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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Kolina May Reiter

Kolina May Reiter passed away gently on April 27, 2021 in the company of family and loved ones. She was 82.

Born Kolina May Nevel on May 22, 1938 to May and John Barice Nevel on Shelter Island, she was a true “harelegger.” Her life on Shelter island is irreplaceable, her family said.

Kolina’s mother’s and father’s families were from Cornwall, Canada and immigrated to Long Island in the early 1900s, and followed May’s sisters, Jessie Price and Margaret Oliver, to Shelter Island, where they raised their family of Kolina and her brothers, Malvin (Mal) and Barice.

Kolina graduated Shelter Island High School in 1956, participating in many activities, such as cheerleading, chorus and softball. She enjoyed roller skating in Greenport and ice skating on Ice Pond in the Heights. Growing up with her significantly older brothers, they were her constant companions. Kolina was quite the spitfire, her family said, enjoying drag racing at Crescent Beach while with Mal and Barice.

Kolina went on to become a certified registered nurse, graduating from Southampton Nursing School in 1959, becoming a fixture and a mentor at Eastern Long Island Hospital, lovingly devoting 30 years as an RN in all capacities.

In 1960, Kolina married the love of her life and best friend, Robert Reiter, a scallop fisherman from Greenport .They went on to have three sons, Robert Michael, Earl Jacques, and Jeffrey William.

In 1970 Bob and Kolina opened Bob’s Fish Market and Restaurant, which flourished into a beloved Shelter Island institution and a booming family business.

Kolina enjoyed hard work, her family said, which had been instilled in her by her parents. She wouldn’t miss a day in the back room of the Market, making her famous stuffed clams and coleslaw. She also loved being in her garden, and is quoted in an article a few years ago saying, “Human beings were not put on earth to sit around. “  

Kolina was predeceased by her older brothers Barice and Mal, and her husband of 57 years, Bob (1932-2017).

She is survived by her sons, Robert Michael, Earl and Jeffrey; her grandchildren Anthony, Kayla, and Amelia; great-grandchildren Lucas, Anthony Robert, Kolina Aynn, Gloria May, Margaret and Adelisa, as well as numerous other loving relatives .

Visitation will be at the Shelter Island Funeral Home on Friday, May 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be said at Our Lady of the Isle, Saturday, May 8 at 10:30 a.m. A Celebration of Life will be at Bob’s Fish Market at 2:30 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Eastern Long Island Hospital Foundation, 201 Manor Place, Greenport, NY 11944.