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Shelter Island Reporter obituaries: Berger, Ross

Murray H. Berger

Murray H. Berger, of Kew Gardens, N.Y. and Shelter Island, died March 20, just shy of his 99th birthday, and one month after the loss of his wife of 69 years, Carol.

Murray and Carol first vacationed on Shelter Island in the 1950s and ultimately purchased their home on Sandpiper Road in 1969. For many years, Murray was active in the Shorewood Civic Association. A regular Friday night passenger on the summer “Daddy Ferry,” he also enjoyed many weekends and holidays throughout the year with his family on the Island.

An effective negotiator, his perseverance, friendly nature and team work resulted in many accomplishments.

A longtime Kew Gardens community leader, he was the personification of the Kew Gardens Civic Association, serving as its president, then chairman, and then executive chairman. Until recently, he continually sent emails to its members and New York City influencers, keeping the community and city officials abreast of events and issues impacting Kew Gardens homeowners.

He also co-founded the Kew Gardens Council for Recreation and the Arts, and served as its president and treasurer. He served on the Land-Use Committee of Queens Community Board 9, and was a member of the Community Preservation Coalition. Through the years, Murray received a number of awards for his service.

Professionally, Murray was a printer and business owner, beginning his printing career in New York City in 1947 at The Comet Press. There, as production manager, he met his wife-to-be, Carol Winfield, and they married two years later in 1955.

In 1972, he became president of Howard O. Bullard Co., a major New York typography firm. He was also vice president of Graphic Arts Management Corporation, which included his consultative work for the U.S. Government Printing Office. Later, he was the owner of two New York printing companies, Reehl Litho, and General Offset Company.

He was active in many printing trade organizations, often in executive roles: The Navigators, Printing Estimators and Production Men’s Club of New York; Printing Industries of Metropolitan New York; and Typographers Association of New York. For many years, Murray was a regular at New York’s City Club meetings.

Murray attended New York City’s PS 149, 158, 182, JHS 149, and graduated from Townsend Harris High School in 1940, and from City College of New York in 1947. In World War II, he served in the US Army in North Africa and Italy, attaining the rank of technical sergeant.

With an unusually strong will, Murray remained completely “with it” and active in his volunteer work throughout his home hospice experience, which began in December 2021.

He is survived by children Madeline Berger and James (Kathryn) Berger, grandchildren Collin (Clarissa) Berger and Miranda (David) Köröndi, a great-grandson, his brother Arthur and other dear family and friends. In lieu of flowers, a gift to the Shelter Island Public Library, 37 N. Ferry Rd, Shelter Island, NY 11964, would be most appreciated.

Murray will be buried on Shelter Island. The Shelter Island Funeral Home is serving the family.

Gerald Ross

Shelter Islander Jerry Ross passed away on March 14 at the age of 92.

Jerry was born in 1931 in Brooklyn where he attended Brooklyn Tech, excelling at both his studies and wrestling. He then earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering, from Cornell University.

Mimi and Jerry.

Jerry served in the Army as a lieutenant during the Korean War. He married Mimi Auskern in 1956, and they remained married for 45 years, until Mimi passed away in 2001. Jerry was father to three children, Glen (Heather), Andrew and Robert (Mary). He was grandfather to Tony, Sarah, Shelley, Jake and Carolyn.

In 1976 Jerry founded MGR Equipment Corp., a manufacturer of refrigeration and ice-making equipment, which continues today under Robert’s management.

Shelter Island was a special and treasured place to Jerry. Jerry and Mimi first came to the Island at the insistence of his cousin, Jerry Lee, in 1958. At that time, Mimi and Jerry first rented homes in Shorewood. They never stopped coming to the Island after that, and eventually permanently moved here.

After renting for six years, and forming a community and life-long friendships in Shorewood with numerous people, in 1964 Jerry and Mimi purchased their South Midway Road property from Belle Bristol.

During the 1960s, Mimi and Jerry began the tradition of Shelter Island kids playing softball at 4 p.m. on the field of the Ross “Big House.” Mimi was the first pitcher, eventually succeeded by the late David Gordon, with Jerry Ross, or Jerry Berner, substituting when needed. The 4 p.m. softball tradition continued throughout the 1970s. Kids from all over Shelter Island would show up religiously at 4 p.m. at the Ross house to play in the daily games.

Beginning in the 1960s, Jerry kept a sailboat at Skip Tuttle’s. Jerry loved taking out the boat every day on the weekends. In the 1970s through the early 2000s, Jerry enjoyed taking his “Flyer” for around-the-Island cruises, and competing in local racing competitions with his sons, while smoking his ever-present cigar.

For the past many years, Jerry was a charter member of the famed “ROMEO’s [Retired Old Men Eating Out] of Shelter Island,” who weekly frequented one of the restaurants on Shelter Island (with a distinct preference for Jimmy’s food at Commander Cody’s). The other ROMEO’s were Jerry Berner, Jerry Glassberg — Peaches at Commander Cody’s gave up after a while, and decided to simplify her life by just calling everyone at the table “Jerry” — Billy Dickerson, Sid Beckwith and Bruce Dalton.

Often Father Peter, Bob DeStefano, and other visitors would join the group. Jerry also was a long-time member of Gardiner’s Bay Country Club (although never trying to equal Mimi’s golf prowess), and loved eating dinner there, and running into many long-time friends.

The Rosses ask that in lieu of flowers and/or gifts, that donations be made to The Nature Conservancy, 142 E Hampton Sag Harbor Turnpike, East Hampton, NY 11937, nature.org/en-us/, and The Shelter Island Education Foundation, P.O. Box 1950, Shelter Island, NY 11964, shelterislandedfoundation.org.