Joseph Jay Napolitan Jr.


Joseph Jay Napolitan Jr., a longtime seasonal Edgartown resident and accomplished writer and trivia buff, died at his house in Pompano Beach, Florida, on January 19. He was 52.

Jay was a freelance writer with a variety of interests. He wrote three novels, worked on several political campaigns, and in 1983 while working in San Francisco he won an Emmy for local newswriting. He also loved trivia, quotations, and jokes.

Jay’s love of Martha’s Vineyard began at his family’s summer home at 60 Cooke Street in Edgartown where he spent most summers and a couple of winters.

He loved South Beach, the Edgartown and Vineyard Haven libraries, Italian Night at the Black Dog, and Loretta Balla at the Seaview in Oak Bluffs.

Jay was born in Springfield on February 22, 1958. He shared the same birthday as George Washington, a trivia fact that delighted him. He attended Ursuline Academy, Acre Brook Academy, and the Northfield Mount Hermon School and graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1981.

He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him. He is survived by his parents, Joseph J. and Mary (Nelen) Napolitan of Springfield; his siblings Christina Napolitan of West Tisbury, Luke Napolitan of Springfield, and Martha Napolitan and her husband, Ben Cowen, of Springfield; and nieces and nephews Lucy Savage, Mary Sage Napolitan, Francis Cota, and Clara and Diggory Cownap.

Funeral services were held on January 26 at the Holy Name Church in Springfield with burial in St. Michael’s Cemetery.

Donations in Jay’s name may be made to Vineyard House, PO Box 4599, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or online at