Anne Clark Washburn, 98

Dec. 11, 1919 - Jan. 28, 2018
Anne Clark Washburn, Dec. 11, 1919 - Jan. 28, 2018

Anne Gibson Clark Washburn of Palm Beach, Fla., and a longtime summer resident of East Hampton, died in Palm Beach on Jan. 28. She was 98.

She was born in Brooklyn Heights on Dec. 11, 1919, and grew up there in what her family called “the bright city lights of New York’s Roaring Twenties.” She attended Brooklyn Heights Seminary and the Packer Collegiate Institute, where she showed a flair, her family said, for drama and dressing up in school plays. 

She went on to study acting at Rollins College in Winter Park, Fla., and at McGill University in Montreal, after which she did graduate work at the Yale School of Drama, where she became interested in costume design. While studying in New Haven, she ventured frequently into Manhattan to see the premieres of many Broadway musicals, and performed in several New England summer-stock venues, from the Ivoryton Playhouse in Connecticut all the way up to Lake Sunapee, N.H. Eventually Mrs. Washburn found work in Manhattan theaters herself.

In 1947, she married George Washburn of New York City, a naval officer who had been in command of the naval destroyer escort U.S.S. Vammen during the Okinawa invasion. The Washburns had been married for 57 years when he died in 2005. The couple could really cut a rug, said her family, acquiring the nickname of “the Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of East Hampton.” 

The Washburns first started spending time here around 1952. They lived off Main Street and, among their other memorable social moments, staged cast parties for Philip Barry’s Village Vanities theater productions at Guild Hall in the 1950s and 1960s. Mrs. Washburn acted in the John Drew Theater Players and was a member of the committee that planned the John Drew summer season in those years, as well as being a longtime member of the Maidstone Club, the Devon Yacht Club, the Garden Club of East Hampton, and the Ladies Village Improvement Society.

About 25 years ago, the Washburns began spending more time in Florida during the winter, but Mrs. Washburn stopped coming to East Hampton only recently.

She is survived by her sister, Tupper Limbert of Glens Falls, N.Y., by her daughters, Constance Washburn Castle of Lagunitas, Calif., and Lynn Hanke of New York City, and five grandchildren. 

Mrs. Washburn was cremated. A memorial service will be held in the summer at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, in East Hampton, of which she was a member for many years, with the Very Rev. Denis C. Brunelle officiating.