Obituaries

Posted April 6, 2006

Susan L. Graupner
Susan Leigh Graupner, 45, of Lincoln, Neb., died March 19 from complications following a heart attack.

Sue's connection to the Vineyard goes back to her childhood and continued for most of her life. She was born and raised in Westfield, N.J., and spent every summer with her family at their cottage, The Red Hen, on Sengekontacket Pond. She returned in later years with her own children. It was here that Sue first discovered her deep love for nature and all living creatures. Throughout the years both here and in Nebraska she rescued, rehabilitated, and released literally hundreds of wild animals. Sue worked as a volunteer for many years on the Nebraska Wildlife Rescue Team. Her love of animals was not limited to the wild variety; she also worked at the Capital Humane Society of Lincoln helping to find good homes for all manner of domestic animals. At any given time she had at a dozen or so animals at her farm outside of town; some were her pets and others were waiting to be adopted.

Sue's only greater love was the love she had for her three children and her new grandson. While raising her children and running her farm as a single woman was no small feat, Sue met the challenge and always gave her best. Her children are bright, shining reflections of their mother, and carry that deep love for all living creatures within them.

Sue is survived by her children, daughters Haley and Hannah Graupner; son Zach Graupner; grandson Christopher Graupner; sister Nancy Graupner; brothers Scott, Peter, and David Graupner; and scores of much loved friends both human and animal.

Services were held March 23 at Antelope Park in Lincoln, Neb. At Sue's request family and friends were asked to dress casually and to bring their dogs with them.

Donations in her name may be sent to Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. P.O. Box 494, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Richard C. Powell
Richard Carl (Dick) Powell, 74, of Rigby, Idaho died on March 24. He returned home to his Father in Heaven after an extended illness. He was at his home at the time of his passing.

He was born at Pomeroy, Garfield County, Wash., June 13, 1931. He was the second of three sons born to Robert Carl Powell and Edna Louise Light Powell. He graduated from Eugene, Oregon High School in 1949. After graduation he worked with his father in the grocery business at LaPine, Ore. Dick joined the United States Navy in August of 1950 and proudly served in the Korean War. He trained in San Diego and was squad leader as they went to Memphis, Tennessee, where he finished his training in electronics. While stationed at Quonset Point NAS, R.I., he flew with the Naval Air Force as an Aviation Ordinance Third Class. While on leave, he met his first wife, Rosalie Humphreys, on Martha's Vineyard. They married in April 1953 and he returned to Korea to fly night patrols. His plane was ditched in the Philly Sea in October 1953. All were rescued except the co-pilot. After his honorary discharge from the service he attended Bryant and Stratton Business School and worked at State Street Bank in Boston. He later lived on the Island and worked in the family bakery, Humphreys, the Martha's Vineyard Shipyard, and on the West Tisbury Police Department. For twelve years, Dick worked for Metropolitan Life Insurance. He helped found the first congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was a good father to his two sons, Ted and Jim, and enjoyed taking them hunting and fishing. Dick worked hard building a nice home for his family in West Tisbury which later became the Bayberry Inn. He also enjoyed antiquing with Rosalie.

Dick always loved the ocean and saltwater fishing. He felt that one of the greatest compliments he received from the Islanders was that he was a "fair to midlin'" fisherman. In the early days of the Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, he and Oscar Flanders received awards for the largest striped bass caught.

In 1976 he moved to Idaho, was divorced in January 1978, and later met Rosa Eileen Kauer. They were married in the Idaho Falls Temple on October 20, 1978. He was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints holding the office of High Priest. He served as cub scout leader, gospel doctrine teacher, ward executive secretary, Sunday school teacher and ward and stake employment specialist. From 2000 through 2005 he served with his wife as a service missionary at the Idaho Falls Family History Center.

He is survived by his loving wife, Rosa K. Powell of Rigby, Idaho; two sons, Theodore Richard Powell and his wife Susan of Canton, and James Richard Powell of West Tisbury; two grandchildren, Shannon Elizabeth Powell of West Tisbury, and Kevin H. Powell serving in the military in Korea and his wife Sarah; and a great-granddaughter, Elizabeth Sue Powell; two brothers, Robert H. Powell and his wife Nan of Renton, Wash.; David L. Powell and his wife Goria of Darlington, Idaho; numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Robert Carl and Edna Louise Powell.

Funeral services were held March 28 at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Rigby, Idaho, with Bishop William Follett presiding. Burial was at the Annis Little Butte Cemetery with military rites performed by the Rigby VFW. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the LDS Humanitarian Services or LDS Missionary Department, 15 E. South Temple, 2nd Floor East, Salt Lake City, UT 84150

Frank J. Williams
On March 28 Frank J. Williams died unexpectedly at the age of 49. He was a native of Martha's Vineyard and lived in Edgartown. He is predeceased by his father Frank H. Williams and survived by his mother Alice T. Williams of Edgartown and his brother, Woody Williams, and his sister, Kathy Spiro.

During his life he enjoyed karate, fishing, gardening, kayaking, working on his cars, helping people and spending time with his three children: Gina of New Hampshire, Maria of Edgartown and Frankie of Edgartown.

He was a very active and well-known member of the community. He was involved in many organizations. Frank spent 28 years as a firefighter and EMT. He served 25 years as a very dedicated police officer. Most importantly he was a wonderful father to three children who meant the world to him. Frank's acts of kindness and dedication to helping people will be what his family and friends will remember most about him.

A graveside service was held on April 1 in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Pacific Avenue, Oak Bluffs officiated by Rev. Roger Spinney. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Frank Jeffrey Williams, Jr. Fund, c/o Kim Gaspar-Johnson at Dukes County Savings Bank, P.O. Box 1069, Edgartown, MA 02539. Arrangements were under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home. Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.

Dean K. Denniston
Dean Kimball Denniston Sr., 92, son of the first African American minister on Martha's Vineyard, died on March 25 due to complications of a stroke. Mr. Denniston's story "A Person of Color" was one of 10 segments filmed for the documentary "Vineyard Voices - American Stories" featured at the Martha's Vineyard Independent film festival. In the film he recounts his father's founding of Bradley Memorial Church, the joys and sorrows of being a minister's son and experiencing the sting of racial prejudice.

Mr. Denniston graduated from Oak Bluffs High School in 1931. As was customary at the time, the senior class traveled to Washington D.C. and stayed in a local hotel. Mr. Denniston, as the only black member of the graduating class, was obligated to stay in a private home and travel daily by bus to meet his fellow graduates at the hotel, which denied blacks admission. During high school, while working at a job maintaining the all-white tennis courts in Oak Bluffs, Mr. Denniston met several professors from Boston University who helped him find housing and work which would allow him to pursue higher education. He received his Bachelor of Education degree in 1939 and a Master of Education in 1940, both from Boston University.

With few opportunities for black educators in New England in the 1940's, Mr. Denniston was forced to head to the south where he became the principal of The Gillespie School in Georgia, a private Episcopalian boarding school for black females. It was there he met Robbie, his wife for 47 years, who was the school's home economics teacher. Anxious to return to his roots in Massachusetts, he took advantage of one of the few working opportunities available to blacks in the 40s in New England and became a dining car waiter on the Boston to Washington, D.C. run of the New Haven Railroad. Before retiring in 1978, Mr. Denniston was the first to hold the position of "Waiter in Charge," a title created especially for black employees, since the title steward was reserved for white waiters. During his tenure, Mr. Denniston met and obtained autographs from many politicians, celebrities, and sports figures including Joe Dimaggio, Ted Williams, and Richard Nixon.

Mr. Denniston lived in Boston for more than 70 years. An avid music lover, he lived within walking distance of the New England Conservatory, the Berkelee School of Music and Symphony Hall where he and Robbie were 40-year season ticket subscribers to the Boston Symphony Orchestra. One of his proudest moments was in 1971, when his youngest son Donald's original composition, "Sun Song," was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. Mr. Denniston's life-long devotion to his faith continued in 1959 when he, his wife, and three children joined Boston's Church of the Covenant. During his almost 50-year membership with the Covenant he served in many different roles, including that of church trustee and as pivotal member of many fundraising committees. Especially loved by children, he frequently participated in their services and could often be found reading in the nursery. It was not unusual for parents to entice their kids into attending church by promising them a seat next to Dean. Mr. Denniston was an active volunteer and spokesperson for MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers and also spent his spare time speaking to Boston public school children about the importance of education and hard work. Mr. Denniston's last residence was the Morville House where he and his wife had managed a weekly food pantry for a number of years until her death in 1987.

Mr. Denniston remained a life-long Vineyarder who became an unofficial ambassador for the Island by greeting people as they came off the ferries in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. He and Robbie maintained their summer home in Oak Bluffs for over 50 years, where they became well known for their gracious hospitality. As a long-time activist, Dean and Robbie were involved in community affairs such as the Cottagers, a black social organization instrumental in raising funds for the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. For more than 10 years, Mr. Denniston served as Vice President of the Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs where he welcomed all visitors, and worshiped alongside President Clinton during the President's island summer vacations. He was also an active member of the Duke's County Historical Society.

Mr. Denniston is survived by his daughter, Deanne Clark of Natick, sons Dean Kimball Denniston, Jr. of Brookline and Donald E. Denniston of Boston, five grandchildren, a great grandson, several nephews and a niece.

A memorial service for Mr. Denniston will be held on Saturday, April 8 at 3 pm at the Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury Street, Boston.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made out to The Boston Living Center (Gogo Project) c/o Pat Daoust, 303 Berkeley Street #2, Boston, MA 02116 or MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers, 105 Chauncey Street, Boston, MA 02111 or the Church of the Covenant, 67 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116.

Miles W. Renear
The Rev. Dr. Miles Wetherell Renear, 86, of Cayucos, died peacefully in his home Wednesday March 29.

Services will be held, to celebrate Miles's life, at 1pm, Friday April 7 at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in San Luis Obispo.

Miles was born December 5, 1919 on Martha's Vineyard to Leland W. Renear and Anstis Maida Fairbrother. He was educated at Brown University, The Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, and The American Baptist Seminary of The West. An Episcopal priest, his ministry had been divided between parishes and state hospitals. He had been a Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor, a Fellow of The American Association of Pastoral Counselors and a Supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education, training students and clergy of many denominations.

Beloved father, grandfather and friend to all who knew and loved him. He was a patient, kind man who touched the lives and hearts of many. He lived a full and happy life and will be truly missed.

Miles was preceded in death by his wife Katherine, his son John, and his three brothers, Walter H., Dixon B., and Robert L. Renear. He is survived by his daughter Maida and husband Michael, daughter Diane and husband Kevin, daughter Cynthia and husband Ken, grandchildren Daniel, Niccole, Claire, Michelle, Sean, Brian and great grandchildren Taylor and Dylan, and nephew and nieces.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hospice Partners of San Luis Obispo, 1304 Pacific Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 or St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 1344 Nipomo Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401.

Pauline C. Michaelson
Pauline C. Michaelson died on March 31 at her home in West Tisbury after a long illness. She was 82 years of age. She was the former wife of Louis Michaelson who predeceased her.

Pauline was the only child of Meyer Cohan and Deborah Lebowitz and was born in Worcester on Nov. 23, 1923 and was a long-time resident.

She was graduated from the former North High School. She received her degree in education from Goucher College in Baltimore (MD) and did her graduate work at Yale University.

She taught science classes at Auburn High School for more than 20 years. She also had an extraordinary cooking talent and operated her own catering business for 10 years.

Pauline was active in the Worcester community and served as past-president of the Worcester chapter of the American Association of University Women and was a member of the Brandeis University Women's Committee along with working for U-Mass hospice. She volunteered her time reading books at the library to the blind and belonged to a sewing group through the Blessed Sacrament.

She had maintained a house on Martha's Vineyard for the past 14 years and settled year-round in 1996 and wintered in Florida part time.

On the Vineyard she volunteered at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center and was on the board of the West Tisbury Library.

Along with being a prolific reader, she was talented in quilt making, cooking, caring for her dog, collecting antiques, anything from glass, coins or stamps.

She is survived by her three daughters, Ellen Michaelson, Md., of Portland, Ore., Joan Oshinsky of Washington, D.C., and Mimi Michaelson, PhD, of Cambridge; two grandchildren, Charlie and Michael Oshinsky, both of Washington, D.C.

Her funeral service was held at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, Vineyard Haven on April 2. Burial followed in the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Cemetery, Vineyard Haven. Donations may be made in her memory to the West Tisbury Public Library, P.O. Box 190, West Tisbury, MA 02575.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.