Dorothy Shiebler, who along with her husband, disc jockey Jack Ellsworth, ran Patchogue's WLIM / 1580 AM, one of Long Island's last independently owned radio stations, died July 16 at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center. She was 85.
A daughter, Susan Shiebler of East Patchogue, said the cause was complications after illnesses.
Shiebler and Ellsworth ran WLIM from 1981 to 2001, broadcasting Big Band music and local news to an audience of thousands, primarily in central Long Island, though in good weather their signal carried as far north as Nova Scotia.
At a time when conglomerates were moving into many local markets and cutting costs with centralized, automated broadcasts, the East Patchogue couple were willful holdouts, said Rick Hall, a radio engineer who did occasional work for them and runs wackradio.com, a website dedicated to Long Island radio history.
"If there was a breaking news story or a weather bulletin that affected the area, they were there at the time to bring it to listeners at the moment it was happening," he said.
Shiebler managed the business end, coaxing local merchants to advertise, tracking accounts and on-air spots, and sometimes writing the advertising copy.
She also cataloged the record collection that fueled "Memories in Melody," the show Ellsworth began announcing in 1951. It spanned walls and eventually filled rooms, composed of stacks of records of various sizes dating to the 1930s and compact discs of later vintage. To each recording she affixed a label denoting the gender of the vocalist, if there was a singer; a code for musical genre; and a number indicating its proper placement in the stacks.
After the couple sold the station, the show migrated to WALK / 1370 AM.
When Ellsworth's health worsened in recent years, show hours were cut back and Shiebler started to do some of the voice work, in addition to managing billings.
Her death ended the 63-year marriage and a partnership almost as long. Afterward, Susan Shiebler said, her father announced just two shows before his own worsening health prevented him from continuing.
"I've never seen him like that in my life," she said of her father's last solo show. "He just closed his eyes. He didn't want to look around the studio and know she wasn't there."
WLIM now runs Spanish-language programming.
Dorothy Louise Shiebler was born in New York City to Kimball Frederick Holloway and Lillie Dorothy Heuman Holloway.
She grew up in Douglaston and Cold Spring Harbor and graduated from Bayside High School in Queens in 1945.
She met Ellsworth Shiebler, known professionally as Jack Ellsworth, when she was working as a legal secretary in Huntington in the summer of 1951 and he took a job at a radio station in the same office building. They married that November.
In addition to her husband and daughter, Shiebler is survived by two sons, Gary of Nashville, Tenn., and Glen of Wrentham, Mass.; sister Lois Parkman of Norman, Okla.; nine grandchildren; and Ed Barry of Mobile, Ala., who was partially raised by Shiebler.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story omitted Glen Shiebler as a survivor.