04/26/12 7:10am

Elizabeth Yvonne (E.Y.) Clark of Shelter Island, a former Shelter Island School teacher, died on Wednesday, April 18 at Stony Brook University Medical Center. She had taught first graders on Shelter Island for 35 years.

A Mass of Celebration will be held at Our Lady of the Isle Roman Catholic Church on Friday, May 4, at 11:30 a.m., followed by a reception open to the public at Camp Quinipet.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Shelter Island Ambulance Fund, P.O. Box 547, Shelter Island, NY 11964. The family is planning to establish a scholarship in Ms. Clark’s memory at the Shelter Island School.

A full obituary will appear in a future edition of the Reporter.

04/18/12 10:00pm

Harold Olsen

Former Shelter Island resident Harold “Ole” Olson died at the age of 94 surrounded by family and friends in Willamette View retirement community in Portland, Oregon on Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012.

Ole and his wife Arline were enthusiastic and devoted summer residents of Shelter Island for 50 years. Their daughter Kris’s wedding was at Mashomack Preserve with Mike Laspia’s help and Andy Reeve driving the “getaway ferry” to Sag Harbor. Casey Reeve is Ole’s godson.

Born in Lusk, Wyoming on September 18, 1917 and raised in Arvada, Colorado, he was known as “Hot Lips Hal” and played jazz trumpet with the big bands touring Los Angeles in the 1930s while he was an architecture student at USC.

It was there that he met his wife, Arline, a fellow student in the College of Architecture and Fine Arts. They married in 1940 and lived in Arvada, Colorado until 1944, when he enlisted in the Navy. He served in the Pacific during World War II as an officer on the destroyer escort USS Charles J. Kimmel.

In 1946, he joined the New York architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) and went on to work with that firm for 35 years.

Among the projects Ole designed were the Annenberg Tower at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, the offices of John Hancock Insurance Company and the national headquarters for the Girl Scouts of America.

Later in his career, he was the managing director of SOM’s Cairo, Egypt office. When Pietro Belluschi was appointed dean of the architectural school at MIT, he asked SOM to take over his practice in Portland. During the first two years of that corporate partnership, Ole commuted from New York to engage new clients and projects.

He moved to Portland permanently in 1999 to be near his only child, Kris.

Ole was best known in his later years for his prolific facility in making new friends, especially residents and staff at Willamette View; his love of art and music — particularly big band, jazz and Pink Martini — plus his fondness for wordplay in the form of crosswords, puns or prose. He managed transitions with grace and high spirits. He took pride in being a patron of emerging artists and designers. He was a life-long, caring mentor to many.

In addition to his professional work, Ole designed and built two family homes, one in Plandome, New York and one on Ram Island with local materials.

Ole was predeceased by his parents, Newt and Bertha Olson; his beloved wife of 54 years, Arline; and his sister, Shirley Mae Stetson. A dedicated and much-revered father, grandfather, great-grandfather and uncle, he is survived by his daughter, Kris Olson; his grandchildren, Karin Olson Rogers and Ty Olson Rogers, along with Ty’s wife Katie and their son Benny; his son-in-law Les Swanson and Les’s three sons and their wives: Mark and Shannon; Carl and Charlotte; and Todd and Jennifer and their children, Rowan, Sienna and Alexa. His sister Shirley Mae’s three children also survive him: Bob (Kim) Stetson, Kathy Stetson and Kristy (Doug) Warneke and Ole’s grand-nephews and nieces.

A memorial gathering is planned at Willamette View on Friday, April 20 at 3:30 p.m. in the Terrace Auditorium, followed by full military honors by his sculpture in the courtyard there.

Interment will be at the Episcopal cemetery at St. Mary’s Church on Shelter Island beside Arline’s stone bench.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in Ole’s memory would be welcome at the Willamette View Foundation (designated for the Courtyard Project); The Nature Conservancy for use at Mashomack Preserve; or the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation in Portland, Oregon for its Cultural and Community Center.

03/14/12 6:53pm

Alex Garcia, MD died at Peconic Bay Hospital on February 5, 2012 after a brief illness. Alex was over 92 and a half at the time of his death. He was predeceased by his wife of 62 years, Helen-Ann Garcia MD. Helen-Ann died in Nov. 2007 of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alex was born on July 3, 1919, to Pilar Prieto Garcia and Alejandro Garcia of Harlem, New York. After graduating from City College, Alex attended Long Island College of Medicine, where he met Helen-Ann. Helen-Ann often said, “He married me after dating all the other girls in our medical school class!”

The war effort compressed medical school into three years and the Garcias were married after graduation in 1943. During the war, Alex served in the Army at Walter Reed Medical Center.

Their first home together was in Port Washington, New York. In 1952, the Garcias bought a small cottage in Southold to spend weekends and summers with their young son, Alec. After the Southold cottage was nearly washed away by Hurricane Carol, Alex began looking for safer property.

In 1958, he and his dad drove to Shelter Island looking for land and happened across the Bronander house on Ram Island. After viewing the spectacular setting and peeking through the windows of the locked house, Alex’s father said “Buy it!” Alex made an offer before Helen-Ann even had an opportunity to see it.

At their Port Washington home, Helen-Ann was a much-loved general practitioner who made house calls and saw patients in the small office attached to the house. Alex practiced orthopedic surgery and joined the faculty of Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, eventually being named chairman of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Columbia University Medical Center. He remained in that role until his retirement in 1983.

After retirement, he continued to serve the Shelter Island community through his involvement in Mashomack Preserve, Ram Island Association, Friends of the Library and many other civic organizations. He endeavored to improve life for his neighbors; it was well known about town that his door was always open if a medical consultation was needed. Local residents involved in animal rescue brought raccoons and other animals in need of surgery to Helen-Ann and Alex for care. Over the years, they stitched and nurtured many orphaned raccoons back to health.

In November of 2000, Alex required open-heart surgery. His valve replacement surgery took place on Election Day. His son relates the story that, upon awakening, one of Alex’s first questions was, “Is George Bush the president?”, to which Alec and the world had no immediate answer. He was happy with the final result, having voted for Bush. Alec and wife Jodi spent five months that winter on Shelter Island to be near Alex during his convalescence. At the time, Alex was nursed back to health by Kasia Lisek, who single-handedly cared for both Helen-Ann and Alex in their final years.

Alex is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Alec and Jodi of Palos Verdes, California; nieces Vicki Maryon, Gail Donohue, Janice Garcia, Lynn Dutrey, Carol Landry, and nephew Hal Proskey, III. He was predeceased by his brothers Ed and Frank.

02/29/12 7:02pm

Gladys Copin Brigham passed away peacefully in Beaufort, South Carolina with family present on January 23, 2012. She was 89.

Born on May 22, 1922 in Greenport, she was the daughter of Edward and Marge Copin. She graduated from Greenport High School in 1940 and worked during World War II at Brigham’s Shipyard in Greenport. There she met Walter L. Brigham, her husband of 62 years. She lived on Winthrop Road on Shelter Island for nearly seven decades and her family, friends and Shelter Island were the center of attention for her throughout her long life.

Gladys was devoted to the community. She served as deputy town clerk during 1978 to1988 and part-time clerk from 1998 to 2009. She was a Scouting volunteer and involved in many school activities. A very active member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church for more than 65 years, she served the parish in every position through last December. She was awarded the Bishops Medal for her long service to St. Mary’s and the Episcopal Church. Gladys had been a member of the Shelter Island Yacht Club since 1950 and sailed with Walter for many years, racing small boats.

Gladys was predeceased by her husband in 2009. She is survived by her sisters Joan Jackson of Cape May, New Jersey, and Virginia Chamberlain of Pueblo, Colorado; and a brother, Raymond Copin of Issaquah, Washington; her daughter, Marion Williams and John of Beaufort, South Carolina; her daughter Margaret Ryan and Pat of Stonington, Connecticut; and son, Lawson Brigham and Ellen of Anchorage, Alaska; her grandson, Sean Williams of Charleston, South Carolina; her grandson Patrick and his wife Holly of Audubon, Pennsylvania; her nephews Walter, Charles and William Brigham and their families; and her niece Barbara Copin Moore and her family. She was predeceased by her brothers Edward and Samuel Copin.

A memorial service was held at St. Mary’s Church on February 17.

Gladys’s family has expressed its gratitude to the Shelter Island community for the outpouring of support while she was in South Carolina and for participating in the celebration of her life at St. Mary’s. The family also thanks Shelter Island Town for honoring her service to the community.

Donations in her memory can be made to St. Mary’s Church, P.O. Box 1660, Shelter Island, New York 11964.