrived one day for a site visit and Ben was on the backhoe digging a deep hole where the foundation was going to be poured. For about a month he watched the water level in the hole and determined that we could get an added foot to our lower level ceiling height which made our house that much better and yes, it never flooded even through many hurricanes.
“We will miss Ben terribly. His quest for perfection and deep knowledge of construction combined with his wonderful sense of humor and many contributions to East Hampton will be impossible to replace.”
A company statement on Instagram reads, “In honor of Ben & Bonnie, with whom we have been fortunate to work as members of their extended family, we continue their commitment to delivering excellence in service to all of you in the community.” Indeed. Thanks so much.