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Shelter Island Reporter obituaries


Donald B. Bender
Donald B. Bender, a regular summer visitor to Shelter Island for more than six decades, passed away on December 11 after a brief illness. He was 95.


Born to American parents in Sydney, Australia, Donald served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II and graduated from Drew University and Parsons School of Design. He worked in advertising in New York City his entire career.

Donald first visited Shelter Island in 1953. He and his wife, Ann, visited the Island nearly every year thereafter. Donald appreciated the Island’s unspoiled natural environment as well as its friendly residents. Walks in Mashomack, photography and exploring the Island by canoe and kayak were among his favorite activities.

Donald, his family said, remained healthy, active and cheerful throughout his life.

He celebrated his 95th birthday on the Island last June.

He is survived by his wife of 63 years; children Donald and Carol; two grandchildren; and other relatives.

Florence M. Olenski
Florence M. Olenski died Friday, January 12, 2018 at her South Ferry home, four days after her grandson, Barry Wayne Ryder of Shelter Island, passed away. She was 94.

Florence was born in Greenport to John E. and Margaret A. (née Jacque) Oliver, and had a brother, John, and sister, Gertrude. When she was 2, the family moved to Shelter Island, where she attended school.

On January 12, 1941, she married Anthony J. Olenski.

They had two children, Margaret and Donald. A homemaker, Florence liked to cook, bake, feed birds, and crochet, her family recalled. Her husband died in September of 1991, just a few months after they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.

A lifelong parishoner at Our Lady of the Isle Church, Florence was active in community organizations including the auxiliaries of the American Legion Mitchell Post 281 and the Shelter Island Fire Department.

Also predeceased by her parents, siblings, and son, Florence is survived by her daughter, Margaret O. Walther of Shelter Island; granddaughter, Cindy R. Arkinson of Sag Harbor; great-granchildren, Steven J. Arkinson, Phoebe M. Arkinson and Joseph W. Ryder; and many neices and nephews.

Visiting was Tuesday, a funeral mass was held Wednesday at Our Lady of the Isle with interment at the church’s cemetery.


John Biedell
A Memorial Mass will be held for John Biedell of Shelter Island at Our Lady of the Isle Church on Friday, January 26, 2018 at 10:30 a.m.

John passed away on October 12, 2017 following a lengthy illness. He is survived by his two sisters, JoAnne and Christine, and long-time friend, Charlie Gulluscio.