Sibley Putnam Reppert, a distinguished trial attorney, competitive rower, blue-water sailor, formidable intellect, committed friend, and loving husband and father, passed away of cancer on August 21, 2013, in the arms of his family.
Sib was born on July 4, 1945, in Lancaster, Penn., to Charles Miller Reppert, Jr., an engineer, and Charlotte Putnam Reppert, a high school English teacher. Sib spent his youth sailing with his family on Long Island Sound and racing out of the Manhasset Yacht Club. From the coastal waters of the Mid-Atlantic and New England, Sib soon moved on to more distant horizons, completing his first transatlantic race aboard Dr. Walter Neumann’s Sitzmark in 1966.
Sib graduated from Wesleyan University summa *** laude in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts in the College of Social Studies. He continued his education at Christ Church, Oxford, where he spent two years on a Kaysbee fellowship reading for a B.Phil. in Politics, graduating in 1969. After several years service in the U.S. Navy aboard a nuclear submarine in the North Atlantic, Sib earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1975.
Sib’s career as a litigator spanned three decades. He argued and won major cases in patent litigation, as well as the national asbestos property damage litigation, breast implant cases, and in large construction, insurance, and professional malpractice cases. During his career, Sib was a partner at several law firms, most recently Pearl, Cohen, Zedek, Lazter, Baratz.
A lifelong competitive rower, Sib was a founding member of the Wesleyan University crew team. He joined the Union Boat Club in Boston in 1976. While rowing for the Union Boat Club, Sib competed in hundreds of regattas around the United States and internationally, and rowed until only a few weeks before his death.
Sailing was Sib’s passion. Whether on coastal jaunts or long ocean voyages, he was never happier than at sea. In 1995, after being inspired by Paul Theroux’s “Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific,” Sib and his family sailed to New Zealand through the Panama Canal aboard their 37-foot sloop, Victoria. In 2001, he and his daughters sailed from Cape Town, South Africa to the Windward Islands aboard their 42-foot catamaran, Catalyst. Catalyst defined Sib’s later sailing career. He and his family cruised extensively on her up and down the Atlantic seaboard and throughout the Caribbean. Sib was an active member of the New Bedford Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America.
Sib enjoyed spending time with his family and friends at their home in historic Westport Point, often culminating with a dinner on the back porch overlooking the beech trees. Quiet winter evenings reading books by the fire, tending to his raspberry bushes, strolls to the Point, long bike rides, and scenic rows on the Westport River will all be fondly remembered by the Reppert family.
Sib’s accomplishments were extraordinary, but they pale in comparison to the quality of his character. His commitment to integrity and intellectual curiosity inspired many, most notably his daughters Victoria and Catherine, who pursued careers in public service as an extension of their father’s sense of duty.
Sib leaves his wife of 33 years, Christine Ann Vezetinski, a business development executive, and two daughters, Victoria Charlotte Reppert, a Foreign Service officer, and Catherine Abigail Burke Reppert, a Naval officer, all of Westport Point. He is also survived by his sister, Christy Sacks, and his brother-in-law, Stephen Sacks, of Brooklyn, NY, as well as their sons Gordon and Jacob Sacks, and their families. He was predeceased by his parents, Charles and Charlotte Reppert, and brother, Barton Reppert. In addition to his family, Sib leaves behind many dear friends in the sailing, rowing, and legal worlds.