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Donor Spotlight | Remembering Adam Lewis

Flowers at Pikes Farm

February 18, 2021

By Amanda Abraham

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Adam Lewis was born in Marianna in the Florida panhandle in 1937, a very different landscape from the East End of Long Island. He left after college graduation for the Northeast and never returned. With his life partner, Thom Chu, he bought and renovated a modest Hamptons Cape in Bridgehampton in 2003 and spent more and more of his time on the East End as his interior design practice flourished - one of his three callings as Episcopal priest, writer, and designer. The ocean, open spaces, skies, and light invited and then kept them both engaged, whether it was walking on undeveloped beaches, driving through the countryside, shopping at local farm stands, or gardening on their own property.

While many worthy charities attracted their attention and commitment over the ensuing years, the Peconic Land Trust continued to inspire their charitable giving. Starting with generous support for the acquisition of farmland in Sagaponack to keep Pike Farms in the community as a sustainable enterprise, to a memorial gift in honor of Marjorie Ludlow, the matriarch of the longstanding farm family still living on and working the land with Mecox Bay Dairy and Fairview Farm at Mecox, their support for the work of the Trust has not faltered. Next, Thom joined the Peconic Legacy Circle with a planned gift of life insurance proceeds and became a Peconic Partner, supporting the Trust through monthly giving. Adam and Thom especially enjoyed participating in programs about local food and agriculture moderated by Laura Donnelly, which continue to draw a fascinating cross-section of the East End community. Through Thom’s estate planning practice, he was able to advise a client and fellow Peconic Land Trust donor, Elaine Monroe, on steps to take to donate retirement assets through Qualified Charitable Distributions directly from her account while lowering her taxable income.

Adam died suddenly of a massive heart attack on November 25, 2020. There were no instructions on what friends and family members should do instead of sending flowers. After receiving the third floral gift, Thom looked through their collective charitable giving history and decided to ask friends and family to direct memorial gifts to the Trust. Over the course of six weeks, over 70 gifts came in through a Facebook announcement and directly to the website, totaling over $10,000, among the top ten tributes received by the Trust.

Out of grief and loss we can build a better world together that preserves land for cultivation, undeveloped space for enjoyment, and a legacy for future generations. It has been nothing less than moving to see modest gifts come together for such a worthy cause. Adam’s memory will live on in the land, sea, and sky that drew him to the East End.

Our sincere thanks to Thomas Chu for sharing his memories of Adam with us.

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