Sag Harbor Resident & The Retreat Advocate Kenneth MacWhinnie Dies at 60

Kenneth MacWhinnie
Kenneth L. MacWhinnie

Kenneth MacWhinnie of Sag Harbor died on Monday, May 23 from complications of cancer. He was 60 years young.

MacWhinnie was born in Bay Shore. He moved with his family to Southampton when he was 12, attended and graduated from Southampton High School. He attended SUNY Suffolk County Community College.

He met his wife, Donna, when she was 17 and he was 21. They were married in September 1990 at St. Johns Episcopal Church in Southampton. They brought two beautiful boys, Dane Lorin and Liam Scott, into the world who have grown into amazing young men. There wasn’t Kenny without Donna nor Donna without Kenny. Each found their life mates.

MacWhinnie was so proud of the men his boys became and was fortunate to have known and spent time with the wonderful women who share their lives. Gwen Clarke is the perfect compliment to Dane as is Megan Williams to Liam.

His parents, Morgan and Gerrodette MacWhinnie of Southampton, taught Ken the beauty from things of the past. From his mother, he learned kindness, compassion and generosity. From his father, an appreciation for hard work, commitment and craftsmanship, thus attributing to his skills and finesse as a skilled carpenter for over 40 years.

When construction became a challenge, Ken began a career with The Retreat in East Hampton. He had the utmost respect for what The Retreat stood for and with Ken’s selflessness and caring for people, he knew he belonged there.

It was at his family beach house in the Cherry Grove community of Fire Island, where he relaxed and left the stresses of life behind. He spent many summers at “DuneTop” as a child with his family including his great grandparents Ronald and Irene Gerrodette and his grandparents George and Jeanne Skinner. His children were fortunate to experience the same childhood as their father. DuneTop was his place to unwind with friends and family. Ken was an avid fisherman and shared many “fish tails.” He loved the outdoors and took advantage of all the 4 seasons had to offer.

Those who were fortunate to know him, knew when he told a story, no detail was left out. He loved to share his knowledge with everyone whether it was a story from his beloved Newsday or National Geographic, something he saw on the news or just any story he found interesting enough to share. His perpetual smile brightened everyone’s heart. Donna often said, “Ken has never met a stranger that hasn’t become a friend.”

MacWhinnie leaves this Earth without his wife, Donna of 32 years, sons Dane, 27 and Liam, 21. He also leaves his father and mother Morgan and Gerri, brothers Scott and Kerry and partner Stephanie Abrahams and sister Susan Inez. His in-laws John and Gail Sundquist and Paul Russell Sr. and partner Marilyn Block., sisters in-law Pamela Healey and partner Ronald Tallon, Stacey Russell and partner Welton Taylor, Christine Harmon and husband Michael, Alicia Owen and husband Neal, Abbie Dermody and husband Eamonn, brother in-law Paul Russell Jr. and wife Margarita. Many nieces and nephews further added to his wonderful life.

MacWhinnie lived his life to the fullest and although he faced challenges with this disease, he never let it take away his courage and hope. He was the brightest light that shall always remain on in the hearts of those who loved him.

Please share your love of Kenneth with a donation to The Retreat, 13 Goodfriend Drive, East Hampton, NY 11937 or go to

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