Friends Mourn Passing of Ship Bottom Attorney Richard Shackleton, 86

By Victoria Ford | Dec 18, 2019
File Photo by Jack Reynolds

Long Beach Township — Longtime Island attorney Richard Shackleton died Sunday, in hospice care. He was 86. His health had declined rapidly in recent years, but he was comforted by his religious faith as he faced his mortality, according to friends.

“He knew where he was going, and he was ready to leave this life and move on,” according to Deb Whitcraft, former mayor of Beach Haven, where Shackleton had worked for many years as borough solicitor, in addition to Long Beach Township, Barnegat Light, Barnegat Township and Bass River.

Whitcraft, along with her husband Jim Vogel, and on behalf of the Beach Haven First Aid Squad and Volunteer Fire Co., remembered Shackleton as “a really wonderful man" who offered pro bono legal services to the borough’s Maritime Museum and nonprofit service organizations. His death comes as “a tremendous loss to anyone who was lucky enough to know him,” she said. “We’ll miss him very much.”

His Ship Bottom-based law practice, which he opened in 1961, was devastated by fire in 2014 and was rebuilt and reopened at the end of the following year.

A lengthy interview with him in February 2016 had revealed his conservative political views, his Presbyterian faith, his affinity for bird dogs and fly fishing for salmon and trout, and his fondness for reading, home improvement projects and old-fashioned things. He attributed his long, successful career in civil law to hard work and a thick skin. According to his daughter, Katie, who now runs their law practice, Shackleton also loved to cook.

He lived in Holgate, with his wife Katharine, in the house his father built in 1935. He also owned the Sandy Island Gun Club, “a magnificent place,” according to Vogel, in the bay off Harvey Cedars.

Vogel described Shackleton as “larger than life” – an avid sportsman and lover of the outdoors. “He worked tirelessly” for the Henryville Conservation Club and the protection of the Brodhead Watershed in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.

“He was abrasive, hard-headed and stubborn as a mule,” Whitcraft said. “But, beyond the hard exterior, he was a good, compassionate man. Deep down, he was a marshmallow.”  —V.F.

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