Linda Marinelli

— File photo by Susan Safford

Linda Marinelli, formerly of Oak Bluffs, died peacefully on January 31, 2013, in Mashpee, where she had been living. She was 81.

Born on February 27, 1931 in Berkley, Linda was the youngest of 12 children. She moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1957 and met Charles Marinelli. In 1960 during the Steamship Authority strike they worked together transporting passengers to and from the mainland on their fishing party boat, the Vera B.

Linda was a hard worker and she also had a passion for gardening. She and Charlie started by planting a few hundred tomato plants and then soon planted thousands and Marinelli’s farm began. They soon began delivering their tomatoes to local stores and restaraunts and many times over the years Linda’s tomatoes won blue ribbons at the West Tisbury agricultural fair.

Linda was also well-known for her Marinelli’s Country Fish Market where she sold fresh fish, lobsters and more, along with her vegetables. Linda and her husband Charlie were known at the Tisbury street fair for their lobster rolls, which Linda proudly used to say had nothing else in them but were full of pure chunks of lobster meat. The line would form and went down around the corner, so she had to increase the amount of rolls each year. In 1967 Linda learned how to shuck scallops and opened a scallop shucking station during the winter months.

After retiring, Linda and her husband bought a home on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road where her passion for gardening continued to show in her beautiful road front flowerbeds.

Linda was also known for her love of the town of Oak Bluffs and she spent 40 years serving on many various town boards. She believed strongly in fighting for open government. She served on the board of selectman for 14 years and spent 11 of those years researching documents and was successful in obtaining through the court systems a landlocked piece of land for the town of Oak Bluffs which today is fondly known as Marinelli Beach.

Linda was a remarkable woman who was known for speaking her mind. She was not afraid to ask the hard questions. Known for her strength and resilience, she was bold and to the point, and she was driven by her beliefs.

Linda was known to create a stir here and there, such as the time she bought video equipment and tapes and walked into a selectmen’s meeting and set it up and started to record the meeting. This did not go over well with the Board, but Linda had done her homework and found it to be legal and she wanted the taxpayers to be able to view the meetings on television so she continued to buy tapes and donate her time. She had started a public service that continues today.

At the age of 71, Linda wrote an autobiography about her private and political life called “Never Say Die.”

She was predeceased by her loving husband of almost 50 years, Charles Marinelli, who died in 2008. She is survived by her oldest daughter, Sandra Ann Rousseau, and her son-in-law Norman Rouseau of New Bedford; her middle daughter, Diane Habekost of Oak Bluffs; her youngest daughter, Charlene Maciel, and her son-in-law, Timothy Maciel, of Mashpee; five grandchildren, David Roddy, Shannon Roddy, Suzanne Miller, Timothy Maciel, Tyler Maciel; and a great granddaughter, Cassandra Fernandes. She was also survived by her sister-in-law, Fay Marinelli, niece Tina Marinelli, and two great-nephews, Ryan and David Marinelli.

Linda lived a full life and she will be remembered for her dedication and commitment through the ups and downs. She was an inspiring woman who truly took ownership of who she was, and she will be missed by many.