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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Darryl Ray Dickerson

Darryl R. Dickerson
Darryl R. Dickerson

Darryl Ray Dickerson
Darryl R. Dickerson, 61, longtime resident of Shelter Island, passed peacefully at St. Catherine’s of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, on January 30, 2016.

He was born on July 23, 1954 in Greenport, the third son of George John and Frances (Cartwright) Dickerson. Darryl grew up on Coecles Harbor in the old Cartwright house on Willow Lane. He attended Shelter Island Union Free School (K-12) and graduated with the rather large class of 1972. Following high school, he attended Daniel Webster College in Nashua, New Hampshire and upon graduation became an FAA Air Traffic Controller. He was then employed as a Control Tower Supervisor at the tower in Groton, Connecticut.

Darryl was an avid fisherman and fished the waters of Shelter Island for most of his life. Additionally, he made numerous fishing trips with his father, “Captain” George, to Cutty Hunk, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, Montauk, Florida and the Caribbean.

As an Islander, he was bound to become one of those great Dickerson golfers and could easily win rounds of golf played with his older brothers. It has also been reported by reliable sources that, more than once, he took a few bucks off the great Captain George.

Darryl owned a Citabria (airbatic spelled backwards) single engine airplane for several years. He kept the plane in Waterford, Connecticut and at Klenawicus Field on Shelter Island. Captain George, a B-17 pilot, would ride in the co-pilot seat while teaching Darryl how to perform aerobatics, including rolls, loops, crazy eights, stalls and dives over Gardiner’s Bay often with the wheels nearly touching the water.

His brothers remember the time when Darryl and his brother Dave were flying his Citabria across the Sound from Groton to Shelter Island when Captain George and his other brother Doug showed up in a Cessna 150. Captain George informed Darryl they were going to fly a wing tip-to-wing tip “formation” back home to Klenawicus Field. Dave and Doug remember Darryl flying less than 1 foot off his father’s wing tip.

Darryl loved to snow ski, a skill he learned while attending college in New Hampshire. Captain George took him on numerous ski trips, the most memorable being in Austria.

In his later years, challenged with declining health, his avocation became keeping track of the weather as well as, “all of the goings on” on Shelter Island. He developed the traits of pilots and sea captains always listening to the weather radio and observing the atmospheric conditions.

He loved to tell stories of current events on the Island and he would conclude these stories with a smile, a little wink and a joyous laugh. Darryl could be seen on his electric bike with his dog tagging along. More than anything, he loved growing up on Shelter Island, he loved the people of the Island and they loved him.

Darryl is survived by his sister Dawn Dickerson; brothers and their spouses Douglas and Patricia Dickerson and David and Susan Dickerson; his step-mother Marion Dickerson; step-sister Chris Ogar; step-sisters and spouses Ginny and Barry Thornton and Valerie and Radoje Spasojevic; nephews and nieces and their spouses Sean and Amanda Dickerson, Mike and Noelle Oberg, Marc and Chris Riemann, Nate and Heidi Hogan, Craig and Amy Johnson, Thomas and Laurel Viens and 10 great-nephews and great-nieces.

Arrangements are with the Shelter Island Funeral Home. Calling hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, February 5. The funeral service will be at the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church at 11 a.m. on Saturday, February 6. Interment will take place at the Shelter Island Cemetery immediately following the funeral service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Shelter Island Ambulance Foundation, P.O. Box 547, Shelter Island, NY 11964.