HANCOCK — Philip Winograd, custodian of the town of Hancock’s Boston Post Cane, an honor bestowed on the town’s oldest citizen, died Dec. 6, 2009, in Ellsworth. Mr. Winograd was born at home, on Seabury Place, the Bronx, on Sept. 8, 1913, to Sadie (neé Fellman) and Sigmund Winograd, who had emigrated from Eastern Europe.
The family’s middle child, he graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in 1931. During high school he worked as a messenger boy. After graduation he found employment as a shipping clerk with Townley Frocks (where Claire McCardell created the American Look). Later he joined his father’s business, managing apartment buildings in the Bronx. During the Second World War, Mr. Winograd served on Guadalcanal as a weather observer in the 17th Weather Squadron of the Army Air Corps. After the war, he returned to real estate management, a career that took him through the postwar devastation of his beloved Bronx. In the 1970s, when owners of many apartment buildings in the Bronx had walked away from their property in despair — or turned to arson — Mr. Winograd would point to the rubble all around and then to his buildings, still standing, still well maintained, and say, “I must be doing something right.” He sold his last property in 2007. Mr. Winograd married Jean Vitt of New York City, a commercial artist, in 1946, and they moved to Yonkers, N.Y., in 1950. The couple had two children, Deborah and Abigail. In Yonkers, Mr. Winograd joined the 11th Ward Democratic Club and served for a number of years as a Democratic district leader. During the years in Yonkers the family summered in Short Beach, Conn., where Mr. Winograd developed a passion for sailing. He was an early and longstanding member of Temple Beth Shalom in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., where he taught in the religious school and initiated a popular adult education class. In 1974, Mr. Winograd separated from his wife. Two years later he met Frances Pishny of Brooklyn, N.Y., a pianist and manager of a foundation that provided grants to artists. Ms. Pishny, a widow, was the mother of Eric Blume and Lydia Blume. Jean Winograd died in 1980, and Mr. Winograd and Ms. Pishny were married in 1983. In 1987, they moved to Hancock. Ms. Pishny died in 2005. Mr. Winograd’s passions were numerous. Besides sailing, he loved entertaining, and he loved food. He followed politics closely and read widely. He was an accomplished wood-carver. He studied philosophy and Judaism and counted four rabbis among his friends. He loved classical music, opera (especially the simulcasts at The Grand), and the jazz of Bill Evans. Over the years, with three or four of his closest friends, he hiked along the Hudson, into the Grand Canyon, on the deserts of the American West, and in Sweden, England, France, Israel and Jordan. In Maine he again became active in politics. He remained engaged in political debate until the last — extremely important to him were health-care reform and, in particular, the development of a strong public-insurance option. He was a member of Congregation Beth El in Bangor and, in recent years, the Downeast Humanists and Freethinkers. In the last months of his life he was studying to become a volunteer counselor with Hospice of Hancock County.
Surviving are his sister, Helen Geiger of Mitchellville, Md.; his daughter, Deborah and son-in-law, Clyde Tyndale of Falmouth, Mass., and Clyde’s daughter Elizabeth (Libby) and son-in-law, Sudarshan Chawathe, of Trenton; his daughter, Abigail of Amenia, N.Y.; his stepson, Eric; daughter-in-law, Sindhu Hirani Blume; and grandchildren, Ilse and Rohan Ericson Philip of Bethesda, Md.; and his stepdaughter, Lydia; son-in-law, Larry Eytel; and granddaughter, Sophia of York. He was predeceased by his sister, Sally Berger.
Burial took place at Mount Ararat Cemetery, Farmingdale, N.Y., in December. A memorial service will be held at noon, Sunday, June 20, 2010, at Crocker House, 967 Point Road, Hancock. Donations in Mr. Winograd’s memory may be made to the Hancock County Democratic Committee, Sierra Club or Israel Endowment Funds (pefisrael.org).