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Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Crandall, Cassidy, Koehler

Charles Eben Crandall
Charles Eben Crandall

Charles Eben Crandall, M.D., of Maplewood, New Jersey, and Shelter Island died on April 15, 2017, after a brief illness.

Mr. Crandall was born March 8, 1921, in Jersey City, New Jersey, the son of Charles Eben Crandall and Edith Harriet Squire. He grew up in Kearny, New Jersey, and graduated from Kearny High School and Princeton University with a degree in chemistry.

He enlisted in the Navy, and went to officer candidate school and volunteered for the “Rocket Gunboat Groups,”  which manned converted landing craft equipped with barrage rockets.

On LCI(G) 471, part of Rocket Gunboat Group 8 in the Central Pacific theater, Lt. Crandall participated in the landings at Kwajalein, Eniwetok, Peleliu, Saipan, Tinian, and Guam before the invasion of Iwo Jima, where the 471 lost half of her crew when the Japanese mistakenly concluded that the demolition teams and Rocket Gunboats were the actual invasion force.

Rocket Gunboat Group 8 was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation for Kwajalein and the Presidential Unit Citation for Iwo Jima. Lt. Crandall was awarded the Navy and Marine Corp medal for rescuing two marine pilots under enemy fire at Guam, and the Bronze Star with Combat V for bravery under fire at Iwo Jima. He received a battlefield promotion at Iwo Jima to skipper of the flagship LCI(G) 457. Following World War II, Mr. Crandall served in the reserves on the USS Gato (submarine service).

After returning from the Central Pacific, Mr. Crandall attended medical school, he said, so no one ever would die on his watch for his lack of knowledge. At Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, he met the woman who would be his partner for almost 70 years, Elizabeth Jones. The two interned at Bellevue Hospital in New York and completed residency at the Hospital Center at Orange, New Jersey. He then spent two years as chief resident in Orange before moving on to Francis Delafield Hospital doing cancer research.

Dr. Crandall subsequently established a private practice in the South Orange-Maplewood area and was on the medical staffs of the Hospital Center at Orange, East Orange General Hospital and St. Barnabas Medical Center, serving all three institutions in multiple capacities. At East Orange General, Dr. Crandall was instrumental in establishing the first intensive care unit in New Jersey. He finished his professional career as medical director and chief underwriter at Prudential Life Insurance Company and then at Guardian Life in New York.

An ardent conservationist, Dr. Crandall believed deeply in community involvement, his family said. He was instrumental in saving from development Camp Glen Gray in the Ramapo Mountains, Sunfish Pond in Worthington State Forest, and the Hilltop Reservation on Second Watchung Mountain. A lifelong Boy Scout and former Eagle Scout, he served as scoutmaster of Troop 3 in Maplewood, and led a backpacking trek to Philmont Scout Ranch in northern New Mexico, as well as a wilderness canoe trip into Quebec. He received the Silver Beaver Award for distinguished service.

Dr. Crandall served for nearly 20 years as the football team physician at Columbia High School and was inducted into the CHS Athletic Hall of Fame. He was a long-term member and former president of the Kiwanis Club of Maplewood, as well as the New Jersey Medical Club, the oldest medical club in the state. For many years he was a member of the Shelter Island Yacht Club, serving for a time as its Fleet surgeon, as well as a trustee of Union Chapel in the Heights.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Crandall is survived by his daughter, Marilyn Crandall Jones, M.D., of San Diego; his son, the Honorable Charles Stevens Crandall of San Luis Obispo; granddaughters Abigail Elizabeth Jones of Washington D.C. and Joanne Elizabeth Crandall of San Luis Obispo; and grandson, Warren Stevens Crandall of Boston. He was predeceased by his sons Richard Squire Crandall and David Jones Crandall.

The family has lost a beloved father, the community an engaged citizen, and America an honored son, his family said.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending. Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (Basking Ridge, New Jersey), the Kennebec Land Trust (Winthrop, Maine), or the Civil War Trust (Hagerstown, Maryland).

Kevin Joseph Cassisdy

Kevin Joseph Cassidy
Kevin Joseph Cassidy of Darien,  Connecticut, who summered on Shelter Island, passed away at home surrounded by his family on May 10, 2017. He was 60. The cause was lung cancer.

Kevin was born October 1, 1956 to Joseph and Eleanor Cassidy in Red Bank, New Jersey. He grew up on the Jersey Shore with his brothers, Padraic and Brendan, and his sister, Kathleen. It was there, family said, that he developed his love of family, his great capacity for friendship, and his love of the ocean.

While he was in high school, he moved with his family to Chevy Chase, Maryland, and he graduated from Good Counsel High School in Wheaton, Maryland. Kevin graduated from Boston College where he was an Economics major and an avid rugby player. His love for the Heights and his BC brother and sister Eagles lasted ever since, his family recalled.

He earned his law degree at Fordham Law School where he was a member of the Law Review, and became a member of the New York and California Bar associations. He practiced law at White & Case’s New York and Stockholm offices and for several years practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, first in New York and later in Los Angeles. Most recently, he was the general counsel and executive vice president at Rafferty Holdings, LLC.

Twenty-five years ago Kevin married Jacqueline Sinon of East Williston and the couple lived in Los Angeles, Sydney, and Hong Kong before settling in Darien, where they raised their four children.

Kevin was a devoted, endlessly supportive neighborhood dad and relished the joys of fatherhood, his family recalled. When his children were young, Kevin never tired of lacing up their hockey skates and the ice rink was a favorite destination. Learning and loving the game himself, he excitedly stood at the glass taking in games and working the clock. He was devoted to the Darien Youth Hockey Program and served on its governing board of directors.

An enthusiastic supporter of Darien Little League, Kevin also coached baseball and softball.

A former Boy Scout, Kevin guided his sons in scouting, serving as an assistant scoutmaster for Troop 53 in Darien. He loved participating in canoing, skiing and camping trips, especially the famous annual Klondike Camp Out in the snow. He devoted many hours to the annual Boy Scout tag sale and glowed with pride when troop members, including his sons, became Eagle Scouts.

Kevin was a member of Saint Thomas More Parish in Darien, and was recalled by family as a man of deep faith who set a powerful example for his children.

Whether he was taking off with his kids early on a Saturday morning for a day trip to the ski slopes or teeing off when the sun came up at Gardiner’s Bay Country Club, Kevin loved his life and lived it to the fullest, with enthusiasm, a generous heart, a sense of humor, and uncompromising integrity, his family recalled. The family recalled many unforgettable summers spent on Shelter Island, where no one who got in the boat while Kevin was at the helm didn’t learn to water ski.

In addition to his wife, Kevin is survived by his sons Kevin, Michael and Brendan, and his daughter Colleen; his brother, Brendan of College Park, Maryland and his sister, Kathleen of Longmont, Colorado. His brother Padraic passed away in 2009.

A funeral mass was held at Saint Thomas More Church and Kevin was buried at Our Lady of the Isle Cemetery. Donations in his honor may be made to the Andrew Shaw Memorial Trust (an organization that supports Darien Boy Scouts) P.O. Box 2315, Darien, CT 06820 or to the Darien EMS-Post 53, P.O. Box 2066, Darien, CT 06820.

Gary Koehler

Gary Koehler
Gary Koehler, a longtime Shelter Island resident who painted many of the homes here and in neighboring communities, passed away peacefully on June 20, 2017, surrounded by his family and friends at the VA Hospital in Northport. He was 73.

Gary was born on October 26, 1943 in San Fransisco to Fredrick Koehler and Ingrid Johansen. He was the oldest of four children. In high school, Gary was on the wrestling team and played football in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. He lived with his great aunt Dagney “Nana” Johansen in Staten Island before being drafted to Vietnam in 1965 where he served as a military police officer.

Gary married Grace Kempton in 1972. They resided in Rockville Centre with their two children. Gary and his family moved permanently to Shelter Island in 1990 after summering here for many years.

He ran a successful painting business on the Island that he loved.

Family recalled he enjoyed taking his kids and their friends waterskiing, tubing and fishing off their boat, trips to Newport with Grace, talks with his friend Virginia, running errands in his red pickup truck, lunches from the Shelter Island Pharmacy, salads from Bella Vita Pizzeria, stopping in to see his friends in the hardware store, afternoon naps, his dog Toby, his kids and especially his grandchildren.

Gary is remembered by family as a kind and gentle man who looked after stray cats, baby birds and all of the critters in his yard. He was a fun-loving Poppi to his grandchildren who absolutely adored him, his family said. His dry sense of humor, bellowing laugh and warm ways will be so greatly missed.

Gary is survived by his children, Lesley Evans of Staten Island and Gary “Chip” Koehler of Cutchogue; their mother, Grace (the couple divorced in 1997 but remained close), and three grandchildren, James, Isabella and William; and his siblings Ingrid Catherine Sutherland of New London, Donald Aitken of Tarpon Springs, Florida and Greg Aitken of West Islip.

A celebration of his life will take place at noon on Saturday, July 8 at the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church. All are welcome.