Dorothy Gentle died at her home in Edgartown on June 26, 2011. She was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on October 21, 1915.
Upon the death of her mother, Melissa Goodwin Frost, the family moved to Boston where Dorothy attended school until settling in Edgartown as a teenager. She was an accomplished seamstress and in high school enjoyed making costumes and acting in school plays and was active in various school activities.
While attending school she met the love of her life, Stephen Currier Gentle. The couple married in 1933 and started an amazing life together in Edgartown. Their two children, Stephen and Jane, were born on the Island and still live here today.
When World War II broke out Steve enlisted and continued his love of flying as a flight instructor. After the war ended the family came home to the Vineyard where they worked tirelessly, with little money, to make the Katama Airport the well-loved place it is today.
Always at his side while raising two children, Dorothy was active in the PTA. She was proud of the fact that her efforts to secure a dentist to set up a practice in Edgartown resulted in the town’s first year-round dental practice. She was also active as a Girl Scout leader, and she was a member of the Methodist Church and the Women’s Club.
Steve and Dorothy were active in the real estate business for many years, brokering properties in the Katama area to people who had fallen in love with the grass field airport. In 1963 they acquired the Edward Stevenson Real Estate business and residence on North Water Street. With the help of their son and daughter the agency became one of the prominent agencies on the Vineyard.
The home on North Water Street had many lovely gardens where Dorothy pursued her lifelong fascination with making things grow. She especially looked forward to the Fourth of July and the many friends and family who gathered at their home to enjoy the parade and her special appetizers.
In later years, winters were spent at the Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida, where Dorothy played tennis and taught yoga. After 30 years, they decided to live year-round in Edgartown again and spend their remaining years closer to family and friends.
Because of their love for Katama they built their home on Cracktuxet Pond with the help of their grandsons Michael and Timothy Creato. The property was aptly named “Flyway.” Many hours were spent watching the ever-changing scene on the pond. Dorothy, of course, had her gardens, which were willingly shared with deer and rabbits. After many enjoyable years, a move back to Edgartown was made because of Steve’s failing health. They acquired the Novak property on Hamblin Way and added a swimming pool so that the great-grandchildren would enjoy the home too.
After Steve’s death in 2001, Dorothy continued to keep busy with her gardening and family. Two of her grandsons lived next door and, with other family members, they made it possible for her to live at home. Her devoted caregivers Linda Bigelow, Sorayd Souza, and Talia Rogers were like family members, for which Dorothy’s family will always be grateful.
She is survived by her son Stephen E. Gentle and his wife, Mary; her daughter Jane West of Edgartown, her grandsons Michael Jeffrey Creato and Timothy Frost Creato and his wife, Joan, of Edgartown; Robert Currier Gentle and his wife, Heather, of Elmore, Vt., and Stephen Edwin Gentle Jr. and his wife, Kara, of Westfield. Great-grandchildren are Eva Faye Balboni, William Zachary Gentle, Samantha Lynne Gentle, Maxwell Slade Gentle, Elizabeth Slade Gentle, Ethan Frost Creato, and Sara Fox Creato.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, July 16, at 11 at the Westside Cemetery in Edgartown, with the Rev. Jerry Fritz officiating. The family has requested in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Visiting Nurse Association , P.O. Box 399, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or to the Katama Airfield Trust, P.O. Box 3453, Edgartown, MA 02539.