There are a couple of old sayings that sum up our feelings when important people in our lives pass away. The ranks are thinning, you will hear, as well as that the cemeteries are filled with irreplaceable people. Both statements are true and untrue since every day people pick up a fallen standard. Even though we’re diminished by the deaths of those who have dedicated their unique lives to doing good, there are always others who are ready to replace them.
A family mourns loved ones who are gone, and a community also can mourn the loss of people who thinned the ranks through their passing.
This year on Shelter Island we saw people in our community who were not defined by bottom lines, but by the service and spirit they gave to all of us.
We remember Barbara Lee “Buzzy” Clark for her commitment to Shelter Island, and the countless hours and the effort she gave to the The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 281, the Shelter Island Coecles Harbor Association, the Shelter Island Association and as a founding member of the Shelter Island branch of The League of Women Voters. We remember her support for many progressive causes, including social justice, women’s rights, the arts and music.
And most of all, we remember her dazzling smile.
Others who gave selflessly to better their neighbors and their community are Dorothy Dickerson Clark, Timothy Bohen, Dot Ross, Edwin “Sherman” Payne, George Blados and Howard Jackson, one of our Island’s oldest veterans and strongest supporters of the American Legion Mitchell Post 281.
We also remember Elizabeth Pederson, the guiding light of the Shelter Island Historical Society, and Al Bevan, who along with his wife, Tippi, ran the Food Pantry out of the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, which brought comfort and support to the less fortunate among us.
And one of the great friends to this paper, Joseph Murphy, who supported us, and offered welcome criticism, with his wit, gentleness and generosity of friendship, will truly be missed by the Reporter staff.
We ask forgiveness for not mentioning all the Islanders who passed away in 2019 who lived life to the full and made a difference in our lives.
Emily Dickinson summed it up:
Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –