Obituaries

Posted May 3, 2007

David A. Cuch

David A. Cuch

David Arapene Cuch, son of Carla Giles Cuch and Forest Cuch, brother of Cameron Cuch, uncle to Jay Ryder Cuch, cousin and friend to so many, died unexpectedly on March 21. He was preceded in death by grandfathers, Jason Cuch and Jose Giles, and grandmothers, Josephine La Rose Cuch and Bertha Vanderhoop Giles Robinson.

David was born May 26, 1978, on the Uintah Ouray Reservation in northeastern Utah. David was proud of his Wampanoag and Northern Ute heritage. David attended Martha's Vineyard elementary schools, and Wasatch Academy, a boarding school in Utah.

He earned a bachelor's degree in economics from Westminster College in Utah and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Utah. David was the first Ute Indian to attend the University of Utah's law school - he would have graduated this May. The S.J. Quinney College of Law will award him an honorary diploma at commencement. David had hoped to protect his people from legal intrusions he believed threaten the sovereignty and personal rights of American Indians. Most recently David worked for the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association and Salt Lake Legal Issues.

David was very proud of his participation in the opening ceremony as a Fancy Dancer and Native American Village Director at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. During his summers at home in Aquinnah, David was active in the Wampanoag Youth Group and served as a counselor for the town of Aquinnah summer camp. He looked forward each summer to participating in the annual Wampanoag pageant, the Legends of Moshup. He also had worked summers as an historical and cultural interpreter for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head/Aquinnah.

The University of Utah's S.J. Quinney College of Law has established the David Cuch Scholarship which will be awarded to Native students. Contributions in David's memory and honor may be made to the David Cuch Scholarship c/o S.J. Quinney College of Law, Development Office, 332 South 1400 East Room, 101, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112.

June Ditchfield

June Ditchfield

June Ditchfield, 56, died April 19 at home in Edgartown, surrounded by her family. June moved to the United States from England in 1965 at age 15. It was the beginning of the Vietnam War and despite entreaties from her parents, Belle and Gordon, not to participate in demonstrations she soon found herself publicly cursing the criminals that kept us in that mess. June had a big heart, an open mind, and a wickedly dry sense of humor, and often used to say, "People think I'm nice, but I'm not." Soon after June left her first husband, she met Christopher Mara, the love of her life, and they were married in 2004. Together, they set about raising Raven May, who was 16 months old when she came to them. June loved her new life. She loved being a parent with a kind, considerate partner. Sadly, cancer was her unknown companion even before she left her first husband. Nevertheless, she refused to let this illness define her life and always focused on the positive. She fought a rare form of pancreatic cancer for many years, defeating all the odds with the loving support of Dr. Susan Schumer at Beth Israel and in the last months, Laura Murphy and others at the Vineyard Nursing Association.

June attended the Art Students' League in New York City in the late '60s. She used this experience when she began working at Howell's Studio in Tisbury where she learned the art of picture framing. Eventually she opened her own business, Earth's Edge Framing. She specialized in complex jobs that others were reluctant to take on, such as framing Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith's jersey; she also framed works by Picasso and Thomas Hart Benton. Many artists trusted her vision as she took great pride in her ability to provide advice on the mat and frame. June had the gift of helping people frame their essence.

June was a big sports fan. She supported the Washington Redskins, the Boston Red Sox and, to the befuddlement of her family, she enjoyed watching NASCAR. Between NASCAR races she served on the board of the Chamber Music Society.

June moved to the Island 35 years ago and loved living here. She loved the beauty of the Vineyard and the Vineyard community. In 1998 she became a naturalized United States citizen.

Survivors include her children, Meghan and Devin McCormack, and Raven May; husband, Christopher Mara; brother, Michael Ditchfield; sister-in-law, Lynn Ditchfield; niece and nephew, Mara Ditchfield and Brian and Brooke Ditchfield, almost nephew, Jonathan Green and mother, Isabella Clarke. Her father, Gordon Ditchfield, predeceased her.

Her family would be honored to have friends and members of the community join in a celebration of June's life, which will be held Wednesday, June 6, her birthday, at 6.30 pm, at the Old Whaling Church, Main Street, Edgartown.

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to the Martha's Vineyard Cancer Support Group, P.O. Box 2214, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; or the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.

Polly Hill

Polly Hill

Polly Hill, 100, founder of The Polly Hill Arboretum on West Tisbury, died April 25 at Cokesbury Village, her home in Hockessin, Del. Internationally known for her work in horticulture, Mrs. Hill began raising trees and shrubs from seed when she was in her early 50s, and lived to see the fields of her family's summer home, a former sheep farm, grow into a mature collection of woody plants famous as a beautiful pleasure garden and important for research and education.

Polly Hill was born Mary Louisa Butcher on Jan. 30, 1907, the daughter of Howard Butcher Jr., and Margaret Keen Butcher of Ardmore, Pa., near Philadelphia.

Known as Polly from childhood, she attended a remarkable school, the Phoebe Anna Thorne Open-Air School for Girls of Bryn Mawr College, where classrooms had roofs but no walls. In winter, girls bundled up with mittens and sleeping bags, and teachers removed a glove when they wrote on the blackboard. She later graduated from Agnes Irwin School and Vassar College, where she majored in music and briefly considered becoming a composer. She worked for a year in Tokyo, Japan, teaching English and field hockey at a girls' college. While in Japan, she studied traditional flower arrangement, and on her return gave lecture-demonstrations dressed in a kimono and published a small book on the art.

In 1931, a friend introduced her to Dr. Julian Hill because they had both lived in Japan. Dr. Hill was an organic chemist, one of the team that discovered nylon in the DuPont experimental laboratory; his sojourn in Japan had been as a child when his father was buying railroad ties on behalf of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. Julian Hill became Polly's husband in 1932. They settled in Wilmington, Del., the headquarters of the DuPont Co., and raised a daughter and two sons.

During the years her children were growing up, Polly Hill devoted considerable energy to gardening, both for her own home and during World War II at a "victory garden," where she grew vegetables on public ground a mile away. She commuted by bicycle with a wooden box fastened over the rear wheel carrying her youngest child. After the war, she studied botany and horticulture at the University of Delaware and at Longwood, a great public garden near Wilmington. When Mrs. Hill and her husband became the owners of Barnard's Inn Farm on Martha's Vineyard, she was ready to develop the 20 acres of fields into a fine garden specializing in trees and shrubs.

Mrs. Hill obtained seeds from many sources, including a collector in Japan. With few exceptions, she grew them in her small "nursery" outdoors with no attention during the cold season. Seedlings that survived and prospered passed the first test as plants suitable for Martha's Vineyard. She studied her trees and shrubs closely for desirable characteristics and selected the best, many of which she formally introduced to the horticultural world. When her young trees and shrubs were large enough they were given permanent homes in the former sheep meadows, arranged among stonewalls and wooden buildings, some dating from the 17th century. Partially shaded by the native oak forest is her "Playpen," a planting the length of a football field surrounded by a deer fence 10 feet tall. This exceptional garden contains Polly Hill's signature North Tisbury azaleas, many grown from Japanese seeds.

Mrs. Hill became known for her experimental approach and for her detailed record keeping that accounted for every seed she grew from 1957 onward. While studying at Longwood Gardens, she herself had been on the committee that developed standards for record keeping in botanic gardens throughout the country. She maintained a complete "dead file" as well as a history of her successes. She was able to grow many plants, such as camellias that, prior to her work, were considered unable to survive outdoors in New England. In this, she was helped by the genetic variability of seedlings and by the influence of the Gulf Stream, which moderates the climate of Martha's Vineyard. Polly Hill was also known for her spacious sense of time: one of her rare plants, a rhododendron grown from wild seed gathered on the Delmarva Peninsula, was nurtured for 29 years before producing flowers.

Doing much of the physical work herself, Mrs. Hill was practical about the demands of maintenance. Her motto for watering newly set out plants: "Every day for a week, every week for a month, and every month for a year. Then they're on their own." Her approach to garden maintenance and her experiences developing her arboretum were detailed in articles published in horticultural journals over a period of several decades.

In 1997, when Polly Hill was 90 years old, her garden contained about 1,700 different kinds of woody plants. At the initiative of Dr. David Smith, a medical researcher and philanthropist specializing in conservation, the property was renamed The Polly Hill Arboretum and reorganized as a nonprofit with professional staff and expanding efforts in research and education. Mrs. Hill continued living in the "Cowbarn," acted as hostess for arboretum events, and maintained daily records of blooming and fruiting plants until old age compelled her retirement at 97.

In 1921, a fortune-teller told the 14-year-old Polly that she would live to be 99 and a quarter. Perhaps this is why she did not hesitate to begin growing trees from seed when she was past 50, a project some of her friends deemed "crazy" at the time.

Polly Hill is survived by her daughter, Louisa Spottswood Coughlin of Philadelphia; her sons, Joseph J. Hill of Radnor, Pa., and Jefferson B. Hill of Washington, D.C.; two grandsons, three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren; her brother, Keen Butcher of Philadelphia; and many descendants of her other brother and three sisters, who predeceased her. Her husband, Julian, died in 1996.

A memorial celebration of her remarkable life will be held at Cokesbury Village, 726 Loveville Road, Hockessin, Del., on Saturday, May 5, at 10 am, and one is planned on Martha's Vineyard in the summer.

In lieu of lowers, donations may be made to The Polly Hill Arboretum Endowment, P.O. Box 561, West Tisbury, MA 02575.

Florence M. Pacl

Florence M. Pacl

Florence M. "Tilda" (Fritzsche) Pacl, of West Tisbury, formerly of Belmont, died Saturday, April 28, in Carlisle. She was the beloved wife of Robert A. Pacl.

Born in Chicago, Illinois on February 4, 1915 she was the only child of Hugo M. and Florence (Meacher) Fritzsche. She attended Chicago schools and Northwestern University in Chicago.

During World War II, she served as a manager in the civilian division of the United States Navy. She was married in 1949 to Robert A. Pacl in a Lutheran church in Chicago.

For many years prior to her retirement, Florence worked as a church secretary at the Plymouth Congregational Church and the Powers Music School, both in Belmont.

She was a long-time resident of Belmont, prior to moving to West Tisbury for their retirement years. She was active in Girl Scouts as a leader and camp counselor at Cedar Hill in Waltham. She volunteered as a counselor for Contact's Support Hotline.

Mrs. Pacl was a member of First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, was a volunteer at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital and during her leisure time enjoyed playing bridge at a Martha's Vineyard senior center.

In addition to her husband, Robert, survivors include one son, Robert M. Pacl of Harvard; three daughters, Barbara L. Bjornson of Carlisle, Valerie G. Leri of Mashpee, and Dianne M. Pacl of Orange, Conn.; and 11 grandchildren. She was also the grandmother Jack Pacl, who predeceased her.

A memorial service was held May 3 in the Trinitarian Congregational Church in Concord.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to Multiple Sclerosis Society, Central New England Chapter, 101 A First Avenue, Suite 6, Waltham, MA 02451-1115.

Arrangements are under the care of the Dee Funeral Home of Concord. For directions or online guest book, please visit www.deefuneralhome.com.

John L. Saltonstall, Jr.

John L. Saltonstall, Jr. of Westport Point, formerly a prominent Boston lawyer, civil libertarian, and former member of the Boston City Council, died on April 25 at Charlton Hospital in Fall River after a long illness. He was 91.

Mr. Saltonstall was born in 1916 in Beverly. He graduated from Harvard College in 1938 and Yale Law School in 1941. He volunteered three times for military service during World War II, but he failed the physical exam on each try. Instead he served his country as a member of the War Labor Board, which resolved disputes between workers and management in critical industries where strikes had been outlawed for the duration of the conflict.

After the war, Mr. Saltonstall worked briefly for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York City, and then returned to Massachusetts and joined the now-defunct Boston law firm of Hill & Barlow, where he was a litigation partner for more than 30 years. During the 1950s, Mr. Saltonstall made a reputation as a defender of freedom of speech by successfully representing communists who had been arrested for distributing political pamphlets on Boston Common, as well as Leon J. Kamin, a Harvard professor charged with contempt of Congress for refusing to identify fellow communist party members during the Army-McCarthy hearings.

Mr. Saltonstall's legal work also preserved Mount Greylock in Berkshire County from commercial development as a ski area. His 1966 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court case, Gould v. Greylock Reservation Commission, is a landmark in environmental law that stands for the proposition that state-owned lands are a public trust that cannot be turned over willy-nilly to private developers.

In 1967, Mr. Saltonstall traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, at considerable personal risk to represent an African-American farmer in a slander case. The farmer had called a local official an Uncle Tom for bowing to segregation in the schools there, and in retaliation, a local Court had seized the farmer's property. Mr. Saltonstall somehow managed to persuade the Mississippi Supreme Court to reverse the judgment on free speech grounds and return the farm to its rightful owner.

Mr. Saltonstall served two terms on the Boston City Council, from 1968-72. He ran unsuccessfully for Mayor against Kevin White and others in 1971. He was the Democratic nominee for Congress in 1958 in a district comprised of Brookline, Newton, and parts of Boston, but lost narrowly to the Republican incumbent, Laurence Curtis.

During the 1960s and 70s, Mr. Saltonstall maintained a law office in Edgartown. He had summer homes in Chilmark and later in West Tisbury. He was Town Counsel for Gay Head, and was in that capacity instrumental in acquiring Philbin Beach for the town. After retiring from Hill & Barlow, Mr. Saltonstall taught at the McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, Calif., and later served as a volunteer staff attorney for Legal Services of Cape Cod & the Islands in Hyannis.

Mr. Saltonstall leaves three children, Stephen, a lawyer, of Sandgate, Vermont, Sarah, a Registered Nurse, of Aquinnah, and Thomas, a human resources executive, of Dennis; two sisters, Jean Hausserman of Cambridge, and Anne, of Plymouth, New Hampshire; a brother, David, of New York City; two grandchildren, Mary Damema Zoss of Lyons, Colo., and Milo D'Antonio of West Tisbury; three great-grandchildren, Marissa, Lucas and Lazlo D'Antonio of West Tisbury; and his companion of many years, Yvonne Barr of Westport Point. Two marriages, to Margaret Bonnell Saltonstall, now deceased, and Adriana Gianturco of Sacramento, Calif., ended in divorce.

A memorial service for Mr. Saltonstall will be held on May 5 at 10:30 am at King's Chapel on Tremont Street in Boston.

Elizabeth D. Puwal

Elizabeth D. Puwal

Elizabeth D. "Betty" Puwal of Edgartown died April 26, at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston with her husband, Anthony "Tony" Puwal, at her side.

Betty was born in Oak Bluffs on April 11, 1924, the only child of Royal Daggett and Mary Norton. She was educated on the Island and graduated from the Tisbury High School.

After graduation she went to Boston and worked in a bank. After a period of time she left the bank and was employed by AT&T, known as "Ma Bell." In 1946 there was an opening in the Vineyard Haven office for a lineman's clerk. She accepted the position and returned to the Vineyard in the late summer of 1946. That was when she met her husband, Anthony Puwal. They were married on September 6, 1947, in the Federated Church in Edgartown. From then on it was their choice for a house of worship. In 1952 they became members of the Baptist side of the Federated Church.

Betty was an active member of the church and was involved in church affairs until she was no longer able to do so because of health problems. She was a dedicated worker and also a member of the Telephone Pioneers. One of her joys was being a member of the Antiques Club. She always looked forward to those meetings. She was always eager to give a helping hand when needed.

She is survived by her husband, Anthony Puwal; a sister-in-law, Mary Puwal; nieces and nephews, Donald and Mary Gazaille, Ms. David Gazaille, Robert and Yvonne Burnham, Alfred and Madelaine Perry, William Gazaille, Edward and June Puwal, James and Stephanie Puwal, many great nieces and nephews, and several great, great nieces and nephews.

Her memorial service will be held on Friday, June 8, at 10 am, in the Federated Church, N. Summer Street, Edgartown. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Martha's Vineyard Hospital Building Fund, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557; the American Red Cross, Martha's Vineyard chapter, P.O. Box 1116, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; the Federated Church, P.O. Box 249, Edgartown, MA 02359; or to the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.

Donald J. Maguire

Donald J. Maguire died on April 30, at his home in Edgartown. He was the widower of Hazel Ruth (Mello) Maguire and father of Charlie (Mary) Maguire, of Minneapolis, Minn., and Beverly (Brian) Hughes Brady of Buffalo, N.Y. His funeral mass will be held on Saturday, May 5, at 10 am in St. Elizabeth's Church, Main Street, Edgartown with burial following in Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven.

Visiting hours in the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs on Friday, May 4, from 2 to 4 pm and 7 to 9 pm. Donations may be made in his memory to the American Diabetes Association Memorial and Honors Program, P.O. Box 1132, Fairfax, VA 22038. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information. A full obituary will appear in a future edition.