Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Lee, Reich

Sheila Lee

Sheila Lee passed away peacefully at her home on Shelter Island on Feb. 8, 2023.

Born in June 1923 to Thomas Edward Hallam and Mary Gwendolyn Holmes in Norwalk, Conn., Sheila grew up in the small rural town of Thomasville, Ga. There she developed a love of horseback riding and a fondness for nature.

In the late 1940s, she moved to New York City where she met her husband, George Lee through a mutual war-time friend.

He was a decorated World War II Royal Air Force pilot. George became the love of her life and they married and settled in Short Hills, N.J. where they raised their two daughters.

She later found her calling as a real-estate agent, working for 20 years in the Millburn-Short Hills area.

In 1984, she and George built their dream home and retired on Shelter Island. She was an active member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and the Shelter Island Garden Club.

Sheila enjoyed playing bridge and entertaining family and friends with her trademark southern hospitality. Together, Sheila and George shared many wonderful summers with their grandchildren at Menhaden Beach.

Predeceased by her sister Florence “Honey” in 1992 and her husband George in 2007, she is survived by her daughters, Melissa and Melinda; grandchildren, Meredith, Megan, Bryan, and Sarah; and two great grandsons, Luke and Matthew.

Funeral services will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church  at 10 a.m. on February 16. In lieu of flowers, you may donate to North Fork Animal Welfare League at  northforkanimalwelfareleague.org, or to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 26 St Mary’s Rd, Shelter Island, NY 11964.

Olive Buerk Reich

Olive Buerk Reich passed away on Feb. 8, 2023, a few weeks shy of her 88th birthday. She was surrounded by family at her assisted living residence in Bethel, Conn.

Born Olive Buerk on March 1, 1935, to Olive W. and Percival G. Buerk, Olive was raised in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where she attended Packer Collegiate Institute. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College with a degree in art history.

Olive spent her youthful summers in Bellport, N.Y., where she became an active sailor.

Olive met her future husband, Daniel O. Reich, also from Bay Ridge, and they fell madly in love and were married on August 4, 1956, in Bellport. A year later they started their family with the birth of their first son Peter, followed by daughter Robin, and later, Duke.

Olive and Dan first came to Shelter Island in 1964 when they stayed with friends for the weekend. They arrived on a Friday night and that Sunday went out with brokers Helen and Greg Price to look at houses and made an offer on what became their home in Silver Beach.

In 1974 they purchased the home of their dreams in the Heights and named it “Aquarelle,” which means “watercolor” in French.

Olive was a notable watercolor artist and teacher. She started each morning painting in her studio in the Heights. Olive was the President of the Bay Ridge Festival Arts in Brooklyn.

She was also a member of The National Association of Women Artists, Artists Equity, Contemporary Artist Guild, Mount Holyoke College Visual Artists, Artists Alliance of East Hampton, Audubon Artist, National Arts Club (NYC), Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club, and Brooklyn Watercolor Society.

Her work has been exhibited in over 150 national and international exhibitions and is included in numerous corporate and private collections. Many homes on Shelter Island and the East End have her work.

Olive and Dan were active members of the Shelter Island Yacht Club since 1967. Olive was devoted to the Union Chapel and was on the Chapel’s board and was the secretary for many years.

She was predeceased by her loving husband Dan and leaves behind her children Peter (Loren), Robin (David), Duke (Lisa); 3 grandchildren, Melissa, Daniel, and Luke; and two nieces who she treated like her own daughters, Holly Cook and Susan Zolnier.

The family is planning a private family service in Connecticut and there are plans for a Celebration of Olive’s life this summer at the Union Chapel. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: The Union Chapel in the www.unionchapelinthegrove.org/give or The Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons at www.arfhamptons.org.