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Shelter Island Reporter Obituaries



Madeline Pruess Burston
Madeline Helen Pruess Burston passed away peacefully on February 13, 2015 at Winthrop University Hospital in Mineola. She was 93 1/2 years old and is survived by her three children, Suzanne Helen Burston, Carol Ann Burston and James W. Burston.

She was born on July 11, 1921 in Baltimore, Maryland to Hans and Helen Pruess.

She resided part time in Lauderdale by the Sea, Florida, and Shelter Island, but remained a Garden City resident for 77 years until her passing.

In 1945 she married Lieutenant Ivor John Patrick Burston, USN, who served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters during WW II. Her husband, who emigrated from the UK, passed away in 2001, also at 93 1/2 years of age. Madeline and Ivor were married for 57 wonderful years.

Madeline attended Adelphi University in Garden City, transferring to Barnard College, Columbia University in New York where she graduated with honors, obtaining a B.S. degree with a dual major in chemistry and biology. During WW II she was part of a research team that conducted studies on the effectiveness of Vitamin C therapy for improving vision. The research team’s findings were considered invaluable to Allied pilots and the war effort.

Subsequently, Madeline earned a master’s degree in medical library science at Long Island University in Greenvale, New York. Upon graduation, she was invited to become a professor at the Palmer School of Library & Information Science, LIU Post, where she designed the courses and curricula for the Palmer School.

Madeline had a 30-year career with the Nassau County Department of Health, Division of Laboratories & Research, where she was the first female to be appointed executive administrator. She established the Medical Science Library, which became a focal point for reference and research throughout Nassau County.

Madeline was a member of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Garden City, the University Club and the Merchant Marine Academy. According to her family, she was a beautiful and accomplished woman, who during her college years was a model and beauty pageant winner. She understood Latin, was fluent in Danish and German, designed and sewed evening gowns, played the organ beautifully and was an avid sailor and world traveller.

Her children wrote that she will be remembered and greatly missed.


Robert H. O’Connor
A funeral service for Bob O’Connor, whose obituary appeared in an earlier edtion of the Reporter, will be held on Saturday, May 9, at 1 p.m. at Christ Church, 17 Sagamore Road, Bronxville, New York.