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East Hampton Sandy Victim Remembered 1 Year After Death

Community has rallied around Edith Wright's daughters.

Kiah, Laini, and Dee Wright in a photograph featured in Grant Monahan's "View From The Window." Credit: Grant Monahan
Kiah, Laini, and Dee Wright in a photograph featured in Grant Monahan's "View From The Window." Credit: Grant Monahan
One year after a Montauk woman lost her life during Superstorm Sandy, a community has tried to care for the daughters she left behind.

Edith Wright, a Montauk resident, went out to walk her dog after the worst of the storm had passed on the night of Oct. 29. When the 52-year-old, who worked as a teacher's aide at the Montauk School, failed to return, her daughters, Kiah, then 23, and Laini, then 18, called East Hampton Town police to report her missing. 

Police said they believed she walked her dog along the ocean, and was overcome by the still treacherous waves. Her body washed up on Georgica Beach in East Hampton Village the next morning. Her Jack Russell was also later found.

Wright was one of 117 people who lost their lives during Sandy, and the only death reported on the South Fork.

Velaine Pfund said Wright — known as "Deet" to friends and "Dee" by others who misheard — said the past year has been a difficult one, but that her friends have tried to keep her memory alive. Pfund said she thinks about her everyday, particularly over the summer.

"I had the pleasure of working with one of her daughters, in a restaurant in which Deet, Kiah, and I have in worked for years and there were moments of sadness but also great moments of laughter remembering Deet and her antics," Pfund said. "Times I would play Eva Cassidy CDs — one of her favorites — and think of Deet and her girls and I would tell Kiah, and, wouldn't you know it, Kiah was listening to her as well."  

After Wright's death, the community quickly rallied around Wright's daughters — who also lost their father, Norvell Wright, several years ago. The week she died, a benefit was held at the 668 Gig Shack in Montauk with the help of the Lupo and Stipanov families from Astro's Pizza in Amagansett. A talent show was held at East Hampton High School in December to benefit the girls, both of whom graduated from the school.

"I have to say I am very proud of our community because everyone has stepped up to the plate and has been there for the girls, and we always will be," Pfund said. "And, I know Deet and Norvell can rest in peace knowing that their girls are doing well, missing them but they know they are being watched over and they can find some peace in that."

"Her children are such fine examples of what an excellent job she and Norvell did raising them," she said.

Jack Perna, the superintendent at the Montauk School, said the school is awaiting a plaque to put up under a photograph of Wright and her daughters in her memory.

The picture is from Grant Monahan's "View From The Window," a compilations of photos taken from inside his family-owned food truck, the Ditch Witch, for a book. Tom and Nancy Muse purchased the photo and donated it to the school, Monahan said. 
Cindy Halpern October 29, 2013 at 08:43 AM
I am glad the community helped the surviving members of the family.

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