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Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Jones, Shillingburg

Benjamin Franklin Jones
Benjamin Franklin Jones

Benjamin Franklin Jones
Benjamin Franklin Jones, beloved husband, father, grandfather, first responder and friend, died on January 14, 2016 in Stuart, Florida.

The son of the late Judge Benjamin F. Jones Sr. and the late Mabel Stevens Jones, Ben was born in Orange, New Jersey on September 21, 1922.

Ben grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey and graduated from Columbia High School in 1940. He attended Dartmouth College in the class of 1944. After graduation, he joined the U.S. Army. His first post was an engineering program at the University of Idaho where he met Betty Jane Thompson. They married in Columbus, Georgia on October 14, 1944, while Ben was stationed at Fort Benning, immediately prior to his overseas assignment, fighting with General George Patton’s Third Army, 71st Division.

In civilian life, Ben joined the Monarch Life Insurance Company in New York City where he rose from field underwriter to managing his own agency in Cleveland, Ohio in 1953. During his rise, he was the company’s first agent to underwrite $1 million of insurance in a single year and among its 35 top underwriters. In the early 1960s he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts as vice president of agency operations, later becoming president and CEO and, ultimately, chairman of Monarch.

After a 40-year career with Monarch, Ben pursued a lifetime interest as a first responder. He and Betty were trained as emergency medical technicians at Springfield College and Ben continued his training in the first class of paramedics at the college. He began this second career as a volunteer in Springfield and, later, on Shelter Island and in Stuart, Florida. Social media has documented the highs and lows of his experience, which included serving a dying police officer and delivering 11 babies.

He was awarded the James O. Page Charitable Foundation Special Lifetime Achievement Award in EMS by the Journal of Emergency Medical Services in 2013 in Washington, D.C. In the nomination presentation, it was noted “… he could have retired very comfortably. But he wanted to make a difference, a real difference, in people’s lives.”

To that end, he never went anywhere without a second vehicle, a green Chevy pickup, so he could respond without stranding family members away from home. His standard apparel always included at least three radios or pagers.

Ben was always community-minded and his first responder service continued on the Island with the American Red Cross Ambulance and, later, with the Island’s EMS organization. Fundraising was an important part of his service to the ambulance, as was maintaining the highest state of readiness and most current technology.

He participated with the Shelter Island Red Cross team that was dispatched to Ground Zero in New York City on 9/11 and was one of the oldest paramedics in the country to serve there. Hurricane Sandy did not stop him from assisting in transporting a 92-year-old patient to Southampton Hospital in spite of 80-knot winds, huge tides and the need to commandeer a pickup truck to board the South Ferry.

Ben was the grandson of a Methodist minister who led retreats in the Heights in the 1880s. Ben’s father later bought several properties on the Island, but after he died in 1935, Ben’s mother was unable to pay the taxes. Most of the property was taken over by the bank, but the family managed to keep a cottage on Summerfield Place. That cottage was rented out every summer for much needed income and it fell to young Ben to manage the rental property, a task he didn’t particularly enjoy.

In spite of his teenage thoughts, the Island became part of Ben’s DNA. He waded into the bays to pick scallops, dig for clams and to even swim to Greenport. He loved fishing from his boat, the B&B, with his fishing buddies, greeting folks on the ferry, playing golf and tennis, running in the 10K, attending Union Chapel in the Grove and meeting friends for drinks and good cheer.

Off-Island, his personal achievements and goals included earning a third degree black belt in karate, completing the Boston Marathon and being accepted for the New York Marathon. He was also an accomplished skier from his days at Dartmouth and he shared his joy on the slopes with every member of his family.

Ben is survived by his wife of 71 years, Betty Jane; his three children, son, Douglas Jones and his wife Cindy Carter of Ellsworth, Maine, his two daughters, Susan Jones and her husband, Ted Clark, of Ithaca, New York and Nancy Jones of Somers, Connecticut; and five granddaughters: Alison Bearer and her husband Greg of Rochester, New York, Holland Perry and her husband Anthony of Ellington, Connecticut, Marleigh Cox of Somers, Connecticut, Phoebe Clark of Amherst, Massachusetts and Nora Vance of Ithaca, New York; and two great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sister, Elizabeth Crandall, and husband, Charles, of Shelter Island and Maplewood, New Jersey. Very important people in Ben’s life were dear friends Wayne and Roxanne Duffy of Stuart, Florida.

A memorial service honoring the life of Benjamin Franklin Jones will be scheduled on Shelter Island when warmer weather returns.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 547, Shelter Island, NY 11964 or to Union Chapel in the Grove, P.O. Box 326, Shelter Island Heights, NY 11965.

Patricia Moser Shillingburg

Patricia Moser Shillingburg
Patricia Moser Shillingburg, 73, loving wife, mother, community volunteer and local historian, passed away on January 14, 2016 in her home on Shelter Island.

Patricia was born January 10, 1943 in Summit, New Jersey, daughter of Richard Goodwin and Alice (House) Moser. The youngest of three children, she grew up in Summit, attending Kent Place School and graduated from the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Connecticut.

Her mother’s family’s presence on Shelter Island began in the late 1870s, and the Mosers followed the Houses’ tradition.

Patricia grew up summering on the Island, sailing at the Yacht Club and swimming at the Beach Club.

She attended Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1965. She majored in Russian history, travelling to the Soviet Union under Khrushchev, a trip she would later encourage her daughter, Emily, to make in 1989. Patricia’s love for history and political science continued throughout her life.

In the 1960s, she was in Washington, D.C. and worked in the news, health and hospitality industries. In Washington she was set up on a blind date with Edward. The two were married in Short Hills, New Jersey in 1967.

They settled first in Washington, D.C. and Hartsdale, New York, before moving to Summit and then South Orange, New Jersey, where they raised their children. Patricia served on the boards of various New Jersey organizations for developmental disabilities, including on the New Jersey State Board of Human Services.

Their oldest, Lillian, was born with severe disabilities, and Patricia spent more than 20 years championing the rights of disabled children and adults for education and support services, focusing on opening doors of institutions and integrating individuals into communities.

To that end, in 1980, she founded Our House, Inc., to secure single family homes and apartments as residential housing for developmentally disabled adults across suburban New Jersey. The New Providence residence was one of the first four acquisitions, into which Lillian moved about five years later. Our House has since grown and flourished to 37 residences and several day programs.

Patricia encouraged her children to pursue their passions. Donald received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia College, then Master’s degrees from Columbia, Cambridge and Princeton universities. He is now practicing architecture in London and New York City.

Emily earned her Bachelor of Arts from New York University, and Master’s from Goucher College. She works in federal heritage programs in Washington, D.C., focusing on historic preservation and archaeology on public lands and related museum collections, as well as repatriation of Native American ancestors and cultural property.

Patricia often strove to connect people with the unfamiliar. In the 1980s, she authored a series of books to help children and adults use computers, as Apple II Plus and IBM personal computers were first making their way into households.

In 1987, she wrote the “Best of the North Fork.”

In 1999 Patricia and Edward moved to Shelter Island full-time, where Edward continued his law practice and Patricia and took up the challenge of researching and writing local history.

Patricia was an active member of the community; she identified issues and brought people together to find solutions. Civic engagement included the Deer and Tick Committee, the Town Ferry Committee; Working Families and Island Action lines; Shelter Island Housing Options, Inc.; Sustainable East End Development Strategies; East End Transportation Commission; and Five Town Rural Transit. For 15 years, she served on the Shelter Island Zoning Board of Appeals. She also raised $100,000 for renovating St. Mary’s rectory.

In 2012, Patricia chaired the 2012 Shelter Island House Tour and Flower Show, and served as chairwoman for three house tours to benefit the Shelter Island Historical Society, all of which were smashing successes. The 2012 House Tour and Flower

Show book was nationally recognized by the Federation of Garden Clubs.

An avid flower arranger, Patricia often won awards for her designs. Her name is etched in many silver dishes from the Garden Club for her winning arrangements over the years. She would share her design and technique “secrets” with anyone who asked, meaning more of us can enjoy her lovely and bright style of flower arrangements.

A true friend, she looked after those close to her, always supportive with a kind word, a gentle nudge, a thought shared in confidence.

Patricia is survived by her husband of 49 years, J. Edward Shillingburg; children Lillian Chisholm Shillingburg of New Providence, New Jersey, Donald Harrison Shillingburg (Petra) of London and Emily Shillingburg Palus (Matthew) of Hyattsville, Maryland; and four grandchildren, June Alice and Poppy Dare Shillingburg and Emmett James and Matilda Dare Palus.

The family plans a memorial this June.

Contributions in her honor may be made to the Shelter Island Historical Society, P.O. Box 847, Shelter Island, NY 11964.