Posted March 29, 2007

J. Spencer Peckham

J. Spencer Peckham of Latham, N.Y., died quietly at his home on March 19. Spencer was the twin brother of Douglas Peckham Sr. of Oak Bluffs, and he and his family had visited the Island many times over the years. He will be profoundly missed, not only by his own family and many friends, but also by his brother and his brother's family.

Ehrick G. Rossiter

Ehrick G. Rossiter

Ehrick Gordon Rossiter, also known as Rusty, died at his daughter's home March 18, of natural causes. He was 91.

He was born in Pikesville, Md., but moved to White Plains, N.Y., where he spent his youth. He was an avid sports enthusiast, so much so that he was known to ride his bike the great distance to Yankee Stadium to watch Babe Ruth play ball. He went on to graduate from Lafayette College with a degree in business. He captained both the basketball and baseball teams while there. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals out of college, he chose instead to pursue a career in business. He went to work for the Aetna Insurance Co. in Philadelphia, Pa. This was interrupted by World War ll.

He was commissioned as an officer, stationed in London as part of the Naval Communications staff. He was privileged to decode and carry messages to Prime Minister Winston Churchill from President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The war ended and Rusty returned to the States. He landed in Baltimore working for the Aetna once again. It was there that he met and married Elizabeth Bartholow, his wife for 54 years. They didn't stay in Maryland long. In 1953 the family moved to Summit N.J., with their two daughters, Patti and Polly. They remained in Summit for 22 years while Rusty commuted to New York City to work as a vice president for Alexander and Alexander Insurance Co. He enjoyed his life in Summit, making many lifelong friends. He spent much of his free time on the golf course at Canoe Brook Country Club. He was club champion three times and served a term as club president.

Retirement found Rusty and his wife, Betty, dividing their time between Hilton Head Island and Martha's Vineyard. He was at home in both of these locales, but he especially loved the Vineyard as he had been summering here since 1956. He enjoyed all that the Vineyard had to offer: the Edgartown golf course, the Edgartown Yacht Club, and his wide circle of friends.

In 1996 the Rossiters returned to Maryland's eastern shore. They lived in Easton, Md., at the Londonderry Retirement Community. Last August Rusty moved to Severna Park, Md.

He was predeceased by his wife, Betty. He is survived by his children, Patti Ravenscroft of Washington, D.C., and Polly White of Severna Park, Md. He also leaves a sister, Elizabeth Grant of Stuart Fla. His sons-in-law and five grandchildren will also miss him greatly as he was a truly gracious gentleman with a wonderful sense of humor even in the most difficult of times.

A celebration of life ceremony will be held this summer on Martha's Vineyard. Any memorial contributions may be made on his behalf to The Jack Spear Fund, which benefits youth golf on Martha's Vineyard. Contributions may be sent to The Jack Spear Fund, c/o Edgartown Yacht Club, P.O. Box 205, Edgartown, MA 02539

Kenneth J. Smith

The Rev. Kenneth J. Smith died on March 21 at his home in Penney Farms, Fla., where he lived following his retirement from the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha's Vineyard. He was predeceased by his wife, Ruth Leuning Smith. A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times.

Ione F. Rich

Ione F. Rich of Vineyard Haven died at Martha's Vineyard Hospital on March 25. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial donations in Mrs. Rich's name may be made to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 A full obituary will appear in a future edition of The Times. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.

Janet J. Drummond

Janet Johnston Drummond was born on Jan. 5, 1907 and died Feb. 20, at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, after her 100th birthday. According to her friends, Ms. Drummond was happy to have reached her 100th year.

Dennis W. Sylvia

Dennis Wayne Sylvia of Vineyard Haven died on March 26, surrounded by his family and dearest friends. Dennis was born on July 7, 1952 in Oak Bluffs to Adelbert and Gloria (King) Sylvia. He was a graduate of Martha's Vineyard Regional High. After high school he went into business with his father, becoming a master plumber. Dennis always gave to his community. He was a member of the Edgartown Rescue Squad, an EMT and a member of both the Edgartown and the Tisbury Fire Departments. His love of shooting sports and hunting led him to become a member of the Martha's Vineyard Rod & Gun Club. He enjoyed his adventures with Byron, Russell and crew on their yearly trips to New England Dragway. He enjoyed his gourmet pursuits, and had an unbounded love of his dogs and his cardinals. Teaching his grandchildren fishing and clamming and giving love, joy and his heart to his babies always came first.

Besides his loving parents Dennis is also survived by his brother Gary; his children Naylee, Marjane, Bethany, Jon, Sarah, and Anna; his beloved grandchildren, Steven, Christian, Emma, Ilanna, Elijah, and Lilly and the promise of two new lives on the way; one nephew Gary Jr.; and a great nephew Noah Sylvia; his godmother and aunt, Maryann Alwardt; his aunt Shirley Pachico; his dearest friend Bryon Devine; and his devoted partner Roberta.

A private memorial service is being held and a public graveside service will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery, Tisbury at a later date. Memorial donations in Dennis's name may be made to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, P.O. Box 1000, Dept 300, Memphis, TN 38148-0552. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral, Oak Bluffs. Visit for an online register book and more information.

Bernice Benway

Bernice Benway

Bernice (Tilton) Benway died peacefully, surrounded by family, at Martha's Vineyard Hospital on March 25, after a brief illness. Bernice was born in Tisbury March 29, 1920. She was the daughter of Emma (Potter) Tilton and Captain Thomas Tilton. Bernice worked for many years as a bookkeeper for various businesses, and for many years at the ArtCliff Diner in Vineyard Haven. She will be remembered as a loving caregiver to many family members, both young and old. Survivors include daughters Susan Jenkinson of Oak Bluffs, Linda Benway of Falmouth; sons Bret Benway and wife Patricia of Tisbury and Leslie Benway and wife Mary of Brewer, Maine; sisters Alma Lowe and husband Lee of Brooksville, Fla., and Dot Howard of Carver. Bernice's family also includes many nieces and nephews; ten grandchildren; nine great grandchildren; and four great great grandchildren. She was predeceased by a sister, Mildred (Tilton) Huntington; brothers Todd Tilton and Leslie Tilton; and step-brother Thomas Desrosier; and former husband Harold Benway. Bernice enjoyed knitting garments and blankets for gifts, solving crossword puzzles, and she was a devoted Red Sox fan.

Arrangements for services to be determined at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.

Lawrence C. Kehoe

Lawrence C. Kehoe, 84, of Oak Bluffs died on March 25 at his home. He was the devoted husband of Elizabeth Kehoe. His funeral service will be held on Friday, March 30, at 3 pm, in the Federated Church, South Summer Street, Edgartown. Visiting hours will be in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs on Thursday, March 29, 6 to 8 pm. Burial will be held in the Holy Cross Cemetery, Mays Landing, N.J., on Monday, April 2, 2 pm.

In lieu of flowers donations in Larry's memory may be made to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or the Steeple Fund at the Federated Church, P.O. Box 249, Edgartown, MA 02539. Visit for online guest book and information. A full obituary will follow in a later edition of The Times.