|Isaac Theron Edwards
Isaac Theron Edwards, 82, who lived in Orient for 70 years, died Jan.
23 at an extended care facility in Sarasota, Fla. The cause of death was
complications following several years of emphysema, family members said.
Born at Eastern Long Island Hospital in Greenport, May 22, 1916, to
Isaac Theron and Rose (Latham) Edwards, his was the 11th generation to
be raised in Orient in a farming family descended from settler William
Edwards, who died in 1685.
He was educated at Greenport High School and Mount Hermon School, Mass.,
class of 1932. With an interest in architectural drawing, he also attended
a trade and technical school in Hartford, Conn., where he lived for six
years while working for the war effort as a diamond cutter machinist. In
Hartford, he also met and married his wife of 58 years, Evelyn.
From 1945, when the couple returned to Orient, he owned and operated
I.T. Edwards Oil and Heating Company, which was sold to Agway in the 1980s.
Having spent winters in Florida since 1981, he and his wife relocated to
Mountain City, Tenn., in 1986.
Mr. Edwards was a model-train builder and enthusiast from childhood,
and "a sophisticated traveler, who enjoyed riding trains to the end of
his life," said his daughter, Sandra Benziger of New York City. "He took
us on trips to special places in North America, Canada and Mexico," she
remembered. "He was a delightful man and a wonderful companion, who appreciated
people and was loved by his friends. He was very humorous, with a joy for
life and fun, and loved to meet and have coffee at the Coronet as if we
were all at the Plaza," Ms. Benziger said.
He was a lifelong member of Orient Congregational Church, a Shriner
for 46 years, a longtime member of Greenport Machinists and Mechanics,
and a Rotarian in Greenport, Mountain City and Sarasota. Active in Greenport's
Tifereth Israel Synagogue, he later helped crippled and disabled children
at Sarasota's Sahib Temple by taking them to Tampa, Fla., for hospital
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by another daughter,
Leslie Barnard of Albany; a sister, Dorothy Horne of Hyannis Port, Mass.;
and five grandchildren.
Bill Pell of Greenport gave the eulogy at a funeral service on Tuesday
at Sarasota Northminster Presbyterian Church, and private cremation followed.
A memorial service is planned for May at Orient Congregational Church,
to be followed by interment at Orient Central Cemetery. Arrangements are
in the care of S.B. Horton Funeral Home, Greenport.
Memorial donations may be made to Shriners Hospital for Children, 12502
N. Pine Drive, Tampa, FL 33612.
Admiral Harold E. Shear
Admiral Harold E. Shear, formerly of Shelter Island, died peacefully
Feb. 1  at his home in Groton Long Point, Conn., after a long
illness, the family said. He was 80.
He was born Dec. 6, 1918, to Lieutenant Harold and Jane (Dillon) Shear.
Following his father's death, he moved to Shelter Island at an early age
to live with his grandfather, the Rev. A. Lincoln Shear, pastor of the
His mother married Capt. Kenneth Payne, a commercial fisherman and
descendant of one of Shelter Island's founding families, with whom he fished
and clammed as a boy and developed an interest in a seafaring career.
One year after graduating from Shelter Island school, class of 1937,
he entered the U.S. Naval Academy on a presidential appointment, graduating
early with the class of 1942 following the attack on Pearl Harbor. He reported
immediately to destroyer duty, escorting convoys across the North Atlantic.
In 1943, he transferred to the submarine service, where he spent most
of the balance of his career. His commands included the Patrick Henry,
the first nuclear powered ballistic missile-firing submarine of its class,
and, during the Vietnam War, the combat support ship Sacramento.
Promoted to rear admiral in 1967, he served as chief of the U.S. Naval
Mission to Brazil, then as director of submarine service. As a vice admiral,
he served as director of anti-submarine warfare. Following promotion to
full admiral, a four-star rank, he served as commander in chief, U.S. Naval
Forces Europe; vice chief of Naval Operations; and commander in chief,
Allied Forces Southern Europe.
At his retirement in 1980 after 39 years of service, he was the last
naval officer still on active duty who had served in World War II. Decorations
too numerous to list completely included the Defense Distinguished Service
Medal, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star and Commendation Ribbon
with Combat V, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Silver Star and three
Bronze Stars, and Vietnam Service Medal.
He was returned to service by the Reagan administration as head of
the U.S. Maritime Administration, retiring in 1985. He then became active
in developing the submarine force library and museum in Groton, Conn.,
and the Port of New London to accommodate large ships. Admiral Harold E.
Shear State Pier was named for him last year.
He maintained a lifelong love for Shelter Island, serving three times
as a trustee of Mashomack Preserve, where he had fished and hunted as a
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, the former Elizabeth Perry
of Falmouth, Maine; a daughter, Kathleen, of New York City; a son, Kenneth,
of London, England; a brother, Captain Kenneth Payne Jr. of Shelter Island;
and a sister, Constance Payne Mattie of Anderson, S.C.
Memorial donations may be made to Mashomack Preserve.
Richard E. MacNish
Lifelong Cutchogue resident Richard E. MacNish, 67, died Feb. 15 at
his Main Road home. The cause was cancer, his family said.
He was born in Eastern Long Island Hospital, May 16, 1931, to Walter
and Isabel (Edwards) MacNish and graduated from Southold schools. An Army
veteran who served during the Korean Conflict from 1952 to 1954, he was
a past commander of Griswold-Terry-Glover Post No. 803 of the American
Legion in Southold.
Mr. MacNish retired as a lead man from Grumman Aerospace in Calverton.
Prior to that, he was a plumber for many years with his father's family
firm of MacNish Brothers, which he later took over and renamed Richard
E. MacNish Plumbing and Heating. He was also a member of Cutchogue Fire
" 'Keep it simple' was Dick's motto for life," said his wife of 41
years, Elizabeth (Montgomery) MacNish, who is known as Liz. "He was a really
good family man, perhaps better known among his friends for carving loons,
which he sold and gave as gifts. When he was younger and enjoyed duck hunting,
he also carved decoys," she said.
Besides his wife he is survived by two sons, Mark, of Glenwood Landing,
L.I., and Rory, of Mattituck; two daughters, Tamee Sun Jester of Mattituck
and Melissa Duryee MacNish of Cutchogue; two sisters, Madeline Case of
Mattituck, and Beatrice Bryant of Rocky Point; and five grandchildren.
A brother, Walter, predeceased him.
The family received friends Tuesday and Wednesday at DeFriest Funeral
Home, Southold, where Cutchogue Fire Department and American Legion services
were held Wednesday evening. Religious services are set for 11 a.m. today
at Southold United Methodist Church, the Rev. Kenneth Davis officiating.
Interment will be in Cutchogue Cemetery.
Memorial donations may be sent to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048,
Westhampton Beach, NY 11978, or the American Cancer Society.
Lifelong North Fork resident Malcolm Tuthill, 92, died Feb. 22 at Eastern
Long Island Hospital.
Mr. Tuthill was born in Mattituck on March 5, 1906, to Frank and Eleanor
(Acker) Tuthill. He was the owner and captain of a party fishing boat,
"Oh, Johnny Oh," out of New Suffolk for many years.
A resident of Mattituck for 76 years before moving to Southold in 1982,
he later went into farming in Mattituck for many years with his father.
He was a 66-year member of Mattituck Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Dorothy (Young), and a daughter,
Judith Mengeweit of Southold.
Visiting hours were yesterday at DeFriest Funeral Home, Mattituck,
followed by a funeral service officiated by the Rev. George Gaffga of Mattituck
Prebysterian Church and the Rev. Ken Davis of Southold United Methodist
Church. Interment was at New Bethany Cemetery, Mattituck.
Donald Sylvan Aanestad
Greenport native Donald Sylvan Aanestad died at his home on March 2.
He was 88.
The son of Capt. Sven and Dora (Olson) Aanestad, he was born in Greenport
on Nov. 19, 1910. He attended Greenport High School and as a youth worked
on the Ernest Wiggin farm in East Marion. After graduating from Stewart
Automotive School in New York City in 1928, he was service manager for
30 years at the Greenport Ford dealership. During World War II he was employed
at Brigham's Shipyard, building minesweepers. During the 1960s he worked
at Pell's Garage, maintaining trucks. For 11 years, prior to retirement,
he was employed by the Southold Town Highway Department.
Mr. Aanestad was a former member of the Presbyterian church and a member
of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for over 60 years. He was a member
of the Greenport Fire Department's Eagle Hose Company for 57 years and
served as department mechanic for 35.
He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Julia (DeBenedetto); a son,
Eric, of Swampscott, Mass.; a daughter, Joanne Rose of Vernon, Conn.; three
sisters, Agnes Norkelun and Anita Stulsky, both of Greenport and Olga Raab
of East Marion; and three grandchildren.
Sister Sheila Molloy of St. Agnes R.C. Church, Greenport, officiated
at services at S.B. Horton Funeral Home, Greenport, on March 3. Greenport
Fire Department services were held Wednesday evening. Monsignor John Sullivan
of St. Agnes conducted Thursday's service at S.B. Horton, and Monsignor
Ray Walden officiated at graveside services at St. Agnes Cemetery.
Louvinia Ford died March 13 at Riverhead Nursing Home. She was 66.
The daughter of Sarah Jane and James Strickland, she was born in Laurel
on March 25, 1932. She was a member of Unity Baptist Church in Mattituck
until her marriage to John Ford of Cutchogue, when she joined First Baptist
Church of Cutchogue. She was active in Sunday School, sang in the choir
and served on the Board of Trustees and the Board of Ushers. Ms. Ford also
served as church clerk for over 30 years and in the missionary department
until she was admitted to the nursing home.
Predeceased by two brothers, Samuel and the Rev. Peter Strickland,
and by three half-brothers and four half-sisters, she is survived by her
husband; two sons, Thomas, of Bloomfield, Conn., and Kevin, of Mattituck;
two daughters, Katherine Turpin of Mattituck and Darlene Scott of Red Bank,
N.J.; two sisters, Beatrice Evans of Phoenix, Ariz., and Viola Cross of
Cutchogue; three brothers, Herman Strickland of Stuart, Va., and Robuster
and Arthur Strickland, both of Phoenix; five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Visiting hours were held at DeFriest Funeral Home, Mattituck, on March
16. A funeral service was conducted at First Baptist Church on March 17,
the Rev. Cornelius Fulford officiating. Interment followed at Cutchogue
Lifelong Greenport resident Thyra Utz died of natural causes March
20 at her home. She was 88.
She was born on July 25, 1910, to a Norwegian sea captain, Martin Olstad,
and his wife Aagot, who came to Greenport around the turn of the century.
After graduating from Greenport High School, class of 1928, she worked
with S.T. Preston and Son and Bill Mueller's Little Yankee Shop. During
the 1970s, she was a librarian at Floyd Memorial Library.
Mrs. Utz was a longtime Sunday School teacher and active member of
Greenport Presbyterian Church, and later attended Greenport United Methodist
Church. During the second World War, she joined the Power Squadron, a civil
defense group formed to patrol and protect local waters. She was also a
member of Eastern Star, the Shakespeare Club and Bridge Club.
Her interests included ceramics and crafts, traveling, boating, and
fishing with her husband, Robert, who worked in the oystering business.
"She was always busy," said her daughter-in-law, Greta Utz of Phoenix,
Ariz. "She loved to go fishing, to be out on the water with him on a boat.
We'd all go fishing and picnic out there on Peconic Bay and off Greenport
Harbor and Orient," Mrs. Utz said.
Her husband predeceased her in 1995. She is survived by her sons, Robert,
of Phoenix, and Carl, of Orient; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.
Visiting hours are from 1 to 3 p.m. today, March 25, at S.B. Horton
Funeral Home, Greenport, followed at 3 p.m. by the funeral service, with
the Rev. Beverly Furey of Greenport United Methodist Church officiating.
Interment will be at Stirling Cemetery, Greenport.
Memorial contributions may be made to Floyd Memorial Library.
Joseph E. Heaney
Lifelong Greenport resident Joseph E. Heaney, 75, died of natural causes
March 29 at University Medical Center at Stony Brook.
Born June 5, 1923, to William and Julia (McCaffrey) Heaney, he served
with the U.S. Army in World War II and worked as a maintenance mechanic
on Plum Island with the Department of Agriculture, retiring in 1985.
Mr. Heaney was a member of St. Agnes R.C. Church in Greenport, Catholic
War Veterans, Greenport Fire Department Rescue Squad, and Suffolk County
Volunteer Fireman's Association.
He was known in the neighborhood as "Mr. Fix-It," his family said,
and his hobbies included carpentry, gardening, fishing, bowling and darts.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Victoria (Danowski); two sons,
Michael, of Brockport, N.Y., and Mark, of Wheat Ridge, Colo.; two daughters,
Bea Crimi of Greenport and Joanne Heaney of Vienna, Va.; and six grandchildren.
Visiting hours were Tuesday and Wednesday at S.B. Horton Funeral Home,
Greenport. Msgr. John Sullivan will conduct funeral services at 9 a.m.
today, Thursday, at St. Agnes R.C. Church, to be followed by interment
at St. Agnes Cemetery, Greenport.
Memorial donations may be made to the Greenport Fire Department Rescue
Frank C. Todrick
Frank C. Todrick, a lifelong North Fork resident, died April 2 at his
Mattituck home. He was 79.
Mr. Todrick was born Feb. 6, 1920, in New Suffolk to Paul and Victoria
(Doroski) Todrick. A longtime resident of Mattituck, he was employed as
a welder for much of his life. According to his son, Frank Jr., of Mattituck,
he also helped potato farmers and local contractors with welding in his
Early in World War II, he built landing craft with Greenport Shipyard.
He was then invited to Venezuela as a mechanic/welder on road-building
projects. Before World War II ended, he was in the Panama Canal zone, welding
for a private company on ships passing through the canal.
Upon his return to Mattituck, he designed and welded potato and vending
equipment with K.G. Brown Manufacturing, retiring 17 years ago from Hallock
Conveyors of Riverhead.
His daughter-in-law, Nancy Todrick, said, "The biggest interest in
his life was his three grandchildren, but he also enjoyed a little scalloping
and clamming for the family in the bay and local creeks." He was a member
of Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. Church in Cutchogue and a former member
of Moose Lodge, Riverhead.
Predeceased by his wife of 40 years, Rose, he is survived by a sister,
Claire Todrick of Mattituck, in addition to his son and grandchildren.
The family received friends April 5 at DeFriest Funeral Home, Mattituck,
where parish prayer services were held that evening. The Celebration of
the Liturgy of Christian Burial was offered Tuesday at Our Lady of Ostrabrama
Church by the Rev. Walter Rudnicki. Interment followed at Sacred Heart
Memorial donations may be directed to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1064,
Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.
Sophie T. Saunders
Lifelong North Fork resident and restaurant manager Sophie T. Saunders,
92, died April 9 of natural causes at her home in Laurel.
Born Oct. 16, 1906, in Jamesport to Louis and Anna Bugdin, she moved
to New York City upon marrying Clifford Saunders, and worked for a while
at Sunshine Biscuit Company. The couple returned to live in Mattituck in
the late 1930s, and her husband worked at Anchor Inn, a restaurant next
to the Old Mill in Mattituck that burned down some years ago.
"It was then that she held the formula for the chowder we still use
today," said her son, Clifford Jr., of Laurel. "She gave it away free on
Saturday nights in those days," he added.
She became a restaurant manager when the couple opened Laurel Inn,
renamed Elbow Too after Clifford Jr. bought it when they retired 29 years
ago. With his son, Clifford III, of Laurel, the younger Saunderses have
expanded the business, adding Cliff's Elbow Room in Jamesport, Cliff's
Rendezvous in Riverhead (1975) and most recently, Elbow East in Southold.
Mrs. Saunders was a homemaker and member of Ladies of the Moose and
the Columbiettes and enjoyed travel in retirement.
She was predeceased by her husband in 1971. In addition to Clifford
Jr., she is survived by two other sons, Edward, of New Paltz, N.Y., and
Franklin, of Riverhead; three daughters, Claire, of Mattituck, and Dorothy
Wilson and Patricia Gaffga, both of Atlanta, Ga.; 18 grandchildren; and
The family received friends April 11 at F.J. McLaughlin Funeral Home,
Riverhead. Funeral services were conducted Monday, April 12, at St. John
the Evangelist R.C. Church, Riverhead, with the Rev. Thomas Cobey officiating.
Interment followed at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Cutchogue.
Victor G. Lessard
Victor G. Lessard, a longtime executive administrator and building
inspector of Southold Town, died of natural causes April 14 at Central
Suffolk Hospital, Riverhead. He was 74.
The Mattituck resident and self-employed builder also served for five
years as Greenport's building inspector until a few weeks ago, when he
became ill. Prior to joining Greenport, he was Southold's principal building
inspector from 1982 to May, 1993.
Mr. Lessard was born in Lowell, Mass., on April 23, 1924, to Eugene
and Victorine (Gaudette) Lessard. He entered kindergarten when his parents
moved to Mattituck, later graduating from Mattituck High School, Class
of 1942, and St. Mary's College in Texas.
He served with the U.S. Navy in World War II from 1942 to 1946, and
was a former member of the American Legion, an ex-captain with the Fire
Police and 49-year member of Mattituck Fire Department. From 1948 to 1982
he was a member of United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America
and also served at one time as its president.
A statement by Greenport Mayor David Kapell noted the important contribution
Mr. Lessard made to Greenport's renaissance: "His ability to mix reasonable
application of the laws with common sense, humility and a wonderful sense
of humor served to encourage investment in the village. He will be missed."
He is survived by his wife, Ruth (MacNish); three sons, James and Michael
of Mattituck, and Timothy of Jamesport; a daughter, Corinne Lessard-Garcia
of Mattituck; three brothers, Louis and George of Mattituck, and Eugene
of Virginia; a sister, Therese Kujawski of North Carolina; and seven grandchildren.
Another son, Jeffrey, and a brother, Leon, predeceased him.
Visitation was April 15 and 16 at William F. Coster Funeral Home, Cutchogue,
where a firematic service and parish prayer service were held April 16.
A Mass was offered Saturday, April 17, at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church
in Mattituck, followed by interment at Sacred Heart Cemetery, Cutchogue.
Memorial donations may be sent to the American Heart Association.
William Youngs Clark
South Ferry president
William Youngs Clark, president and CEO of the historic South Ferry
Company and a lifelong resident of Shelter Island, died at his home April
24 at the age of 86.
Mr. Clark was born March 21, 1913, to Clifford Youngs and Elizabeth
(Halsey) Clark and educated at Shelter Island schools and Mt. Hermon College,
Mass. Trained as a youth on diesel engines, the company he inherited and
led has been in the Clark family continuously since 1790, when the first
He was a longtime member of the Lions Club, East End Church of Christ
and, when not on call with his company, a member of Shelter Island Fire
Department (The Shelter Island Heights). He also served on the board of
Timothy Hill Children's Ranch in Riverhead.
He is survived by his wife of eight years, Naeme (Gustafson); two sons,
William II and Clifford, both of Shelter Island; four grandchildren, and
one great-grandchild. Preceding him in death were his first wife, Mabel
Louise (Bales) in 1987, and siblings Donald Havens Clark and Florence Clark
The Rev. James Condon officiated at funeral services Tuesday at Shelter
Island Presbyterian Church, followed by interment at Emily French Cemetery,
S.I. Yardley & Pino Funeral Home of Sag Harbor handled arrangements.
Memorial donations may be made to East End Hospice, P.O. Box 1048,
Westhampton Beach, NY 11978, or Timothy Hill Children's Ranch, Riverhead,
or East End Church of Christ, Route 114, East Hampton, NY 11937.
M. Gordon Pemberton
Greenport native M.G. Pemberton, a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant who
served in three wars, died of cancer May 4 at his home in Yutan, Neb. He
He was born May 27, 1923, to Henry and Daisy Pemberton, and after graduating
from Greenport High School was inducted into the Air Force in 1942. He
completed training at Air Force Technical Training Command, Truax Field,
Madison, Wis., and Army Air Force T.C. at Lowry Field, Denver, Colo.
He served in the Pacific theater throughout World War II with the 13th
Air Force and in the Korean conflict as a gunner and technician with the
42nd Bombardment Squadron. During the Vietnam War, he was chosen with five
other men for a secret mission, which was successful.
According to a family member, after returning to the U.S. he served
two years with Tactical Air Command in Omaha, Neb., "circumnavigating the
globe constantly, and looking for trouble [until] he bought a beautiful
island on the Platt River in Yutan," to which he retired in the 1950s.
The Air Medal, Oak Leaf Cluster and Purple Heart were among his many service
He is survived by a son, M. Gordon Jr. of Yutan; two daughters, Merle
Daugherty and Stacey Pemberton of Georgia; two sisters, Norma Dalaker of
Shelter Island and Zola Peckham of Greenport; five brothers, Sherrill,
of Peconic, Lewis, of El Paso, Texas, Douglas, of Biloxi, Miss., Donald,
of Greenport and Hector, of Orient; and two granddaughters.
A memorial service will be held at a date to be announced.
Ann Marston Mills
Ann Marston Mills, 70, a Greenport resident since 1950, died May 15
at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City.
Known as Nancy, she was born Dec. 1, 1928, in West Chester, Pa., the
daughter of Weaver and Mary (McFarland) Marston. In her early years, she
resided in West Chester and Westtown, Pa., and attended West Chester Friends
School, Westtown School and Wilmington Friends School. She graduated with
a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Wellesley College in
Massachusetts in 1950.
On Sept. 9, 1950, she married William J. Mills II and moved to Greenport.
For many years she worked in the family business, William J. Mills &
Co., with her husband.
She was a sports enthusiast and fond of gardening, family members said.
She is survived by her husband; two sons, William J. Mills III of Greenport
and Robert Mills of East Marion; two daughters, Sarah Sands of Downington,
Pa., and Kathleen Beatty of Rockford, Ill.; a sister, Jane Marston of Shelter
Island; and nine grandchildren.
A graveside memorial service was held on Tuesday, May 18, at Sterling
Cemetery, Greenport. Arrangements were in the care of DeFriest Funeral
Contributions in memory of Nancy Mills may be made to Eastern Long
Margaret Harper Koke
Margaret Harper Koke, a Southold resident for 70 years, died May 20
at San Simeon by the Sound nursing home in Greenport. She was 92.
"Peg," as she was known, was born in Scotch Plains, N.J., on April
25, 1907, to George and Estelle (Skillman) Harper. She was very active
in Southold's First Presbyterian Church as part of the Women's Association,
as a deacon, and as the first woman elder.
Mrs. Koke was also a member of Southold Peconic Senior Citizens and
Southold Historical Society, and a volunteer at Eastern Long Island Hospital
and San Simeon by the Sound. "She could be seen on any nice day riding
her bike to the village," said her son, Frederick Koke of Southold.
Besides her son, she is survived by three grandchildren. Her husband,
Alexander, predeceased her.
A memorial service will be held today, Thursday, at 2 p.m. at First
Presbyterian Church in Southold, the Rev. Peter J. Kelley officiating.
Arrangements were handled by DeFriest Funeral Home, Southold.
Memorial donations may be made to First Presbyterian Church, Southold.
Longtime Cutchogue resident Helen Norkelun died May 29 at her home.
She was 73.
She was born in Peconic, Nov. 18, 1925, to Joseph and Agnes (Czerniawski)
Lamaka, and lived in Peconic before moving to Cutchogue in 1957.
Mrs. Norkelun had worked in electronics with Hazeltine in Riverhead,
and was a member of Our Lady of Ostrabrama R.C. Church, Cutchogue.
She is survived by her husband, Harry; her son, Philip, of Riverhead;
a brother, Walter Lamaka of Patchogue; three sisters, Mary Heaney of Greenport,
Frances Lessard of Mattituck and Jane Blados of Cutchogue; and one granddaughter.
The family received friends Tuesday, June 1, at DeFriest Funeral Home,
Mattituck, where religious services were held that evening. The Celebration
of the Liturgy of Christian Burial was offered Wednesday morning at Our
Lady of Ostrabrama Church by the Rev. Walter Rudnicki. Interment was in
Sacred Heart R.C. Cemetery.
Walter Schumann, founder of the Shelter Island Reporter
Walter Robert Schumann, founder, editor and publisher of the Shelter
Island Reporter for 14 years and later a columnist for The Suffolk Times,
died at University Hospital, Stony Brook, on Friday, June 4, near the 40th
anniversary of his paper's first edition. He was 83. Mr. Schumann was the
great-grandson of composer Robert Schumann.
A funeral service will take place today, June 10, at 10:30 a.m. at
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, Shelter Island.
According to his daughter, Peggy Pahoulis of Holtsville, Mr. Schumann
died of complications associated with long-term diabetes. He is also survived
by another daughter, Elizabeth Brumfield of Mission Viejo, Calif.; two
sisters, Marie Personius of Elmira, N.Y., and Clare Albee of Tequesta,
Fla.; and four grandchildren. His first wife, the former Natalie Elizabeth
Barrett, to whom he was married in 1943, died in 1978. In 1979, he married
the former Caroline Mottram, who predeceased him in 1995.
Walter was the son of Etelka (Liddle) and Felix Schumann, a German
immigrant and grandson of composer Robert Schumann and his pianist wife,
Clara. He was born in Bronxville, N.Y., in 1915, and grew up in Yonkers,
where he became an award-winning pianist while still in grade school. Before
he graduated from high school, Mr. Schumann organized his own dance band,
playing in clubs throughout Westchester County.
He began his newspaper career in the late 1930s as an advertising space
salesman at the New York Sun. He volunteered for military service in 1942,
and continued his journalistic path by founding and editing a daily newspaper,
the Sunsetter, while assigned to the 13th Army Air Corps Fighter Command
in the South Pacific, a unit that was awarded 11 battle stars.
After the war, Mr. Schumann returned to the Sun until it was sold in
1950, when he formed his own printing company in Manhattan. In 1959, the
Schumanns became year-rounders at their Shelter Island home, after 13 years
as summer residents. Surprised by the interest in the Pennysaver news sheet
he published, Mr. Schumann ventured to try a weekly newspaper, after several
others had failed in the past. Because mailing within Suffolk County was
free in those days with a bulk-rate permit, he was able to coax nearly
300 subscribers that first summer to continue receiving weekly news of
Shelter Island year-round for the princely sum of $3. By the time he retired
for health reasons and sold the paper in 1973, The Shelter Island Reporter's
subscription list had reached 2,000, more than the Island's year-round
population, a benchmark of which he was very proud.
In 1987, Mr. Schumann returned to the editorial field to write his
weekly column, "An Ear to the Ground," for The Suffolk Times until failing
eyesight forced him to submit his last column on Feb. 14, 1991. Later that
year, the Schumanns packed up and headed for a retirement village in Wilmington,
N.C. At a farewell dinner, Mr. Schumann was presented with a plaque that
reads: "To Walter Schumann, in appreciation for telling the truth to Shelter
Island." It became one of his most prized possessions.
After his wife, Caroline, died suddenly in 1995, Mr. Schumann returned
to Long Island to live with his daughter in Holtsville.
Memorial donations may be made to the Shelter Island Public Library.