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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Ruth E. Robbins


Ruth E. Robbins
Ruth E. Robbins passed away in New York City on June 3, 2015 at the age of 88.

She was born in 1927 and raised in Saratoga Springs, New York, the daughter of Spencer B. Eddy and Esther Hubbell Eddy, who died in 1934, when Ruth was seven.

She graduated from Saratoga Springs High School and in 1949 received her B.A. degree in political science from William Smith College (the first woman to do so). She married William (Bill) A. Robbins in 1951 and shortly thereafter settled in New York’s Greenwich Village. A couple of years later they visited Shelter Island for the first time, staying at the Chequit.

Out of college, she worked in New York City for Young & Rubicam and BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corp.).

Then, for over 30 years, starting in the ‘60s, Ruth derived immense satisfaction out of tutoring children who struggled with learning disabilities; she worked with students from virtually all of the grade schools in Greenwich Village, including P.S. 3, P.S. 41, St. Luke’s School, Grace Church School, Little Red School House and Village Community School, among others.

Ruth and Bill first rented a house bordering Mabel’s Creek in Shorewood Farms from Jean and Jack Garr in 1960 and they and their children spent subsequent Augusts on the Island until they bought the house in 1968, and began spending nearly every spring and fall weekend here.

In the fall of 1970, the house burned to the ground, despite a heroic effort on the part of both the Center and Heights Fire departments. Though devastated, there was never any question in their minds that they would rebuild. At that time they were immensely grateful for — but not the least bit surprised by — the assistance and support of their friends and neighbors, the help and guidance of Islanders in general and the tradespeople of Shelter Island in particular.

Ruth loved a good game of cribbage, backgammon, bridge, croquet, and — in her more spry days—tennis and wiffle ball.

She was predeceased by her husband of 42 years and is survived by her daughter, Carol R. Doherty and her son-in-law, Robert Doherty of New York City; her son, Scott A. Robbins  and her two grandchildren, Kate J. Robbins and Willis A. Robbins of Rye (Willis pitched for the Shelter Island Bucks during the 2014 summer). She was also predeceased by her companion of many years, Clint Mochon — her high school sweetheart who she reconnected with nearly 50 years later.

Her family wrote, “It is difficult to express how much Ruth treasured her 60-plus-years’ relationship with Shelter Island and how greatly she cherished her personal connections to a multitude of Islanders, from hareleggers to adopted Islanders to ‘summer folk.’”

Ruth E. Robbins will be interred, next to her husband’s grave, in Shelter Island Cemetery. In lieu of flowers her family asks that donations be made in her name to the Town of Shelter Island’s Community Preservation Fund, P.O. Box 970, Shelter Island, NY 11964.