Obituaries

Posted December 28, 2006

Marvin Joslow

Marvin Joslow, 79, of Aquinnah, died at home on Nov. 25. He was the husband of Betty B. Joslow.

Marv, in his personal life, was a devoted husband, a loving father to his daughters Laurie, Wendy, and Nancy, and his sons-in-laws Bob and Karl. He was a caring grandfather to his seven grandchildren, Joshua, Rebecca, Emily, Andrew, Brad, Cliff, and Jeremy.

Marv enrolled at Colby College and after one semester, at the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in the Medical Service until 1945, achieving the rank of Lieutenant at 19. After the war, he returned to Colby, graduating in 1948 with a B.A. in Psychology. He then enrolled in Western Reserve in Cleveland, in which he graduated in 1950 with a M.S. in Educational Administration.

He met Betty in 1949 at a folk dance group. They were married in June of 1950. Marv always said it was the luckiest thing he ever did in his life. Only one short month after their wedding, as a reservist in the U.S. Navy, he was recalled to duty to serve during the Korean War. He volunteered to train as an underwater demolition expert, a "frog-man," and was sent to Yokasuka, Japan. Transported to Inchon Harbor, Korea, by submarine, he worked with his small unit in the dangerous and risky operations of blowing up tank traps, bridges, and other underwater impediments under the noses of the North Koreans. Armed with carbine and explosives, he made forays on land, and underwater in the dark of night. His unit earned Presidential Citations. He was discharged in August 1952. He was very proud of his naval service, knowing that he had been part of a highly selective endeavor.

He and Betty renewed their life together in Columbus, Ohio, where they lived for two years before moving to Newton Highlands, where they raised their three daughters.

For many years he owned and directed the Reading Institute of Boston, a private school founded by his parents. He was also a consultant at many schools. He was a highly regarded educator and served on the board of the College Reading Association.

Marv and Betty were summer residents of Martha's Vineyard for many years. Then in 1963, they built a home in Gay Head. They took much pride, pleasure, and delight in this community. In 1996, they became year-round residents. Marv and Betty loved Gay Head, its trails and its beaches, collecting beach glass and other treasures of the deep. Marv spent a lot of time fishing at West Basin. Although he was crazy about fishing, he wasn't fond of fish, so the fish sometimes went to friends or were released.

In retirement, Marv engaged in a great number of community activities. As a proud volunteer on the Aquinnah Fire department he hardly ever missed a Sunday muster. He served as constable of the Town and Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals. A lover of books, he served as Chair of the Chilmark Friends of the Library and Treasurer of the Friends of the Aquinnah Library. He was Treasurer of the Aquinnah/Gay Head Community Association. He was Chair of the Up-Island Council on Aging for nearly ten years. He kept abreast of ongoing community affairs, dutifully attending meetings and actively participating. In all of these activities he was always well prepared, principled, and even-handed.

Upon learning he had cancer, Marv and Betty dealt with this new challenge forthrightly, determined to carry on their lives as normally as possible. He made his plans realistically with the recognition of the limitations of his conditions. We all must pay tribute to his courage and fortitude during his treatment in living his life as fully as he could for the three years following his diagnosis. He received enormous support and understanding from Betty, his children, and many friends. His positive attitude made it such that his friends and loved ones could speak frankly and directly with him. Marv was a brave and admirable man and Betty has been a caring, devoted, and helpful partner. This was a couple that lived life on equal terms.

Marv was a man who enjoyed living. He loved fishing, he could play banjo for hours, and he was a devotee of flea markets, dump picking, decoys, coins, Americana, and paintings.

He was curious about geography and took several exotic trips, even one to Fiji and New Zealand with his daughter, Laurie. Marv loved life. He loved visits from his children, grandchildren, and friends, taking them wherever he went when they visited. He especially enjoyed playing poker games with his grandson, Cliff, the neighbors, and home games with all of his grandchildren.

He enjoyed jokes and the English Language, being a perfectionist about grammar, punctuation, spelling, and pronunciation. He loved word games and a clever double entendre.

It is not often that you meet a man such as Marv, who played such a meaningful role to his family, to his friends, his community, and his country. We shall miss him and treasure his memory. May he rest in peace.

Rubin L. Smith

After complications arising from congestive heart failure, Rubin L. Smith, 86, died on November 25, at Danbury Hospital. A Vineyard Haven summer resident, Mr. Smith resided in Danbury, Conn. with his wife, Island native Shirley Cronig Smith, daughter of Mae and Henry Cronig.

Mr. Smith, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., was a businessman with a distinguished career. He and his first wife, the late Sally Smith, founded the New York-based company Drummers, responsible for creating the "Pet Rock" craze. Among their many other projects their efforts in advertising, marketing, and distribution helped make "The Preppie Handbook" as popular as it became, especially in the Northeast.

A Brooklyn College graduate with a degree in economics, Mr. Smith did graduate studies in business and economics at the University of North Carolina.

He served in the Army during World War II, participating in the invasion of Okinawa. Trained in languages, he went on to serve in military government, acting as adviser to the nascent Korean government.

Everyone was welcomed in the Island home he and his wife Shirley shared, and it was often filled with friends, family and Island visitors. He was supportive of Island charities and causes. Known on the Island as "Rube," he became a summertime fixture, spending mornings reading the New York papers as he sat on the deck of the Cronig family compound overlooking Vineyard Haven harbor.

Mr. Smith was a member of Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center and The United Jewish Center in Danbury, Conn. He is survived by his wife, Shirley, her children in California, Connecticut, and Naples, Italy, along with grandchildren and, in Maryland, Arizona and New Jersey, and his nephews and nieces. A summer memorial service on the Vineyard will be planned in his honor.

Varnum Russell Mead

Varnum Russell Mead, retired owner of H. A. Hovey Co. of Boston and Cambridge, died Dec. 18 after suffering a fall near his home on Martha's Vineyard.

Born in Somerville on the Fourth of July, 1920, and raised in Belmont, Mr. Mead was an ardent patriot throughout his life. After early graduation from Dartmouth College, he enlisted in the Army Air Force in September 1942. He received basic training in Boca Raton, Florida, and attended the AAF Technical School at Yale University before going overseas in Dec. 1943. He served with the Headquarters of the 8th Air Force Service Command and the Headquarters of Air Service Command USSTAF from V-E Day until late 1945. He was attached to the 9th Air Force Service Command helping to disarm the German Luftwaffe, and doing administrative work on surplus property disposal for the same command. He received decorations from the American and European theaters, the Army of Occupation, including the Victory Medal, and a campaign star for Central Germany. He later served in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, retiring as a full Colonel in 1980.

Following World War II, Mr. Mead went into business with his late father, Francis V. Mead, at H.A. Hovey Co. located next door to Durgin Park in the Quincy Market. When urban redevelopment came to Boston, H.A. Hovey Co. relocated to North Cambridge under the familiar Cains Mayonaise sign visible from the Charles. Mr. Mead sold his business and retired in 1984.

A resident of Lincoln for 40 years, Mr. Mead was a member of the Lincoln Players in the 1960s, Concord Country Club, and became active in the Lincoln Company of Minutemen at the time of the Bicentennial, an interest inspired by his direct descent from Captain Isaac Davis, the first Minuteman killed at the Battle of the Old North Bridge. In 1975, he marched in the parade honoring Queen Elizabeth II, and in the inaugural parade of President Clinton in 1993 in Washington, D.C., and marched annually in the Concord Patriots' Day parade. His final march was in April 2000, three months before his 80th birthday.

Mr. Mead and his wife Janice moved to Oak Bluffs in 1990. A lifelong summer resident of Oak Bluffs, he finally realized his dream to live on Lagoon Pond year-round. He served on several Oak Bluffs town committees, and on the Board of the Martha's Vineyard Historic Preservation Trust, and was active with the Lagoon Pond Association. As a sports fan, he was a member of the Boston Braves Knot-hole Gang, enjoyed season tickets to the Boston Bruins, followed Dartmouth football and hockey, supported his children and grandchildren as they took to the ring, the rink, the sea, or the field, and attended many Martha's Vineyard Regional High School athletic events. A member of the East Chop Tennis Club and Farm Neck Golf Club, Mr. Mead enjoyed an occasional game of tennis, and a round of golf once or twice each week.

Mr. Mead was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Janice Harlow (Brett) Mead; his daughter Dorothy B. Pitt, her husband Christopher, and their children, Louisa, Philip, and Martha of Milton; his daughter Susan R. Mead and her friend, Michael Perry of Oak Bluffs; sister-in-law, Helen Thacher of Marion; niece, Joan Tiffany of Boston; nephews Geoffrey Patterson of Edgartown, Brett Thacher of Canton, N.Y., and Christopher Patterson of Newton. He was the brother of the late Priscilla E. Mead formerly of Belmont.

A Memorial Service was scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 27 at Federated Church, South Summer St., Edgartown, at 11 am.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in Varnum's name to: MV Preservation Trust, PO Box 5277, Edgartown, MA 02539; Milton Academy Annual Fund, 170 Centre Street, Milton, MA 02186; or MV Arena, Inc. PO Box 2062, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Esther P. Pinkham

Esther P. Pinkham

Mrs. Esther P. Pinkham of 320 Daggett Avenue Extension, Vineyard Haven, died at Windemere on December 22, four months into her 98th year. She was born on August 18, 1909, and lived her whole life on Martha's Vineyard.

As a member of the Daggett family while growing up, Esther was a first-hand witness to the enormous change of Martha's Vineyard from a small-town trading Island to a highly desired summer destination. Her father, Capt. Silas Daggett, was an important figure to the Island, especially so in chartering the East Chop lighthouse.

Esther and her husband, Wallace Pinkham, former superintendent of the Tisbury Water Works, were married for many years and had one son, Wallace S. Pinkham, Jr. They both predeceased her.

As a wife and mother of many years, Esther was a careful note taker and bookkeeper. She was schooled on the Island and went to Charlesgate Nursing School on Memorial Boulevard in Cambridge. She returned to the Island and worked for the Town of Tisbury as a nurse and also did some private nursing duties. Esther was also active in the Red Cross.

She is survived by two grandchildren, Glenn Pinkham and Lori Pinkham, and by her great-grandchildren, Desmond, Silas, Riley, and Zander. Esther's Daggett family relatives from the Vineyard who survive her include three nieces and a nephew, Winifred Kittila of Nantucket, Dorothy Coggins of Virginia, Esther Cummens of Florida, and Thomas J. Rabbitt, Jr., of Vineyard Haven, and their many descendants. She is also survived by her daughter-in-law, Cheryl Pinkham, and nieces, Joan Foote of Tennessee and Jayne Stanek of Vineyard Haven, and many cousins. Esther was also very close to her now-deceased sister, Bernice Daggett Rabbitt, whom Esther visited every day for many years.

As a part of the heritage of Martha's Vineyard over the last hundred years, Esther was a quiet but keen observer of the growing importance of the Island's resources. Being involved through her husband with the important source of fresh water for the town, Esther held an up-to-date understanding of the needs of year-round and summer residents as well as the growing trade and hospitality concerns.

As with many of her age and time, the concept of a lifetime work ethic was bedrock of her view of life. In acquiring an understanding of her father's business ventures and her husband's dedication to a job essential to a town's primary resource, Esther maintained a practical view of life's requirements and duties. Even recently at Windemere, the staff was appreciative of her awareness of the many activities going on around her and her astuteness in her view of life's remembrances.

As remembered by her relatives, Esther was a wonderful cook, known for making hearty New England homemade dishes such as grape-nut custard, brown bread, and snow puddings, as well as many fresh native fish recipes. She was outdoors often around her house at the water-works by Lake Tashmoo as a nature-lover who appreciated her natural scenic surroundings, the weather, and the many birds and other animals which frequent the area.

Her relatives and friends mourn her passing, and all concerned understand another representative of the legacy of Martha's Vineyard is gone.

A graveside service was held on Tuesday, Dec. 26, in the Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven. Contributions in Esther's memory may be made to Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Linton Lane, PO Box 1747, Oak Bluffs. Arrangements were by Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.