Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Jackson, Melkonian

Howard Francis Geoghegan Xavier Jackson of Shelter Island, formerly of Garden City, died in the early morning of Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 at Stony Brook ELIH in Greenport. He was 94 years old.


Howard was born Feb. 1, 1925 to Joseph James Jackson and Anne Marie Longworth in Cedarhurst, N.Y. He was predeceased by his brothers, Col. Joseph J. Jackson (Sam), Thomas P. Jackson (Phyliss), and Richard L. Jackson (Jane).

Howard is survived by his wife, Pamela, his children, Howard F. Jackson Jr., Peter C. Jackson (Pat), Susan DiGeronimo, Veronica Campbell (William/deceased), and David (Harry) Jackson. He was blessed with seven grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and a multitude of nieces and nephews.

Howard grew up in Cedarhurst/Hewlett, N.Y. He helped with his father’s business in real estate, property management and development. He attended Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., graduating in 1942 at the age of 17. His brothers were actively serving in the military so, with the permission of his mother, Howard enlisted.

He was rejected by the U.S. Navy flying program because of a heart murmur. He then was accepted by the U.S. Army as a private, trained in heavy weapons, machine gun, mortars and Ranger training. Following cadet status in the Army Air Corps, he graduated as aerial gunner, bombardier and navigator.

Too young for a commission, Howard was promoted to flight officer and later received a battlefield commission.

Trained on B-24 bombers, he was in the 15th Air Force, 454th Bomb Group, 739th Squadron. He flew combat missions over North Africa, Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Yugoslavia. Howard received many commendations and medals, including the Purple Heart, Air medal, Combat medal and Good Conduct medal.

After WW II, he was involved in the Korean, cold and Vietnam wars.

He married Veronica D. Zolnak in 1948. He worked for East New York Savings Bank, and was involved in real estate and politics. Eventually he opened his own international real estate business in Mineola while residing in Garden City. The family enjoyed summers in Atlantic Beach and Shelter Island.

The successful real estate business thrived and afforded a livelihood for all his employees. Howard and Veronica also donated their time with inmates and addicts, visiting, reading and coaching them.

In the early 1960s, Howard purchased a home on Tuthill Drive on Big Ram Island. There they continued to raise their children and entertain family in the summers. In 1977, Veronica passed away from pancreatic cancer. His mother Anne was still alive.

In 1979, Howard began dating Pamela. They married in 1986 at Camp Quinipet, officiated by Father Traynor and Pastor Mahron.

Howard retired from his business in Mineola, and moved to Shelter Island permanently in 1987. He worked with the Town Assessors office, and developed his own appraisal business.

In 2008, he sold the family property and relocated to Silver Beach at Crab Creek. He found peace and beauty there and continued to work until the end of 2018.

Howard was a member of the local American Legion Post 281. He was the keynote speaker at Memorial Day events along with donating his time to speak to students about the war. He also performed in the Telling Project, at the Bay Street Theater, which supports the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund.

His gift of voice, the ability to listen and support, his humor and antics, and faith will continue on in all the people he touched.

He was a kind, quiet man, his family remembered, who was still looking to talk to the young and participate in the library and poetry talks.

A wake was held at the Shelter Island Funeral Home on Aug. 18, with a Legion service headed by Father Peter DeSanctis and Commander Dave Clark of our local Legion. A church service was held at Our Lady of the Isle on Aug. 19, followed by a reception at Rams Head Inn.

Howard was cremated and will be laid to rest in the future in Arlington National Cemetery.

John Peter Melkonian
John Peter Melkonian, 80, of Armonk, N,Y. passed peacefully, on Aug. 24, 2019 at his summer home on Shelter Island surrounded by friends and family.

John was born Sept. 15, 1938, the only child of Rose and John Melkonian. He was raised in the Bronx and attended high school there.

Later he served in the U.S. Army and eventually opened an outdoor patio furniture store on Long Island. He moved to Armonk in 1975 with his beloved wife, Nancy Bertini Melkonian, and there they raised their only son, Mark.

John enjoyed summering on Shelter Island for the past 50 years, where he loved the beaches, cruising around the Island on his boat, and especially loved watching the beautiful sunsets viewed from his porch.

John is survived by his wife, Nancy; son, Mark; daughter-in-law Martha and two grandchildren, Matthew and Morgan.