Commemorative Plaque Unearthed for ‘Mr. Fishers Island’

by Jane Ahrens
(Click on the obit for larger image.)

55 years of service to Fishers Island c. 1896-1951

Working with his metal detector on the Town Green in early-November and, after a bit of digging, Ryan Rodd found the In Memoriam plaque for Mr. Radford C. Shanklin – about 3″ – 4″ down at the foot of the big oak tree nearest The News Café.

Ryan shared his discovery with people at the Utility Co. Although she was very young, Patty Faulkner remembers the Shanklin family – Radford with his wife Viola and their son Bob – lived in Lily Ahman’s house. Mr. Shanklin worked for E.M. & W. Ferguson [Co.] until 1918, then Fishers Island Farms, the precursor company to FI Utility Co. (the latter was formed in 1965).

A little more ‘digging’ has revealed that, among his numerous rolls, Raymond was the Fishers Island Coroner for many years (at the least 1923 to the late 1940s) – he appeared frequently on the candidate list in the Suffolk County News and subsequent articles indicated he ran unopposed and held the position.


Fishers Island resident Mrs. Middleton shared an article written by Radford’s son Robert G. Shankin that appeared in The Day on Saturday, March 10, 1979. It is Robert’s remembrance of the Wreck of the Thelma Phoebe in 1923 and centers on the positions his father played during that tragedy.

…After lunch, Mother, Dad and I chatted about taking a ride around the island in the afternoon, our usual Sunday recreation. Pounding on the front door sent me scrambling and when I opened it, I was confronted by Jimmy Young (Mr. Young to me), the constable, wet to the hips, purple in the face and slightly incoherent.

“Get your Dad,” he shouted, “He’s needed. We’ve got one this time!”

As Dad held most of the local offices including deputy town clerk, justice of the peace and coroner, he and Mr. Young comprised the entire officialdom of the island. We never knew what problem might come to the door at odd hours, but dutifully I ran to get my father.”


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Featured Photo

USCG Eagle passing the Race early morning March 18, 2023 on her return from the Chesapeake Bay . Photo Credit Marlin Bloethe

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