Featured Story

Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Audrey Ruth Marshall

On Sunday, April 16, 2023, Audrey Ruth Marshall, mother of four, passed away peacefully in her home surrounded by loved ones, at the age of 94.

Audrey was born Oct. 16, 1928, in the village of Mineola, N.Y.  She attended Hempstead High School. In her later years, she studied nursing, but was unable to complete her studies.

Her passion for animals and nature started at a young age, from going on family trips to the Catskills to spending summers and holidays on Shelter Island, where her parents owned a home. She grew up near Belmont Racetrack, and developed a love for horses; she owned several in her lifetime.

After high school, she worked at The Menantic Grove House, where she made numerous friends and was introduced to a native Islander, who she ended up marrying.

The love that Audrey had for wildlife and animals was enormous. Her little house was never empty of dogs or cats, and even domestic birds that kept her quite busy, but she never seemed to flinch in their presence.

Aside from having domestic animals, she had a great gift for healing injured wildlife. Friends, neighbors and even her children would bring different species of wounded animals to her, sometimes in a box on her porch, and she would do her best to rehabilitate them and set them free.

Shelter Island had a special place in her heart. She knew the richness of this little island. She would go clamming, but only to take enough to feed her children, and fishing, but only keep ones of legal size. When bringing her kids to the beach to swim, she would leave it pristine, as if it were a gift to be cherished with every visit. 

After working many years in Mashomack, she realized the importance of preserving this area.  A native Islander taught her a lot about the Indigenous people who inhabited this island, and especially those in Mashomack. This teaching was instilled within her throughout her life.

Audrey enjoyed being with friends and was quite social. She participated in weekly card games with a group of Shelter Island ladies and played poker at the Senior Center. She was part of the bowling league at the Shelter Island American Legion, and also was a member at the Shelter Island Country Club, where she loved to golf.

She had a hearty appetite for dining out and was recognized at many of Shelter Island’s eating establishments, in which everyone knew her and what she liked.

She loved to paint with watercolors, read mystery novels and write; she had one or two articles published in The Sun paper. Her interest in historical places led her to many areas in the Northeast, which filled her with a pleasure of learning about these historical sites.

Audrey also volunteered at the Shelter Island Library’s book sales and for the Historical Society throughout her years, and was an active member of the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary.

She lived in her home on Cartwright Road for over 70 years and was completely content on not changing a thing. Audrey had a pure heart and everyone who was fortunate enough to meet her knew this. She was loved and admired by many, and her presence will be missed greatly.

Audrey is survived by her four children: Donald Walther (Nancy), of Shelter Island, Debbie Burns (Greg), of Lakeside, Mont., Laurie Eckardt of Shelter Island, and Jessie Marshall of Arizona; four grandchildren: Heather Zerillo, New Paltz N.Y., Kevin Burns, Kalispell Mont., Callie Atkins Smith (Ben), Shelter Island, Kimberly Atkins, Shelter Island, and two great grandchildren: Zoey Burns and Wyatt Burns, Kalispell, Mont.

There will be a memorial service for Audrey coming soon.