Eugenia Rice Bartell, Former 'Pioneer' Community Editor, Dies at 75

Rice Bartell's daughter, Caran Markson, remembers the life of her mother, who died on Thursday.


Editor's note: The following was submitted by Eugenia Rice Bartell's daughter, Caran Markson.

Thoreau once said “My life is like a stroll on the beach….as near to the edge as I can go.” And that was my mother’s life!

Eugenia Rice Bartell was born in Manhattan on June 19, 1937. She attended Friends Seminary and then moved out to the family’s summer home in Belle Terre, Port Jefferson.  “Genia” graduated from Earl L. Vandermulen High School, earned her degree at SUNY Oneonta, and married her high school sweetheart Michael Caraftis. The couple lived for a year in Mannheim, Germany while her husband was stationed there with the United States Army.

When they returned from overseas, they settled back into Port Jefferson where Eugenia finished her education at C.W. Post and began a wonderful career teaching second-graders. My mother loved to teach and the children responded well to her enthusiasm.

My mother had two children from this marriage, Caran (me) and Timothy. Genia married a second time, to Edward Bartell, and had a second daughter, Genia.

As alive and vivacious as my mother was during these years, enjoying her career as a beloved educator and relishing her role as mother, she defined her ‘real’ life as beginning with a single trip to Gurney’s Inn in 1968. This was her introduction to her precious Montauk where she was to become a permanent fixture, and where she was led to the edge of the waterline, where she walked her whole life.  

“Montauk is filled with magic, mystery and miracles” became her theme as she quickly assimilated into this easy-going community, reading to the children at St. Therese’s Nursery School, managing the gift shop at Guild Hall, becoming a real estate agent at Monte and Monte, and eventually incorporating her love of the written word into her work by becoming a free-lance editor, working with local favorite authors Richard Prince, Paul Melnyk, local photographer (and former Montauk Pioneer editor) Richard Lewin and others. Having found her niche as a wordsmith she soon discovered her true passion as the community editor of the Montauk Pioneer.

After the Pioneer ceased publication, my mother dreamed of filling the void left behind with a true “Montauk Paper.” Sadly this was not to be, for she passed away still walking that edge of the water and left us better for having known her, and all the worse for having lost her.

My mother lived her life beating a different drum than the norm, but the rhythm she beat was always to make a difference for the good in the world in which she lived. She leaves to the care of this world her three children, five grandchildren, her brother and her first husband.

Our thoughts are with Eugenia Rice Bartell's family and friends at this difficult time. We welcome our readers to share their thoughts and memories of Eugenia in the comments section below.

phinn markson April 09, 2013 at 06:11 PM
And how very fitting to have a Gurneys ad next to her pic... :)
Terence Lane April 10, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Such a generous, selfless person. Very saddened by this.
phinn markson April 11, 2013 at 05:26 AM
I just wanted to thank everyone for their kind words and sentiment. They mean a lot to my mother and I! Thank you from the bottom of my/our heart...
Bonnie Lee Sanders May 13, 2013 at 10:55 AM
I visited my beloved Montauk last week and drove by Eugenia's office with Gilles Berube. We both felt a profound loss and will miss a beautiful woman and friend. Bonnie Lee Sanders
Blovely June 25, 2013 at 04:56 PM
She was a nice woman rip


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