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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Jean Brechter

Jean Brechter passed away peacefully at home on Shelter Island on Sunday, July 31. She was 95 and had lived a full and rich life surrounded by family and friends.

Jean was born in Flushing, NY in 1927 to Dr. and Mrs. Daniel Schultheis. She attended the Cathedral School of Saint Mary in Garden City, and was a proud graduate of Cornell University, Class of 1949, where she majored in English and philosophy and was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority.

Jean married Robert “Bob” Brechter in 1949, who predeceased her in 1993. She is survived by their three children: Robert Jr. (Claire), Antonette “Toni” Landry (Larry), and Peter. She was “Gam” to six beloved grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. All her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren were able to visit her in the weeks before her passing.

Jean was a life-long summer resident of Shelter Island before moving to the Island full-time in the late 1980s. She developed a passion for real estate, earning her broker’s license and establishing “Foxfire Real Estate” on the Island, which she operated with her husband until his death.

An energetic volunteer and lifelong learner, Jean was involved with many organizations throughout her lifetime. While raising children, she helped with Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts, and home and school associations. She was also a member of the League of Women Voters.

Later in life, Jean learned of East End Hospice, a nonprofit dedicated to helping terminally ill individuals live their remaining days with care and dignity. She served on the organization’s board from 1997-2012, led many fundraising initiatives, and was instrumental in bringing hospice services to Shelter Island.

Jean was also president of the Garden Club of Shelter Island from 2009-2011 and was an active volunteer with the Shelter Island Yacht Club (SIYC) during her 73-year membership. Until recently, Jean was part of the SIYC Race Committee, happily helping to check in boats as they crossed the finish line. She was also a member of Gardiner’s Bay Country Club and a fervent supporter of Goat Hill.

During her lifetime, Jean was an avid sailor, and enjoyed cruising the family sloop Foxfire throughout the Northeast. She was a creator of award-winning floral arrangements, a world traveler, and a member of the National Ski Patrol. She cared deeply about others and was a strong supporter of charitable causes. Jean treasured her Shelter Island friends and enjoyed attending St. Mary’s Church, lectures and movies at the library, and the many events that are unique to Shelter Island. 

The family extends its appreciation to everyone who has been so supportive and helpful to Jean over the years, including the Shelter Island Senior Center, her friends, caregivers and the staff of East End Hospice.

A memorial celebration of Jean’s life will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 11 a.m. Instead of flowers, donations can be made to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 26 St. Mary’s Road, P.O. Box 1660, Shelter Island, NY 11964, or to East End Hospice, 481 Westhampton-Riverhead Road, P.O. Box 1048, Westhampton Beach, NY 11978.