October 27, 2016

Colorful David Willmott, publisher of Suffolk Life, was an icon of Long Island journalism

Andrea Aurichio,, wrote Willmott’s obituary in 2009:

Suffolk Life was a stomping ground and training school for many young journalists who found their way to Willmott’s office on the Highway in Westhampton. The always busy Willmott spent a lot of time in his office, where he kept his head down working for hours before he would surface, sometimes strolling over to his newsroom to see what was going on.

“Stick around,” he would say, “we’ll talk about this later.” He would buy lunch for the entire staff at least once a week. Sometimes huge buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken made the rounds, other times pizza or six-foot sandwiches were the feast de jour for his reporters, advertising sales reps and production staff. Reporters logged miles as they drove around the East End from town to town covering Little League games, town hall meetings and chicken barbeques that highlight the everyday lives of the regular people that were Willmott’s faithful readers.

He wrote his own editorials dubbed “Willmott’s” and “Why Nots” ending each of his opinionated segments with his famous “and why not?”

When he closed up shop and put out his last newspaper in 2008, he knew he had quite a ride. “I enjoyed every minute of it,” Willmott said and laughed, adding for one last time, “and why not?”

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