Penelope Lincoln Homans Craig died of end-stage colon cancer at 8:55 am on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018, at the home of her brother and sister-in-law in West Tisbury. She finally found peace in the loving arms of God, surrounded and buoyed by the love of her family, after fighting a hard 22-month battle.
Penelope was born on June 26, 1958, to Elizabeth Greenleaf Pattee Homans and William Perkins Homans Jr., a prominent Boston civil rights and criminal defense attorney. She grew up in Cambridge, and attended Buckingham Browne and Nichols Elementary and High School. During her years there, she sang in the school choir, sang with the Madrigals, acted in drama (with a memorable performance of Titania, Queen of the Faeries, in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”), and played flute for the Russian Dance troupe, with whom she traveled with to perform in Russia in 1976. She was also a remarkable hunter-jumper horseback rider in Ipswich. She attended Tufts University in 1976-77, and the University of Rhode Island thereafter.
She acquired amazing culinary skills, and was gifted with a creative flair which she brought to her early jobs in retail. She relocated to Newport, R.I., in the late 1970s, and lived there through the 1980s, when she opened her own retail clothing store, Penelope’s, which she operated for several years.
In 1997, she married Steven Craig. Together they started Boston Lead Co., where she served as a lead instructor and ran business operations over the past 20 years. The business involved arming individuals with the ability to inspect and remove lead and asbestos from buildings and school . They lived in Essex, Conn., where they raised their family. She returned to her acting career there, performing in the group Healing Hearts for the Arts.
Martha’s Vineyard was a vitally important place to her and her immediate family, and extended family by marriage. She went there from the time she was born, and herded her family, later in life, most every summer for years, to Seven Gates Farm in West Tisbury, staying at the Bunkhouse, a house that was built by her grandfather, father, and his siblings.
William and Edith Parkman Homans, her grandfather and grandmother, first leased in Seven Gates in 1930 and constructed a house. Bill loved a house in Maine, which was owned by a Griswald, an architect, who was also a cousin. He had the main house modeled after this house with the help of the architectural skills of his cousin. Later that decade they, in addition, constructed a 1,000-square-foot camphouse in the north corner of the lot. The bunkhouse was built using youthful Homans labor, learning carpentry skills. In 1955 the lot was split and the main house was purchased by Althea Revere. The Homans family kept the bunkhouse and the acreage around it. Her mother, Elizabeth Pattee, and grandmother, Penelope Pattee, rented near Beetlebung Corner, in Chilmark, long before Mrs. Craig’s birth.
Penelope’s strong love for the Vineyard led her, once it was clear that her cancer was unrelenting and her prognosis was grave, to choose to live her last days surrounded by the scrubby neck oaks and the sounds of the waves, which had provided her peace her whole life.
Penelope was a caring and loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, great-aunt and grandmother. She leaves behind her husband Steven Craig; stepdaughter Kristen Craig Defrance and son-in-law August, and grandchildren Charlee, Olivia, Brooke, Ava, Zachary, and A.J.; stepson Mathew Craig and fiancé Ashley Arujo, along with granddaughters Julia and Peyton; sister Ana Ionnitiu, brother Nicholas Ionnitiu, and sister-in-law Lori Ionnitiu; niece Alexis Ionnitiu Willard, her husband, Burke, along with great-nieces Virginia and Margaret; brother William P Homans, and his daughter, niece Jessie Homans Bautsch, and her husband, Joseph; sister-in-law Leslie Homans, with her daughter, Savannah Homans, and son, Alex Homans, along with his fiancé, Heather; sister Elizabeth Homans McKenna, with her husband, Jeffrey McKenna, their children, sons Keifer McKenna and William McKenna, and daughter Lindsay with her husband, Mike Baxter, and their son, Griffin.
Penelope’s vibrant spirit, love, and beaming smile will be missed and remembered by all who knew her.
Funeral services will be at Christ Church, Zero Garden Street, Cambridge, at 2 pm, Sunday, Jan. 21.