Posted October 19, 2006

Gerry E. Studds

Gerry E. Studds

Former U.S. Representative Gerry E. Studds, 69, longtime champion of New England fishermen and the ocean environment, and the first openly gay person elected to the United States Congress, died on Oct. 14 at Boston University Medical Center of complications from injuries sustained in an accident while walking his English springer spaniel, Bonnie.

He was the husband of Dean T. Hara since 2004. They were among the first same-sex couples to be legally married in Massachusetts.

Gerry Eastman Studds was born on May 12, 1937, in Mineola, N.Y., and grew up in Cohasset, a part of the district that he would later represent. He attended Yale University, earning a bachelor's degree in history in 1959 and a master's degree in 1961.

Following graduation, he served from 1961-62 as a foreign service officer in the State Department and from 1962-63 as an assistant in the Kennedy White House, where he worked to establish a domestic Peace Corps. In 1964, he served as legislative assistant to U.S. Sen. Harrison A. Williams Jr., D-N.J., after which he became a teacher at St. Paul's School in Concord, N.H.

In 1968, he served as New Hampshire state coordinator for U.S. Sen. Eugene McCarthy's presidential primary campaign, organizing McCarthy's upset victory over President Johnson in that primary and going on to serve as a delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Mr. Studds made his first run for Congress in 1970 at the age of 33, but lost to incumbent Republican representative Hastings Keith in a close election. In preparation for the next campaign, he learned to speak Portuguese, the language of a sizable community in the district, and also studied issues related to the fishing industry.

In 1972 he was successful in his second bid for Congress, becoming the first Democrat in 50 years to win what was considered a safe Republican seat. He held the seat for 24 years, representing Cape Cod and the Islands, New Bedford, and the South Shore for 12 congressional terms.

Mr. Studds was a ranking member of the House Democratic leadership and served as chairman of the Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries from 1990-94. He also served as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Navigation, as chairman of the House Subcommittee on Fisheries, Oceans and Wildlife, and as a member of the House Subcommittee on Health and the Environment, the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance and the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs.

During his 12 terms in the House of Representatives, Mr. Studds was known for his accessibility to his constituents and his advocacy of their concerns, notably in matters of the environment, health care, and fishing and maritime issues. He visited all the towns in his district several times a year, and held town meetings at which he discussed his votes in Congress and responded to questions from the public. He also wrote and published a weekly newsletter detailing his votes and positions on matters before the House of Representatives that was mailed to every district household when Congress was in session.

He was the major sponsor of the original Magnuson Act of 1973, the law that helped preserve the U.S. fishing industry by extending U.S. fishing jurisdiction to 200 miles. He authored the National Marine Sanctuaries Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 1992, and in honor of his contributions and dedication to the marine environment, in 1996 Congress designated an 842-square-mile ocean floor area between Cape Ann and Cape Cod as the Gerry E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, as part of a network of marine protected areas.

Mr. Studds worked successfully to pass the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which provided federal protection to whales, dolphins and porpoises, and fought to limit oil drilling off Georges Bank and to safeguard financing for the Coast Guard.

In 1995 he sponsored legislation that created the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area, bringing the 31 Boston Harbor Islands under the control of the National Park Service.

In 1987, although he was in line to assume the chairmanship of the highly visible House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere Affairs, he instead opted for the interests of his seaside district by accepting the chairmanship of the fisheries subcommittee.

In July 1983, Mr. Studds was censured by the House of Representatives for a consensual affair with a 17-year-old male congressional page 10 years earlier, but he won re-election to his House seat in 1984, making him the first openly gay member of Congress and the first to be reelected in the nation's history.

Mr. Studds was an advocate for a stronger federal response to the AIDS crisis and for increased funding for medical care and research. He was among the first members of Congress to endorse lifting the ban on gay men and lesbians in the military, and in 1994 he and U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, designed to end discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation.

After retiring from Congress in 1997, Mr. Studds remained involved in marine issues and served as a consultant on fisheries issues and ocean outreach.

He was honored by the AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts, GLAD, the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown and numerous other environmental and civil rights organizations in Massachusetts and across the country. In 1996 he was presented with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Chairman's Award for Distinguished Meritorious Service.

Mr. Studds moved to Provincetown in the early 1970s. He was an accomplished sailor and fisherman.

In 2002 he sold his home on the Cape and moved permanently to Boston.

In addition to his husband, survivors include a brother, Colin Studds of Cohasset; a sister, Gaynor Stewart of Buffalo, N.Y.; and four nephews.

A memorial service will be held in November at a time to be announced.

(Published: October 15, 2006) Copyright © Cape Cod Times. All rights reserved.

Dorothy Brickman

Dorothy Brickman, 90, of Vineyard Haven died Oct. 17 at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs. Her graveside service will be held on Thursday, Oct. 19 at 11 am in the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Cemetery, W. Spring Street, Vineyard Haven.

Donations in her memory may be made to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or to the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, P.O. Box 692, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit for online guest book and information. A full obituary will appear in a later edition of The Times.

Olga Grillo

Olga Grillo, 82, of Oak Bluffs died on Oct. 5 of heart failure at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. Her son Joe, his wife Kate, and her grandsons Joseph and Antonio of Vineyard Haven survive her.

Olga moved to the Island from New Jersey five years after the death of her husband Joe in 1991. She came to be closer to her family, but most especially her beloved grandchildren.

Born in New Brunswick, N.J., on Sept. 22, 1924, Olga was the daughter of Ella (Kopko) and Harry Ohrodnik. Raised in a large farm family during the hard times of the Great Depression, she left high school early to help support her family and herself as a professional dressmaker. She met and married her husband Joe when she was in her late teens. While he was away during World War II she worked in a munitions factory to help support the war effort. After the war she and her husband resided in South Plainfield, N.J. where they raised their son Joe Jr.

Olga was a working member of the international Ladies Garment Workers for more than 40 years until her retirement in 1990. Her life in retirement on the Island was filled with learning and mastering arts and crafts and incorporating local recipes into her already amazing culinary repertoire. Helping her son and daughter-in-law with their boys, however, was always her priority. She made many friends in her time on the island and was always there and available to help those who were in need of her generosity and many skills. She will be greatly missed by her loving family and those who knew her.

Besides her son and his family she is survived by her sisters; Eleanor Lasowsky, Verna Petrarca, and Marianne Hromoho.

A memorial service for Olga will be held on Saturday, Oct. 21, 1 pm at the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. Memorial donations may be made to Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.

Aliza Silva

Aliza "Elsie" Silva, 85, of Falmouth, formerly of West Wareham and Fairhaven, died on Oct. 17 at Falmouth Hospital. She was the wife of Edward P. Silva who predeceased her. She was born on Dec. 15, 1920, the daughter of Jules P. and Rose (Dias) Tremblay. She attended New Bedford public schools and enjoyed her family, friends, swimming, camping and reading. She was also a former member of the Big Blue #1 RV Club and the Holy Ghost Society of Oak Bluffs.

She is survived by daughter Ann Duart of Vineyard Haven; brother George Tremblay and his wife Lola of Ohio; grandchildren Rebecca Cass and her husband Michael, Peter Duart, and Kim Thomas, all of Vineyard Haven; 11 great grandchildren; and many loving nieces and nephews, relatives, and friends.

Funeral services will be Friday, Oct. 20, at 10:15 am from the Wareham Village Funeral Home 5 Center St. Wareham. Followed by a funeral Mass at 11 am in Saint Patrick's Church 82 High St. Wareham. Relatives and friends invited visiting hours Thursday, Oct. 19, from 7 to 9 pm in the funeral home. Interment will be Friday, Oct. 20, at 12:45 pm in the Massachusetts National Cemetery Bourne.

Timothy J. Norton

Timothy J. Norton, 45, of Southborough died at his home on Oct. 1 after a long struggle with cancer.

He was the husband of Sherry L. Countryman for the past 18 years and father to Megan Lindsay and Caroline Nicole Norton, all of Southborough.

Born in Oak Bluffs, he was the son of William and Elizabeth (Sylvia) Norton of Oak Bluffs.

Mr. Norton grew up on Martha's Vineyard and graduated from Martha's Vineyard High School and then the University of Massachusetts, in Amherst with a degree in economics in 1984. For over 16 years he was a banker, beginning his career at Bay Bank and through successive mergers to Bank of Boston and Fleet Bank. He ended his career as a Managing Director at the bank in the Energy and Utilities Division. Eventually, he made a decision to leave his banking career and become a stay-at-home dad focusing on raising his two young daughters. His family was always his greatest love. Tim was also a passionate fly fisherman on Martha's Vineyard and elsewhere in the world. He had fished in many locations, including Iceland, the Bahamas, Mexico, Montana, and Alaska.

Besides his wife, parents, and daughters, he is survived by a brother, Ralph Norton and his wife Sue of Oak Bluffs; two sisters, Deborah Norton and her husband, John Moynihan of Brookline; Dawn Davis and her husband Bob of Laurel Hollow, N.Y.; and eight nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service was held at the Old Whaling Church, Edgartown, on Oct. 9.

Memorial Contributions may be made in his memory to Timothy J. Norton Memorial Trust, for deposit to account number 004605145955. Bank of America, PO Box 31900, Tampa, FL 33631-3900 or checks may be dropped off at any Bank of America Banking Center, with the account number noted.

Arrangements are under the direction of the Morris Funeral Home, Southborough.

Frederick K. Glodis

There will be a graveside memorial service for Frederick Kirkland Glodis on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 12:30 pm in the Oak Grove Cemetery, Pine Street, Vineyard Haven. Mr. Glodis died on August 4. He was a beloved science teacher at the Tisbury School.

A reception will follow at the American Legion Post 257, W. William Street, Vineyard Haven. All family, friends, teachers, and former students are welcome.