"She not only connected me forever to my identity as an artist, but she unknowingly endowed me with a deep understanding of tolerance, grace, and dignity." These words were written recently by John Michael Flate, about Mrs. Celestine Howard, his junior high school teacher of 33 years earlier, who died at age 97 on May 22 at Neville Center, Cambridge.
Celestine remained a lively and artistically gifted woman, active into her late nineties. She was born in Pittsburg, Pa., on Sept. 11, 1908. Her parents were John Johnson, a Pullman car porter, and Olivia Forrester. From her earliest days, Celestine sewed, painted, and played the piano. Moving to Boston to attend Boston University, she earned a Master's Degree in Fine Arts, but, as an African American, found it difficult to secure a teaching job in 1930s Boston. Leaving the area, she did secure a teaching position at a segregated school for girls in Durham, N.C., where she taught for almost 10 years. She eventually returned to the Boston area to become the first African-American teacher in the Quincy school system.
An avid appreciator of the arts, she was committed to passing her enthusiasm and love of art to her young students. She traveled to Europe and northern Africa, returning with fresh ideas, to bring new creativity to her teaching. As a result of a 1964 sabbatical in Mexico City, she developed a deep admiration for Mexican culture and traditions, and she also traveled to most of Central and South America. Returning home, she was thrilled when the school principal allocated some of the budget for copper and other materials so that she could teach the students the techniques of jewelry making that she had recently acquired.
In 1976 she married Lloyd Howard and she retired from the school system the following year. During her retirement, she summered in Oak Bluffs, continuing to paint, to make clothing and jewelry, and to socialize with her many friends. During the winter months she served as a docent at the Museum of Fine Arts and enjoyed the companionship of women friends of two national service organizations, the Links, Inc. and the Northeasterners. Lloyd Howard died in 1993.
Celestine was extraordinarily stylish. She loved beautiful clothes, flowers, poetry, and music, especially Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.
In February, 2006, at their 10th annual breakfast celebration, the Human Rights Committee of the City of Quincy acknowledged the contributions of Celestine Howard. The Norfolk County District Attorney and the city council president presented plaques of recognition to Celestine. She spoke appreciatively and vividly of her teaching experiences and was later greeted by many former students who expressed their joy at seeing their teacher, older, but unchanged in so many ways.
Her love of life, appreciation of beauty, strength of character, and unwavering belief in the goodness of humanity is the legacy she leaves behind.
She will be missed by her stepdaughter, Janice Howard Dost; her niece, Olivia Steele; and her nephew, Richard Steele.
Donald W. Creighton
Donald William Creighton, the husband of Anna Marie D'Addarie, died on Sunday, May 28, at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, after a three-year battle with leukemia.
Don was born in Philadelphia, Pa., on April 28, 1945. He attended St. Bernard grade school in the Mayfair section of the city from 1951 to 1959, and graduated from Father Judge High School in 1963.
Don enlisted in the United States Army in 1964. He served in Vietnam from 1965 to 1966 with the 2nd Battalion 7th Cavalry Regiment 1st Cavalry Division (Infantry). For the rest of his life he remained especially proud to have served his country.
He was discharged in 1967, and soon started to work for Eaton, Yale and Towne in Philadelphia. After graduating from the Pennsylvania State Police Municipal Academy in 1972, he was hired by the Upper Moreland Police Department where he worked as a police officer until 1998.
His sons, Matt and Kevin, remember Don as being totally devoted to his work as a policeman and his responsibilities as a father. His favorite books and movies revolved around crime-solving, and he was a dedicated John Wayne fan. The boys grew up thinking that police work was the only work; they are both now Pennsylvania state troopers.
Don was also the principal cook in the household, and the boys remember teasing their Dad about hockey pucks disguised as pork chops. On the bag lunches he made for the boys during grade school, Don would retaliate by writing disgusting (and inaccurate) descriptions of the contents.
Don loved to fish, although his success rate was less than spectacular, according to his boys. Still, he relished outings in the Poconos with his sons and his pals.
When word spread among his former colleagues at the Upper Moreland Police Department that Don's illness had progressed to a grave stage this spring, many of them took up a pen or a keyboard to write to him. They all remembered him fondly as a great person to work with, and some recalled particularly amusing or hair-raising moments in the line of duty. They also pointed out how professional he was; how reliable he was in a tense situation; how generous he was in mentoring younger officers who came on the force; how well-turned out he was in uniform; and what a lively sense of humor he had.
Don and Anna Marie spent the winter of 1998-9 on the Vineyard, to get a full taste of Island living. They moved here permanently in 2001, and in short order Don started working as a patrolman for the West Tisbury Police Department, where he worked until late 2004, when his failing health forced him to retire once again. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Don was assigned to the Martha's Vineyard Airport as part of an increased security detail.
Sergeant Dan Rossi, a colleague on the West Tisbury police force, remembers Don as being great to work with. He was quick to share his 26 years of experience in law enforcement, and he treated everyone on the force equally. "Whether you were a sergeant or a summer special, he always looked after you," recalled Sgt. Rossi. "I never heard a bad word about Don. He constantly had a smile on his face, and everybody loved him. And even when he was sick, he wanted to go back to work. He just loved being on the job."
Steve Ewing, Station Manager of Cape Air, recalls, "He was very friendly and helpful, with a dry sense of humor. And he was wonderful helping out the young summer workers. He was just a great guy to work with, and Cape Air really misses him."
In his free time on the Island, Don loved to fish, particularly on the jetty at Eastville and at the Little Bridge opening to Sengekontacket Pond. But here, as in the Poconos, the fish didn't have much to fear from his efforts, apparently.
Don had an uncanny connection to animals - not just pets like his most recent housecat, Hop-a-long, but wild animals as well. Anna Marie called him St. Francis at times. Perhaps it was this affinity with wild creatures that led to his limited success as a fisherman: how could he kill something he loved so much?
Don and Anna Marie took up ballroom dancing after moving to the Island. Since ballrooms are in short supply here, they had to make their own. Every Sunday they took a twirl or two around their living room, usually to Nat King Cole's "That Sunday, That Summer."
Don's resilience during a long, debilitating illness has inspired many who knew him. Dorothy Bangs, who runs the American Cancer Society's Daffodil Days program on the Island, remembers Don as a selfless volunteer who never told her he had cancer until he was too weak to help out last year.
Even as Don weakened dramatically over the last year as his illness advanced, he was determined to pursue two long-held dreams. One was to take a car trip with no destination in mind, and he and Anna Marie made it to Mount Airy, N.C., the model for the "Andy Griffith Show" and "Mayberry R.F.D" on TV. And last fall, he got the chance to see Jimmy Buffet in concert - in Las Vegas, no less.
Don's 61st birthday was celebrated with a party at Grace Episcopal Church where friends gathered after the Sunday services on April 30. Don was overwhelmed by the number of people that turned out and a little embarrassed by all the attention. He cherished all the cards and notes he received. Special among them was a bagful of gifts from Scotland given by Lee Fierro, items she picked up on her recent trip. Lee knew Don always wanted to visit Scotland.
Anna Marie and Don's family would like to recognize and thank those who treated Don through his illness for their dedication and compassion, particularly the emergency room personnel, acute care nurses, and lab technicians at Martha's Vineyard Hospital; the staff at Leslie's Pharmacy; and the bone marrow and stem cell transplant teams at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
Don is survived by his wife, Anna Marie D'Addarie of Vineyard Haven; his mother, Dorothy G. Makem of Southampton, N.J.; his sons, D. Matthew Creighton of Cochranville, Pa., and his son Colin; and Kevin Creighton and his wife Patti Chern of Kirkwood, Pa., and their son Thomas; his brother James G. Creighton and his wife, Maryann, of Doylestown, Pa., and his step-daughter Leigh Ann Parente and her husband, Michael Chalfant of Philadelphia. Don was predeceased by his father, James Creighton.
A funeral service for Donald W. Creighton will be held on Saturday, June 3, at 11 am at Grace Episcopal Church, William Street and Woodlawn Avenue, Vineyard Haven. A reception will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Don's memory may be made to the Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group, P.O. Box 2214, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or Grace Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 1197, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason, Oak Bluffs, MA. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.
Peter J. Schreck
Peter Joseph Schreck of Edgartown died on the morning of May 26 after a long and courageous bout with cancer. He was 42 years old.
Peter was born in Orange, N.J., and grew up in Perry, Maine. He was stationed in Germany for three years and Texas for one year while honorably serving in the United States Army. His surviving parents, Kathleen (Smith) Schreck and Joseph G. Schreck of Belgrade Lakes, Maine, formally owned and operated the High Haven Inn in Vineyard Haven. Peter had been a resident of Martha's Vineyard for 19 years and worked in the telecommunications industry with Verizon.
Peter was a devout lover of all water sports. He avidly pursued fishing and boating.
He was the devoted husband of Susan (Richardson) Schreck and the beloved dad of Eric, Emilija, Elizabeth, and Timothy Schreck.
He is lovingly survived by his sisters, Karen Dutton of West Tisbury, Lisa Bolton of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Jennifer Cuntz of Golden, Col., and many nieces and nephews.
His funeral mass was celebrated in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Massasoit Avenue, Oak Bluffs on May 30. Interment will follow in the New Westside Cemetery, Robinson Road, Edgartown with military honors provided by the Martha's Vineyard Veterans. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.
Donations may be made in his memory to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or to Hospice of MV, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.
Constance Crump Hume died on May 26 in her home in Chilmark. Wife of Dr. Michael Hume of Boston, who predeceased her, Constance leaves behind her daughter, Nancy Hume, her son, Nelson Hume, and cherished grandchildren, Milo Hume and Cora Hume-Fagin, all of New York City. She is also survived by a brother, Walter Crump of Belvedere, Calif., and a sister, Cynthia Crimmins of Noroton, Conn.
Constance grew up in Darien, Conn., attended the Knox School, graduated from Smith College with a degree in art history, and received a masters in education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She was an elementary school teacher in New York City and a volunteer teacher in Boston.
Constance was a member of Beacon Hill Circle for Charity and the League of Women Voters. She was a life-long supporter of the arts, an intrepid traveler, and an avid reader.
Constance counted as a blessing her year-round home with its restorative view of Chilmark Pond and the ocean beyond. Constance will be buried in Abel's Hill next to her eldest daughter, Claire, and her husband Michael, in a private ceremony on June 3. Donations in her name may be made to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason, Oak Bluffs, MA. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.
Albion A. Alley
Albion A. Alley, Jr., 81, of Tashmoo Pond in Vineyard Haven, died May 30 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. He was predeceased by his wife Ethel T. (Amaral) Alley. He is survived by a son, Albion Alley III of Vineyard Haven and a daughter, Sharon Estrella of West Tisbury.
A graveside service will be held in the West Tisbury Cemetery, State Road, West Tisbury on Friday, June 2, at 10 am, officiated by the Rev. Tom Roan. Donations may be made in his memory to the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. 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. A full obituary will follow.
Clara M. Burke
Clara M. Burke, 85, of West Tisbury died May 30 at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. Her husband Arnold A. Burke predeceased her in 1990. She is survived by her children, Karen Carpenter of Mansfield and Daniel Burke of Freeport, Maine. A graveside service will be held in the Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven on Saturday, June 3, at 1 pm, with a reception following. Donations may be made to the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. 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.