William A. Bettencourt, 87, died peacefully at Windemere on Thursday, July 7, 2011. Bill, as he was known to his friends, was born in the original Martha’s Vineyard Hospital with severe cerebral palsy. Billy was a familiar figure as he traveled around Oak Bluffs, first on his three-wheeled bike and later on a motorized scooter.
Although he had no formal schooling, Bill was an avid reader, following the news and politics closely. He was a loyal fan of the Red Sox and the Patriots. He could not write with a pen because of his disability, but he produced two books and many letters using one finger to type his thoughts and feelings.
He lived in his family’s home in Oak Bluffs, first with his parents, and then with his sister until her death in 2002. Unable to live alone, he became a resident of Windemere where he found a new world of love and caring from the staff of Unit 3.
Bill overcame many challenges in his life and was fiercely independent. Some of his greatest joys were trips to Boston to see his beloved musicals or the Red Sox, singing along at band concerts at the Tabernacle, and fulfilling a lifetime dream of riding the ferris wheel at the Ag Fair.
Predeceased by his parents, A. Mooney Bettencourt and Dorothy Bradley, his sister Helen McGrath, and brother Thomas Bettencourt, Bill leaves nieces, his Windemere family, and close friends. A memorial mass will be held at 11 am on Saturday, July 16, in the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Chapel.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Windemere Nursing and Rehab Center, PO Box 1747, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, or to Camp Jabberwocky, P.O. Box 1357, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or Good Shepherd Parish, P.O.Box 1058, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.