Dr. Charles A. Sprague died peacefully on Friday, April 16, at his home in South Dennis from cancer. He had his loving wife and family by his side. Charles was born in Elizabeth, N.J. on Jan. 17, 1921, the son of Charles Issac Sprague and June Rose Sprague.
Charles graduated from Roselle Park High School in N.J. in 1939 and entered Rutgers University for a pharmaceutical degree. He transferred to Tufts School of Dental Medicine and received his D.M.D., one of only three schools in the country offering this degree in 1945. During and after graduation he served in the Navy as a dentist and dental surgeon.
In November 1947 Charles with his newly married wife, Edith Louise, began their life on Martha’s Vineyard. They rented an apartment in the Old Norton Building on Main Street, Vineyard Haven. Below their apartment, Charles set up his office where the current business, Nochi, is located. In the early fifties as their family was growing, they purchased their home on Woodland Avenue in Vineyard Haven. Later, he moved his practice into the house. Charles practiced dentistry on the Vineyard for 25 years, enjoying many wonderful relationships with those he came to know and prided himself as a collector of anecdotes of both farmer and seaman. In 1973 he moved his dental business to Amherst, where he lived for 23 years. He still made trips back to the Island for his patients that came to appreciate his well-fitted dentures. He retired and moved back to the Cape to settle in South Dennis.
The Island’s natural beauty held a special draw for Charles, whether taking on the occasional orphaned lamb from one of the farms in West Tisbury, to shellfishing and sailing. He raised a family of seven children to love the outdoors and all its wonders.
He was well known on the Island for his active involvement in his ministry as a Jehovah’s Witness. In 1957, a missionary couple had stopped at the house to speak to them about the hope the Bible holds out for a restored earth in the near future. This promise affected him deeply. Both he and his wife accepted the offer of a free home Bible study, subsequently taking a leadership role in forming the first congregation on the Island. He had been active in this Bible educational work for the past 52 years right up to his last days.
Charles will be lovingly missed by Edith, his wife of 62 years, his children: June Whiteman and her husband, Michael, of Cummington; Carlton Sprague and his wife, Tammis, of Vineyard Haven; Eric Sprague of South Dennis; Kathy Ostrom and her husband, David, of Pepperell; Martha Maahs and her husband, Henry, of Somersworth, N.H.; Laura Hebert and her husband, Steve, of Swanzee, N.H.; Geoffrey Sprague and his wife, Sarah, of the Island of Dominican Republic; and nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, April 24, at 3 pm at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses, 316 Old Bass River Road, in South Dennis.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Broadreach Hospice, Chatham, MA.