Obituaries

Posted March 8, 2007

Walter C. Woods

Walter C. Woods, beloved husband of Marion A. Woods, died on Feb. 19, in Naples, Fla. He was 83 years old. Walter was a stalwart of the Vineyard Haven community for many years, having assisted his father in the management of the original Mansion House Hotel and the founding of Woods Causeway Apartments.

Born in Worcester, his family moved several times and he graduated from Winthrop High School. Following graduation, he was employed at the Quincy Ship Yard and thereafter entered the United States Army where, during World War II, he served with distinction in the war theatres of Burma, India, and China.

After his discharge from the service in 1945, Walter moved to the Island where he worked with his father, George, who had recently purchased the Mansion House. In 1948, he married Marion A. (Lair) of Vineyard Haven.

From the experience he gleaned at the Mansion House, Walter recognized the need for apartment resort accommodations. In building a resort apartment community nestled on Causeway Road in Vineyard Haven, he offered an Island experience enjoyed by generations of visitors. Mr. Woods and his wife, Marion, operated the business year-round until their retirement in 1977.

A well-respected businessman, Walter proudly served his community on the building committee of the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, as a member of the founding group of the Bass Derby, and numerous boards, and committees throughout the town.

In 1977, he and his wife relocated to Naples, Fla., where they continued to maintain their many Island contacts. Walter is survived by Marion A. Woods, his wife of 58 years; his two sons, Walter C. Woods Jr., and Eric C. Woods; three grandchildren, Julie (Woods) Meader, Carlton Lair Woods, and Diana Woods; and three great grandchildren.

An Island memorial service is planned for the summer months. Remembrances may be directed to the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association or a charity of choice.

William O. Grunden

William "Bill" Oscar Grunden died on Feb. 27, in Sun City Center, Fla. Bill was born June 27, 1927, in Mount Vernon, N.Y., the son of Walter and Hannah Grunden. During World War II, he left high school and lied about his age to join the United States Navy. He served in the North Atlantic where he saw action many times while serving on a destroyer escort on convoy duty. He was honorably discharged as a petty officer third class.

After his Navy service he obtained his GED and attended college. While on a church retreat for young adults, he met Loretta Brown.

The two were wed April 4, 1952. Shortly after, Bill graduated from Hope College in Holland, Mich. He then attended Asbury Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and was ordained a pastor in the Methodist church in 1954. His first pulpit was in Lexington, Ky., where his first son Paul was born in October 1954.

In 1955 he returned to the northeast and served as a pastor for the next 20 years. Among the congregations he served were those in East Glastonbury and Stafford Springs, Conn., Providence, R.I., and Martha's Vineyard. He would be blessed with two more sons, David, born in 1955 exactly one year to the day after his first son, and Wesley in August of 1959.

In 1965 Bill was selected by Chrysler Corporation to test-drive their experimental turbine engine car for three months. He loved to drive and the power of a jet engine under the hood was a joy to handle.

In 1968 the family moved to Martha's Vineyard when Bill was appointed to be the pastor of both Christ United Methodist Church and Lambert's Cove United Methodist Church.

Bill loved the Island and was an avid fisherman. After retiring from the active ministry the family moved to their campground cottage on Trinity Park in Oak Bluffs. Bill continued to fill in as a preacher and served as chaplain of the Oak Bluffs Fire Department for 26 years.

He also served as an active volunteer firefighter and became a captain and fire investigator and attended the FBI arson school in Quantico, Va.

Bill was an avid card player and especially loved bridge. He was a regular at the Thursday night duplicate bridge games. In 1975 his book on strategy in the game of bridge "The Weak Two System" was published.

He and Loretta will probably be best remembered on the Vineyard as the proprietors of the Wigwam Paper Store on Circuit Avenue for many years. In the summers he could also be found driving tour buses preaching the wonders of the Island.

Loretta died in April 1991 after a long illness.

Bill later met Betty Cheever of Wimauma, Fla., and was able to once again enjoy wedded bliss. Unfortunately, Betty also predeceased him, losing her battle with cancer in October 2004.

Bill will always be remembered for his humor and his willingness to always help others.

He is survived by sons, Paul and his wife Paula, of Falmouth, David and his wife Shary and granddaughter Freya of Oak Bluffs, Wesley and his wife Frances of Cave Creek, Ariz.; and three stepchildren, James Cheever, Thomas Cheever and Joy Rogers. He is also survived by his brother Charles, and his wife Barbara of Falmouth, Maine; and many nieces and nephews.

At his request, his body is being donated for use toward medical research. A memorial service will be held on the Vineyard in August. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to your favorite charity in memory of him.

Mary W. Stoertz

Mary W. Stoertz

Mary Wilder Stoertz, 49, professor of geology at Ohio University (OU), Athens, Ohio, died on Feb. 26, of a heart attack. Her geology career began in high school when she won a glaciology internship on the Juneau Icefield, Alaska, funded by the National Science Foundation.

While an undergraduate at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle, she conducted research on Mt. St. Helens shortly after the volcano erupted. She received her bachelor of science degree in geology in 1980. An accomplished athlete, she was a member of the UW women's crew, which won numerous championships and placed second at the NCAA National Championship Regatta.

After graduation from UW, she spent the summer working in Swedish Lappland on a highway research project. She then attended the University of Wisconsin on a fellowship, where she received her master of science and Ph.D. degrees in geology, working on the flow and recharge of groundwater systems. She became a faculty member in the Department of Geological Sciences at OU in 1992 and dedicated her teaching, student mentoring, research, and service to the restoration of streams and rivers in southeast Ohio.

Mary Wilder was named for her maternal great grandmother, Mary Wilder Cleaveland Coffin. The original Mary Wilder was the brigantine barque, a vessel commanded by Captain James F. Cleaveland when he met his wife-to-be, Mary Carlin, in the Sandwich Islands, now Hawaii. Mary Wilder and her husband, Douglas Harland Green, were married in the West Tisbury Congregational Church in 1982. Like her grandmother, Dionis Coffin Riggs, she was a poet, and enjoyed the challenge of writing formal poetry. She was active in numerous community organizations including Christ Lutheran Church, the Hocking River Commission, the Sunday Creek Watershed Group, the Monday Creek Watershed Restoration Project, the Raccoon Creek Improvement Project, the Buckeye Forest Council and the Athens Youth Hockey Association.

She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Douglas Harland Green; her mother, Cynthia Riggs; and four siblings, William Swinnerton Stoertz, James Cleaveland Stoertz, Ann Coffin Stoertz Ricchiazzi, and Robert Riggs Harris-Stoertz. Her father, George E. Stoertz, predeceased her. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the organizations or scholarship fund listed on the web site www.meridianna.com/mary.

Harold F. Croft

Harold F. Croft

Harold (Herky) F. Croft, 77, of Oak Bluffs died peacefully March 2, after a brief stay at Kindred Healthcare in Stoughton.

He was born in West Falmouth on Aug. 24, 1929, the son of Charles and Anna Croft. He attended Falmouth schools and was a member of the first graduating class of Lawrence High School. He was an avid baseball player for Lawrence High School and continued a life-long love of the game.

Harold proudly served in the United States Navy from 1948 to 1952. His tour of duty took him to Italy and France.

Harold was an accomplished carpenter. He lived in East Falmouth for many years raising a family. He moved to Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard where he continued to work as a carpenter. After retiring as a carpenter, he worked for Hinckley Lumber and Hardware in Vineyard Haven.

Known to friends and family as Herky, Harold was a ham radio operator; he loved fishing, bird watching, and gardening. Harold enjoyed cooking up his wonderful homemade clam chowder and stuffed quahogs for summer gatherings. He loved life on the Island.

Harold is survived by his eight children, Jocelyn Croft of Greenfield, Harold E. Croft of Sandwich, Clifford Croft of Fitzwilliam, N.H., Patrick Croft of Falmouth, Theodore Croft of Cotuit, Gretchen Lockwood of Falmouth, Jonathan Croft of East Falmouth, Rebecca Drummey of Mashpee; former wife, Gail Croft, 15 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. His brother, Donald, predeceased him.

During his latter years, Harold lived contently at Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs where he was kindly cared for.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations in Harold's name may be made to Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, P.O. Box 1747, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

Services for Harold will take place on Saturday, March 17, at 1 pm at the West Falmouth United Methodist Church. Internment will take place at the National Cemetery in Bourne on Monday, March 19, at 10 am.

Douglas L. Blake

Douglas L. Blake

Douglas L. Blake of Falmouth, died, March 2, in the Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston. He was 49. Douglas was born in Wareham. He lived in Falmouth and Martha's Vineyard. He graduated from Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.

Doug loved cooking, sports, comedy, fishing, landscaping, stone walls, and the swap shop at the Falmouth Dump. He served in the United States Marines and was a talented chef.

Douglas is survived by his parents, Dolores Cavanaugh of Falmouth, Roger and Eileen Blake of West Tisbury; his grandmother, Maggie Beatrice Prow of Madisonville, Kentucky; his children Douglas E. Blake, Sarah E. Blake, both of East Falmouth; and Dakota L. Blake of Hyannis; his siblings, Skip Blake of North Falmouth; Karen K. Blake of Vineyard Haven; Irene Lacross of Worcester; Robert Blake of New Hampshire; Erik Blake of Oak Bluffs; and Mary Ellis of East Falmouth. He is also survived by many nieces & nephews and his companion Sheila MacDonald of Falmouth. Douglas was predeceased by his sister, Lynda Russell of Falmouth.

Visiting Hours will be from 12 noon to 3 pm on Saturday, March 10, in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, 475 Main Street, Falmouth. Services and burial are private.

Robert W. Hansen

Robert W. Hansen, 88, of West Tisbury, formally of Long Island, New York, died on Feb. 21, at his home in West Tisbury. He is survived by his children MaryLou Hansen-McCarthy and her husband Stephen McCarthy of West Tisbury, Robert W. Hansen Jr., of Scarbourough, Maine, Jean C. McLean of Bethpage, N.Y., Cathleen A. Pellicci and her husband Dominique of Napanoch, N.Y.; grandchildren including Elizabeth A. Gunn of Miami Beach, Fla., and West Tisbury, Erin K. Gunn of Boston and West Tisbury, Benjamin J. Gunn and Michael C. Gunn of West Tisbury; step-granddaughter Ashley McCarthy of Marstons Mills and Vineyard Haven, Scott Hansen and his wife Tracy of Hampton Bays, N.Y., Gregory Hansen and his wife Serena of Hampton Bays, N.Y., Kaiya and Jari Hansen of Scarbourough , Maine, Dr. Corinne Conroy and her husband Patrick of Leander, Texas, Nancy Lynch and her husband Scott of Patchogue, N.Y., Michael O'Rourke of Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y., Timothy McLean of Bethpage, N.Y., six great-grandchildren, a brother, Roscoe Hansen and his wife Catherine of Absecon, N.J.; and many nieces and nephews . He was predeceased by his wife Anna McGivney Hansen, two sisters including his twin sister, a brother, a daughter and son in-law. A full obituary will follow at a later date.

Herbert E. Tucker Jr.

Herbert E. Tucker Jr.

Herbert E. Tucker, Jr. of Oak Bluffs died on March 1, at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. He was born in Boston on Aug. 30, 1915, the fourth of six children, to Herbert Edward Tucker, Sr. and Samuel Ella Fitzgerald. He attended Boston Public Schools, graduated from Boston Latin School and went on to study law at Northeastern University, After working with the IRS, he went on to found Boston's first black law firm, Cardozo and Tucker.

Herbert married Mary Hill of Philadelphia in 1937 and was the father of two daughters, Gwendolyn and Gretchen. After the arrival of his first grandchild, he was renamed "Heebee," a name used by all who were endeared to him. The Tuckers made their home in Roxbury before moving full-time to Oak Bluffs in 1960.

On Martha's Vineyard, Heebee was just as comfortable at the "Inkwell" as he was at the East Chop Beach Club. He loved the sand and the sea. He also enjoyed playing tennis and golf and immensely enjoyed the company of his family and friends.

Never one to be idle, he served on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club in Edgartown, as a trustee of the Vineyard Open Land Foundation and a member of the Martha's Vineyard National Bank Foundation. He and his wife were also members of Grace Episcopal Church.

Herbert led a very full life and was active in many civic and political matters, which cover a broad range. While living in Boston, he was president of the Boston branch of the NAACP. During his tenure, he worked tirelessly with his dear friend, Otto Snowden, to bring equity to the children of Boston, as well as bringing the first black player to the Boston Red Sox.

Herbert was the Grand Basileus of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity for three terms, where he directed the social programs, edited the magazine, "Oracle", founded the life-membership program, and was declared their Man of the Year in 1958.

He was president of the Freedom House. In this position he partnered with Otto and Muriel Snowden to place Roxbury in the political forefront so that its residents could acquire all the benefits that the city of Boston had to offer.

Under Senator Edward Brooke, he was appointed the assistant attorney general for the State of Massachusetts. His assignment was to coordinate the financial division of this office.

After working on the successful senatorial and presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy, he was appointed by President Kennedy to be his representative, with the rank of ambassador, to the Republic of Gabon in Africa. In 1972, he became the Commissioner of Public Utilities for the State of Massachusetts.

Herbert joined the Aleppo Shriners and was master of Mt. Zion #15, Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Dorchester.

His jurist career began in 1973, when he was appointed special justice in the Dorchester District Court. He later became an associate justice in that court and in 1980 became the presiding justice in the Edgartown District Court, which he serviced until his retirement.

Heebee loved life and doted on his bride of 70 years. His presence will be missed by his beloved Mary, his daughters, Gwendolyn T. Wharton and Gretchen T. Underwood; his grandchildren, Richard G. Wharton, Jr. and Gretchen M. Mercer; his great-grandsons, Jason and Brandon Mercer and a host of nieces, nephews, family, and friends.

His memorial service will be held in the Grace Episcopal Church, William Street, Vineyard Haven on Saturday, March 10, at 1 pm officiated by the Rev. Robert Hensley and a ritual by Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.

Please, in lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made to a charity of one's choice.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.comfor online guest book and information.

Arthur I. Wortzel

Arthur Irwin Wortzel, died on Feb. 28, at the age of 87 surrounded by his wife Clarice and his family in Madison, Wis.

Shortly after graduation from college, he met his wife of 63 years, Clarice Ramer. With Clarice's encouragement, he began a rich and rewarding career as a United States diplomat serving his nation in an exemplary manner.

Arthur and Clarice settled on Martha's Vineyard, where Arthur served as board president of the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, Martha's Vineyard Community Services among many other Island organizations. They formed many deep and lasting friendships while on the Vineyard.

Speaking at the West Tisbury School in 2002, Arthur gave students an appreciation for our country's unique legacy of service. In his closing remarks he said, "We are the only country in the world that encourages volunteerism. It's never too early to volunteer."

There will be a memorial service to remember Arthur on Thursday, March 22, at 7 pm, at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center, Center Street, Vineyard Haven. All members of the Island community who knew Arthur are invited to attend.