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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: J. Paul Martin

J. Paul Martin of Shelter Island Heights passed away on Jan. 7 in New York City, after a brief illness.

Paul and his family came to Shelter Island in 1997, making it their summer home and gradually staying on and on for as many months as they could. It has become the family anchor.

In his professional life, Paul was based at Columbia University as the director of the Earl Hall Center and the Chapel during the 1970s, and then as the executive director of the Center for the Study of Human Rights, of which he was a co-founder.

In retirement, he continued on the advisory board of the Center and served as chair of the Barnard College Human Rights Program, as well as adjunct professor of Human Rights at both Barnard and Columbia.

Paul greatly enjoyed the many wonderful conversations he had with friends on Shelter Island, including those hosted by the Library’s Great Decisions program.

Paul is survived by his wife of 52 years, Roberta, his son, Christopher, and his daughter, Lizzy, as well as Christopher’s wife, Darina Spasova, and two young granddaughters.

Burial will be private on Shelter Island. 

There will be memorial service at Columbia and a celebration of his life on Shelter Island at a later date in the summer.