Orient Community Leader Bob Hanlon Dies at 74

Robert or Bob Hanlon
Robert Hanlon

Bob Hanlon, an active member of the Orient community, died on October 21 following a battle with cancer. He was 74.

He died peacefully at his home surrounded by his family. A former lawyer, educator and administrator, Hanlon spent his retirement writing blogs, sailing and serving on the boards of the Orient Association, the Oysterponds Historical Society and the Orient Fire District. He also ran on the Democratic line for Southold Town Board in 2019.

“Bob Hanlon was a focused, resourceful, imaginative and fierce champion of a special community he so loved,” the Oysterponds Historical Society’s Board of Trustees, of which he served as president until recently, said in a statement. “Among many of his endeavors on OHS’s behalf, Bob shepherded OHS through the immense challenges of the pandemic with grace and optimism; unsurprisingly, Bob’s steady and adroit stewardship enabled OHS to come out on the other side stronger than ever.”

Born Robert Eliot Hanlon in Oceanside on May 13, 1947, he was the eldest of seven brothers. After a career as a New York City school teacher and assistant director of special education, he changed careers. Upon graduation from Brooklyn Law School, he was admitted to the New York State Bar, working as an intellectual property lawyer.

His hobbies of painting and sculpting stayed with him throughout his life. More recently, he was focused on restoring his 1869 farmhouse, which was the town awarded landmark status earlier this year.

“He was the type of man who did the right thing when no one was looking,” his family wrote in his death notice. “And despite his cancer diagnosis, he forever remained a happy soul and considered himself a very lucky person, thankful for all of the people and experiences that life had already afforded him.

He is survived by his wife Jessica Frankel, ex-wife Lorraine Hanlon, two sons, two grandchildren and three brothers.

A celebration of his life was held at the Orient Fire House and services were held at Horton–Mathie Funeral Home.

The family has requested that memorial donations be made in Bob’s name to the Center for Advocacy, Support and Transformation (CAST), 53930 Main Road, PO Box 1566, Southold, NY  11971 or the Oysterponds Historical Society at 1555 Village Lane, Orient, NY  11957.

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