Obituaries

Posted August 17, 2006

Frank E. Foley

Frank Elwood Foley of Pilgrim Road died on August 9. He was 93.

Donations in Mr. Foley's my may be made to any Island charity that benefits children. A complete obituary will follow in a future edition of The Times. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.

Ronald G. Letowski

Ronald G. Letowski, 53, died unexpectedly on August 9 on Martha's Vineyard. Born in Boston, he was a graduate of Stoughton High School, Stonehill College and Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard School of Nursing. Mr. Letowski was a resident of Martha's Vineyard for 7 years after living in Cambridge for 18 years and growing up in Stoughton. He worked as a registered nurse in the transplant unit at Massachusetts General Hospital for many years and most recently worked at Martha's Vineyard Hospital.

Ron enjoyed fishing, camping, and sharing good times with his son, Craig.

Mr. Letowski is survived by his son, Craig J. Letowski of Boston and Martha's Vineyard; his mother, Charlotte (Bartel) Letowski; and his sister, Christine G. Noonan both of Stoughton. He also leaves a niece and nephew and many good friends. He was preceded in death by his father, George W. Letowski.

Funeral prayers will be offered from the Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St. (Rt. 27), Stoughton on Sunday, August 13, at 5 pm. Visiting hours prior from 2 to 5 pm. Interment will be private. Donations in Ronald's name may be made to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. For more information visit www.farleyfh.com.

Ruth H. Low

Ruth H. Low

Ruth Hull Low was born August 8, 1916 in Madison Wis., daughter of Dr. Clark Leonard Hull and Bertha Lutzi Hull, and died on February 13 at home on Martha's Vineyard. She was predeceased by her brother, Dr. Richard Hull of California. She is survived by her husband Joseph Low of Chilmark; her daughter Jenni Oliver, and son-in-law Edly Oliver of Edgartown, and her daughter Damaris Botwick and granddaughter Fiona Botwick of New York.

She attended Yale Art School and Wisconsin University, the Art Students League and graduated from Columbia Teachers College.

During the time when her family lived in Newtown, Conn., she wrote many feature articles for the Newtown Bee weekly newspaper as well as the Danbury paper.

After moving to South Norwalk, Conn., she became very interested in the preservation of the Norwalk Islands. In doing so she compiled a trove of primary research on the early days of the islands which will be donated to the Norwalk Islands Historical Society.

She and her husband moved to the Island of St. John, Virgin Islands in the late 1970s to spend November through April which they did for 25 years. During that time she researched the early days of St. John from the time of the first Europeans to live there, which resulted in the publication of her book: "St. John Backtime" - primary research spanning the years 1718 - 1956. Her second book on the island, "St. John Voices," will be published posthumously.

Ruth and her husband lived in their house in Chilmark during the warmer six months of the year for the past 35 years; she always considered Chilmark and Martha's Vineyard as God's Country.

She was an annual volunteer for the West Tisbury Public Library's book sale and contributed feature articles to the Vineyard Gazette while working on her books. She also contributed her time as a judge of needlework at the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural Fair for many years.

Her family is grateful to the nurses at the Dialysis Center of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, the Visiting Nurse Association of Martha's Vineyard and to the staff and many volunteers of Hospice of Martha's Vineyard for the care and support extended to Ruth Low and her family.

A private celebration of her life was held on Squibnocket Beach in Chilmark on what would have been her 90th birthday. Family members and close friends attended, flying kites and sharing in remembrances of her life.

Margaret A. Ferris

Margaret A. Ferris

Margaret (Miggie) Allan Ferris died on August 7 in Ithaca, N.Y., near the home of her daughter Susan Hatch. Miggie first came to the Vineyard in the middle of the 1930s to visit her boyfriend's mother, Ada Crump Ferris, on East Chop. She and her future husband came with a chaperone on the steamer overnight from New York City with a connecting boat in New Bedford - all very romantic except that Bob Ferris had a bad case of impetigo.

They spent their honeymoon in a shack on Tisbury Great Pond. After their first child Nancy was born, they stayed in another beach house on Parker's Point Chilmark, washing the newborn in a galvanized tub. Ada Crump's sister Julie had a house on Greenhouse Lane in Chilmark with her husband Graeme Darling. (Peter and Della Darling own it now.) Bob and Miggie spent several vacations there. In the early 1950s, a New York friend of Bob's, Horace B.B. Robinson, urged Bob to build a house in Chilmark. Bob said he didn't want to spend his two weeks of yearly vacation fixing screens. Horace said, "Oh, give me a dollar." Bob forgot all about it. Next spring, Horace asked Bob to pick a spot in what became Blacksmith Valley. When Bob told him he wasn't interested, Horace said, "But you've already put a dollar down." What actually happened is that Miggie championed the idea and, that fall, Bill Dugan and Huck Stevenson built the house from a sketch that Miggie had worked out with Bill on an envelope. When Miggie wanted to go over a point in the design, Dugan said, "Oh, I know what you want," and in the spring there it was. He had included a dining room table, two side tables that could extend the dining space, and a carving of a striped bass over the fireplace. Years later, Bob, who was a great fisherman, caught a bass the same size, 23 pounds. Miggie and Bob called the house, "the best thing we ever did."

Moving away from East Chop and the older generation did not meet with everyone's approval. When Ada Crump's dear friend Gus Brooks heard about it, she called to Bob at the beach club, "Robert, come over here." "Yes, M's Brooks." "The fields of Chilmark are no place to raise children," she said. And that was to be that. But Bob and Miggie spent the next 60 years up-Island with their children and grandchildren, even when it meant driving from Indianapolis. Miggie loved a morning beach walk with each of her dogs. She loved her children and their families, driving them to and from summer jobs, dances, and parties. She cooked all caught fish and picked all berries and vegetables. She also loved sailing, being on the Menemsha Pond committee boat, and golf, but she treasured most the open sea skyscape. This summer her great-grandchildren were on the beach at Squibnocket. She will be buried in the cemetery at Abel's Hill on Monday, August 21, at 11:30 am.

John M. Mills

John M. Mills

A life time summer resident of Vineyard Haven, John Marshall Mills, known as Joey to his friends, and Bahpu to his grandchildren, died peacefully in his home here on the Island on August 13. He first came to the Island as a baby, missing only one summer during World War II.

Born in Albany N.Y., September 14, 1924 to Howard and Marie Mills, he grew up in Scarsdale, where he was captain of the high school football team and also met his future bride, Nancy Elise Demarest. He attended Yale taking time off from college to join the Naval Air Corp, where he trained as a flyer. He and Nancy married in July of 1946. After graduating from college they moved to Hingham where he worked for Bethlehem Steel for several years. He then went to work for his father’s company, Gravymaster Inc., and Dryden and Palmer, where he enjoyed the rest of his career.

John and Nancy lived in Darien, Conn., for 40 years. In 1990 the family business was moved from Long Island City to Branford, Conn., Joe and Nancy began to retire and became residents of Ocean Reef and the Vineyard.

John loved the Vineyard and he loved sailing, spending endless happy hours on the water. He was Commodore of the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, a member of the New York Yacht Club, a member of Corinthians, and Off Soundings. He and Nancy sailed from Nova Scotia to the Exumas, making numerous trips up and down the inland waterway, and loved cruising in Maine. They often shared those adventures with family and friends. The family home in Vineyard Haven is filled with photos and memories of the many good years on the island.

Joey’s greatest love was his family. He and Nancy had four children, Pam Besse of Guilford Conn., Tina Mills currently of Europe, John Mills of Guilford, Conn., and Penny Eklof of Santa Cruz, Calif. They have three grandchildren, Seth and Whitney Besse, and Lilli Eklof.

Private family services will be held at Bouy B at dawn on Friday followed by interment at the graveyard at the head of Grove Avenue. A celebration of Joe’s life for all friends and family will be held at the Mills home at the end of Grove Avenue in Vineyard Haven on Sunday, August 20 at 3 pm.

Roy F. Hagerty

Roy Francis "Sonny” Hagerty, Jr., 81, of Commonwealth Avenue, Village of Attleboro Falls, North Attleboro, died unexpectedly at his residence on August 12. He was the husband of Dorothy A. (Fallows) Hagerty to whom he was married on August 31, 1946.

Born in Attleboro on July 30, 1925, he was a son of the Roy F. Hagerty, Sr. and Sarah G. (Thurber) Hagerty. He was raised and educated in Attleboro where he attended the Attleboro Trade High School prior to enlisting in the service.

Mr. Hagerty was a veteran of the United States Navy having enlisted on Aug. 31, 1943 and serving honorably until his discharge on Feb. 4, 1946. He served aboard the USS Wasp and was the recipient of the World War II Victory Medal and earned eight bronze stars during his Asiatic-Pacific tour of duty.

Shortly after returning from the service and his marriage, Mr. Hagerty moved to Norton where he lived from 1948 until 1964 when he and his family moved to Mansfield where they resided for 10 years prior to moving to North Attleboro in 1975.

He was a career machinist having last been employed by Engelhard Industries in Plainville for 30 years before retiring when he was 62 in 1987.

Mr. Hagerty was a former communicant of St. John the Evangelist Church in Attleboro and in recent years of St. Mark’s Church in the Village of Attleboro Falls in North Attleboro.

While living in Norton, he served his community as a volunteer on-call firefighter and in Mansfield was active with the Cub Scout program.

His favorite pastimes included fishing and golfing. He was a fan of the New England Patriots and just recently "began to like” the Boston Red Sox.

In addition to his wife of almost 60 years, he leaves four children: Joyce A. Rose of Jaffrey, N.H.; Wayne R. Hagerty of Norton; Carol D. Kelley of Edgartown, and Roy F. Hagerty, III of North Attleboro; eight grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by sisters, Bertha L. Lawton, Irene Rocha, Margaret Mullaney, Nora Mercier, Harriet Hagerty, and a brother, Charles "Chickie” Hagerty.

A funeral service was held on Aug. 16 at Dyer-Lake Funeral Home, North Attleboro. Private services with full military honors followed in the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to any of the following organizations in memory of Mr. Hagerty: The American Lung Association, Massachusetts Chapter, 460 Totten Pond Road, Waltham, MA 02451; Affinity Hospice of Life, Massachusetts South Shore, 319 Manley Street, West Bridgewater, MA 02379 or to the Life Care at Home, 319 Manley Street, West Bridgewater, MA 02379.

To send the family an expression of sympathy, please visit our on-line register book at www.dyer-lakefuneralhome.com.

Arrangements under the direction of the Dyer-Lake Funeral Home, North Attleboro.

Nathaniel O. Stevens

Nathaniel Otis Stevens of Oak Bluffs formerly of Boston died on July 17. He was the beloved husband of Angela Fiorelli. A graveside service will be held at the Massachusetts National Cemetery, Bourne on Friday, August 25, 11:30 am. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for an online guestbook and more information.