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Andrea Spilka, Tireless Civic Advocate for the East End, Dies At 72

The Southampton Town Board meeting room was packed, buzzing with energy ahead of a particularly controversial Planning Board hearing. Everyone was watching everyone, surmising their stance by the company they kept, when Andrea Spilka walked through the door — and immediately locked eyes with Robin Long.

In front of the entire room, the two women threw their arms around each other, until Ms. Spilka pulled away from the Planning Board member.

“Oh my God, am I gonna get you in trouble?” she asked.

“You know something? I can handle it,” Ms. Long replied. “Let them talk — I’m taking my hug.”

Recalling the story years later, she is eternally grateful that she did.

“I would never have given up that hug,” Ms. Long said, “because that hug, I can remember it forever now.”

In an unexpected blow to the East End community, Ms. Spilka — a steadfast civic leader, role model and friend — died on December 28 after a short bout with metastatic lung cancer and was buried on January 3 at Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Queens.

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