Posted November 22, 2006

Joan S. McGurren

Joan S. McGurren

Joan S. McGurren, a new resident on Martha's Vineyard since February, died unexpectedly at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital on Monday, Nov. 13 after an accident in West Tisbury. She was 63 years of age.

She was the wife of Henry John "Jay" McGurren of West Tisbury and was born in Berkeley, Calif., the daughter of James and Margaret (Metcalf) Smillie on July 7, 1943. She later moved to the Pacific Northwest where her father was serving in the armed forces.

She lived in Redondo Beach, Calif., and then attended the University of Arizona where she met her future husband and was graduated in 1965 with a degree in fine arts and in 1967 she received a degree in education. They married in 1966 and following Jay's graduation from law school in 1968 moved to Washington, D.C., where Jay earned his master's degree in environmental law. They lived in Chicago for a couple of years and then returned to the D.C. area, settling in Great Falls, Va., where she worked as a commercial graphic artist for McGurren Weber Commercial Design and thereafter for Computer Tots and Abrakadoodle in Reston, Va. She retired from Abrakadoodle in 2005.

Joan was an avid horse rider and driver. In 2002 she was the Bellcrown East Coast Preliminary Pair Pony Champion. She was also an accomplished painter in both watercolors and oils. Her knitting talents took the first place blue ribbon for her afghan in this year's Ag Fair.

She attended the West Tisbury Congregational Church and belonged to the Women's Group. She also was a member in a host of horse related societies.

She is survived by her husband; a son, Capt. Michael McGurren, USMC, stationed at Camp Lejeune; a daughter, Katherine Carroll McGurren of Richmond, Va.; and her two grandchildren, Connor and Carter McGurren. She was predeceased by her brother, James.

A memorial service was held in the West Tisbury Congregational Church in West Tisbury on Nov. 18, officiated by the Rev. Arlene Bodge. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her memory to a charity of one's choice. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. For online guest book and information visit

Marion E. Keniston

Marion E. (Leonard) Keniston, of Edgartown, died peacefully at her residence on Nov.15. She was the widow of Malcolm G. Keniston, who died on June 27, 2004. She was predeceased by daughter Linda Vaughan Keniston in 1998.

Born in Harvard, on Feb. 26, 1911, to Alpha Freeman Leonard Sr., and Lucinda Estelle Phinney, she moved to Martha's Vineyard in 1917. She attended Oak Bluffs School, where her father was the principal. On the graduating class of seven's trip to Washington, D.C., she met the only two boys from Edgartown, who were also on the trip, one being Malcolm Keniston, After attending Dean Junior College she returned to the Vineyard to work at Leonard's Service Station in Oak Bluffs. Marion and Malcolm were married on March 19, 1931. Mrs. Keniston was a bank teller at the Edgartown National Bank for a number of years, before retiring in 1976.

Mrs. Keniston enjoyed the simple pleasures that life on the Vineyard had to offer, family outings, dining with friends, hunting, fishing, golfing, bird watching and long walks along the shores. In her later years long drives down distant roads became a day well spent. She loved to share memories of a time soon to be forgotten, to all who would listen. Each landmark, each "Island" family name would bring her audience to an era that can only now be visualized. She spoke often of lifelong friends and the rewards of their relationships.

Even in her last years at her Main Street home, in the town that she so cherished, her zest for life and her dry wit were contagious. When asked by a caregiver or a visitor if she would like something to drink, a twinkle would come to her eyes and she would reply, "I'll take a rye highball."

Mrs. Keniston is survived by a brother Alpha Freeman Leonard Jr.; and his wife Constance of Vineyard Haven; and 11 nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by a sister Eloise Doten of Hamden, Maine; and a brother, Howard W. Leonard Sr., of Oak Bluffs

Mrs. Keniston's graveside service will be held in the Old Westside Cemetery, Pease's Point Way, Edgartown on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1:30 pm. Donations may be made in her memory to the Visiting Nurse Services, 111 Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, 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.

Audria B. Tankard

Audria B. Tankard

Audria Blendina (Thomas) Tankard died on Nov. 17 at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston at the age of 89.

Mrs. Tankard was born in Newark, N.J., on Sept. 29, 1917. She was the only child of Charles Thomas and Ellen Scott Thomas, and the first grandchild on both sides of her family. Mrs. Tankard and her parents moved to New York when she was five years of age. She was primarily educated in the Catholic School System. One of the schools she attended was St. Mark's School, in New York City. This is a premiere Catholic school started by Catherine Drexel that was designed to prepare Native American and African American students for higher education. While Mrs. Tankard lived in New York, she met and married George V. Tankard, Sr., and together they bore and raised 10 children. In 1945 they moved to New Jersey, and remained there until 1961 when they moved to Martha's Vineyard.

Mrs. Tankard's primary vocation was being a wife, mother, and grandmother. She was also a communicant of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs. She was also one of the Founders of the Martha's Vineyard Chapter of the NAACP. Mrs. Tankard enjoyed working with the public as an outreach worker for the Oak Bluffs Elder Services, and also in a variety of sales positions in Boston, Hyannis, and Martha's Vineyard.

Mrs. Tankard was an avid reader, and she enjoyed listening to music, knitting, crocheting, fishing, traveling, especially to Aruba, and playing bingo. She was very influential in the lives of her children, grandchildren, and friends. Some of the greatest gifts Mrs. Tankard gave her family were a great strength of faith in God, strong morals, and love. She enjoyed entertaining and being entertained by her grandchildren; each member was very special to her.

She is survived by nine of her ten children: Reginald Tankard of Roselle, N.J., Shirley Robinson of Vineyard Haven, Merle Beaulieu of Oak Bluffs, Patricia Tankard of Brookline, Myrna Araujo of Vineyard Haven, Brenda Tankard of Brookline, Robert Tankard of Vineyard Haven, Audria L. Tankard of Brookline and Carol Giosmas of Oak Bluffs. She was predeceased by her son George V. Tankard, Jr., of Oak Bluffs. She has 29 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, and 1 great, great grandchild.

Her funeral mass was held on Nov. 21, Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Oak Bluffs. Burial followed in the Sacred Heart Cemetery. Donations in her memory can be made to: MV NAACP, P.O. Box 1513, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, designated for: George V. Tankard, Jr. Memorial Road Race, or St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Vineyard Nursing Association, Inc., P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

George H. Blackwell

George H. Blackwell

On Nov.17, George H. Blackwell died peacefully in his home in Chilmark, at the age of 97, surrounded by loved ones.

George was a devoted husband, a loving father, grandfather and great-grandfather, a good friend to people of all ages and walks of life. A lifelong Episcopalian, he was quietly spiritual. His gentle manner and positive approach to life inspired trust and loyalty in his professional life and great affection among his family and friends.

He and pianist Ethel Martien met as undergraduates at Harvard/Radcliffe. During their marriage of 56 years, they raised three daughters (and several Irish setters), taught together in independent schools, and shared their love of music and nature with many friends. After a long illness during which George devoted himself to her care, Ethel passed away in 1988.

Ten years later George and Doris Hutchings discovered each other as Vineyard Haven neighbors. Their surprise wedding, held during George's 90th birthday celebration in 1999, delighted family and friends gathered on the Blackwell family hilltop in Chilmark. Both Doris and George have many generations of family roots on the Vineyard. Each of them had retired to the Vineyard after careers as teachers and school heads in independent schools.

George's children and grandchildren fondly remember country walks with "Dad" (affectionately called "Gramps", "Papa", and "Granddad") and evenings as he read aloud from their favorite books. He loved to share his hobbies with his family, whether bird watching, developing and printing his black-and-white photos, sailing on Quitsa Pond, planting trees or tending his many indoor plants.

Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, George attended Browne & Nichols School, Milton Academy, then Harvard College where he earned a bachelor of arts in chemistry. As a dedicated science teacher in boys' secondary schools, he began his career at Lenox School in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. After three years he moved to Landon School in Washington, D.C., until 1942. During the remaining war years he taught at Groton School, and in the summers did research for Raytheon. In 1944 he took his family to Lake Forest Academy in Illinois where he headed the science department for nine years. Always interested in the Whole Person, when asked what he taught, he liked to say, "I teach boys."

In 1953 he was called to be headmaster of The Rivers School in Chestnut Hill. During his 15 years there he moved the school to a beautiful rural campus in Weston, built enrollment, strengthened curriculum, developed endowment, and initiated the Rivers Summer Day Camp. For six years he was business manager at Emerson College in Boston. In 1974 George and Ethel retired to their hilltop home in Chilmark. Over the next seven years he was called out of retirement several times to serve as interim headmaster at four east coast secondary schools, including Falmouth Academy on Cape Cod. After retiring to live year-round on the Vineyard, he continued his interest in education, serving on the Chilmark school board.

He is survived by his wife, Doris; his brother, John; his sister-in-law, Louise; his daughters, Margo, Scilla, and Jane; eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

On Sunday, Nov. 26, at 3 pm, a memorial service for George will be held at Grace Episcopal Church, Woodlawn Ave., Vineyard Haven. In lieu of flowers, at George's request, donations will be welcome at Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or Sheriff's Meadow Foundation, RR1 319X, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Sally B. Coker

A memorial celebration for the life of Sally Blair Coker will be held on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 11 am, at Christ United Methodist Church (Stone Church), Church Street, Vineyard Haven. Join family and friends for a potluck lunch at the church following the service.

Timothy K. Taney

Timothy Kevan Taney, infant son of Timothy and Jill Nichols died at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Newport, Kentucky on the day he was born, Nov. 6.

Besides his parents, he is survived by grandparents, Michael and Mary Taney of West Chester, Ohio, and Kevan and Marceen Nichols of Vineyard Haven; aunts and uncles, Kevan and Liz Stiving-Nichols of Oak Bluffs and Melissa and Jim Mahoney of Vineyard Haven.

Peter K. Clough

Peter Kipp Clough of Edgartown died unexpectedly in the early morning, Nov. 7. Born in Englewood, N.J., in 1922, he was the son of Clarance Ambrose and Ethel Kipp Clough. He attended the Englewood School for Boys before going to Kent School in the class of 1941 where he was stroke on the crew.

Mr. Clough's grandparents had a cottage before he was born, which is still there, on the back of a lot of Cottage street and at one point his grandfather was a commodore of the Edgartown Yacht Club. So he grew up summering in Edgartown and during his school years taught sailing at the Yacht Club.

From October 1942 until May 1946 he was in the United States Coast Guard during the Second World War. He had entered the class of 1945 at Cornell University and attended for only two years. Mr. Clough then joined the firm of Birt Whistle and Livingston in Englewood as a real estate agent. He became a partner some years later.

In 1952 he married Shirley Martin Petigrue from Tenefly, N.J., and when he retired from the firm the couple moved year round into the Cottage Street house. Mrs. Clough died in July of 1995.

Mr. Clough loved the water and so taught sailing for the members of the Boys and Girls Club, and later at Sail Martha's Vineyard. He raced a wood pussy, My Sin, for many years. And while still in New Jersey gave his wife a Boston Whaler for Christmas, which was really for him, so she named it Sneaky Pete. With the availability of the Whaler to get him out to it Mr. Clough later bought a small sloop which he named Glide.

When not on the water Mr. Clough was a senior real estate appraiser on the Board of Assessors in Edgartown and on the Finance Committee of the Federated Church for many years.

He was a member of the Edgartown Yacht Club, the Edgartown Reading Room, the American Lagoon, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Pink Squid Yacht Club and the Portuguese American Club.

He will be remembered by many in his sailor's uniform marching in Edgartown's Fourth of July parade. During those years he put on weight and the uniform was let out a bit, but he wore it as late as last summer, when he rode not walked, the parade route.

Around 1989 he and Mrs. Clough got the idea of getting persons with winter privileges at the Yacht Club to bring cans of soup which were mixed together and served with French bread. This was officially named in his honor, the Fleet Captain's Gam. It is still held on Fridays in winter.

Mr. Clough loved sports, particularly the Red Sox, the Patriots, the Bruins, and the Martha's Vineyard, hockey, football, and basketball teams, which he and his good friend Donald MacRae helped to sponsor. He was generous, and was particularly interested in helping Cheers for Children in Boston.

In later years Mr. Clough took to spending time in Island bars watching sports on television and talking to other patrons. He did this so often that the chairs he sat in both at the Newes from America and the Edgartown Yacht Club have brass plaques with his name.

A service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 11 am in the Federated Church, 24 S. Summer Street, Edgartown, officiated by the Rev. John D. Schule and the Rev. Gerry Fritz.

Mr. Clough is survived by his daughter, Karen Clough Brussard; and a sister, Sally Banker; and two grandchildren, Sarah Jean and Stephen John Brussard.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to any Island charity.

"Raise a cup of peppermint schnapps to Dad."

Peter Kipp Clough's obituary was written by Edith Blake of Edgartown, a friend. It was first published on Nov. 17, in the Vineyard Gazette.

Florence M. Stacy

Florence M. Stacy, R.N., of Edgartown died on Nov. 17 at her home. She was the devoted wife of Walter H. Stacy. A private service was held. A full obituary will appear in next week's Times.