Obituaries

Posted June 7, 2007

James E. McCabe

James E. McCabe

James Edward McCabe, 90, of Palm City, Fla., died on May 25, at Treasure Coast Hospice in Stuart, Fla., following a lengthy illness.

His career spanned broad experience in government, business and education. A 1939 graduate of Wesleyan University, Middletown, Conn., he was captain of the baseball team, winner of the Bacon Trophy in football, elected to Phi Beta Kappa and secretary of his class. He went on to earn a master's degree from the Maxwell School of Government, Syracuse University, in 1941. He also met a pretty coed studying art at Syracuse, named Elisabeth Rhoades, whom he would marry in 1943. She had spent every summer on Martha's Vineyard since the age of 10, and he would quickly see the sense in that.

During World War II, they went to Washington, D.C., and he served in the Defense Housing Agency and the War Production Board.

Then, in 1945, he joined Merck & Company pharmaceutical firm, and lived primarily in Short Hills, N.J., with summers on Martha's Vineyard. In his 26 years at Merck, the number of McCabes swelled to five, with the addition of Jean, Douglas, and Bruce, and his career led him to be secretary of the company and director of research and development, then early retirement.

A 15-year tenure as a trustee of Wesleyan had turned his interests more to higher education, than business. In 1970, Mr. McCabe became vice president and treasurer of Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and also led the search committee for a new president of his alma mater, Wesleyan University.

Mr. McCabe became instrumental in the installation of the 35-year-old Colin Campbell, as president of Wesleyan. The placement of a young man, coming from the American Stock Exchange, to be vice president, then president of Wesleyan, may have seemed like a risk to some, but the combination led the school into a new era of prosperity.

Despite Mr. McCabe's active role in the Wesleyan restructuring, for which the University's Alumni Association honored him as a Distinguished Wesleyan Alumnus, in 1974, he was still both active and effective in his new position in Saratoga Springs.

Working with his close friend, colleague, and Skidmore president, Joseph C. Palamountain, Mr. McCabe conceived the moving of the college's campus. He oversaw the sale of the original Skidmore campus and the acquisition of the far more rural, spacious and even beautiful setting for the formerly all-women's college, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

That busy decade warranted Mr. McCabe's rare combination of quiet wisdom and solid judgment. He also led the search committee to fill the president's chair at Skidmore, in the wake of the late Dr. Joseph C. Palamountain. Mr. McCabe's choice, and that of Skidmore, was Dr. David Porter, coming from Carleton College in Minnesota.

Mr. McCabe was further honored by Skidmore College in 1991, when he received an honorary Doctor of Laws. By the mid-1990s his life was centered more on Florida and Saratoga Springs, with only visits to Martha's Vineyard. Then, in his mid-80s, it became only visits to the Vineyard and Saratoga, with his life increasingly centered in Palm City, Fla.

He had a life-long interest in real estate, and in later years maintained a real estate license in both Florida and New York. Along the way, he and his family logged more than 30 moves, a good half-dozen of which were on the Vineyard. He had been known to refer to this aspect of his life as: "a moving experience."

Mr. McCabe was a member of the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club and a member of the Evergreen Golf Club of Palm City.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Elisabeth Rhoades McCabe, of Palm City, Fla.; a daughter, Jean (John A.) Ellis of Stuart, Fla., and Oak Bluffs; two sons, Douglas R. McCabe of Saratoga Springs, Fla., and Bruce C. (Jannifer) McCabe of Bountiful, Utah; a sister, Rita A. McCabe and a brother, Joseph H., both of West Hartford, Conn.; six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that Mr. McCabe be remembered with donations to the Wesleyan University Scholarship Fund and or Church of the Advent, in Palm City, where Mr. and Mrs. McCabe were founding parishioners.

Arlene J. Colter

Arlene J. Colter

Arlene was born in Lowell on Sept. 9, 1924. She died on May 29. She was the daughter of John H. and Alice S. Johnson. She attended Lowell High School and Salem State College where she was know affectionately as "Johnny." After her graduation in 1945 she taught business subjects in Billerica. She moved to Martha's Vineyard in 1946 when an offer went out for three business teachers on the Island. She taught at both the Edgartown High School and the Tisbury High School. When the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School opened in 1959 there were only two positions for business teachers and there were three teachers, so she chose to take the position of administrative assistant, working for both the principal Charles Davis and the superintendent Charles Downs. It was supposed to be temporary until a third teacher was needed but she loved the job and remained in it until her retirement in 1979.

Arlene was given a room at the Great Harbour Inn (now the Kelley House) when she moved to the Vineyard. It was during that first winter here that she met her husband of 53 years, Richard I. Colter. They were married January 4, 1947 in Lowell.

As a young woman she was very involved with the Girl Scouts, and she became a troop leader at the Girl Scout Camp on Martha's Vineyard. Arlene was a member of the Federated Church in Edgartown, the Women's Club of Edgartown, and for many years she was a member of a rug hooking group. She loved her involvement with the Martha's Vineyard Doll Club of which she was one of the original members, and with the Martha's Vineyard Antiques Club. She also enjoyed her Thursday afternoon bridge games. But her favorite group of all was her "Stitch & Bitch" club, which meets every Wednesday afternoon at one of the members' houses and where very little stitching takes place!

Arlene was a loving wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend. Her giving and caring have touched many. She is survived by her daughter, Nancy-Alyce Abbott and her husband Brian W. Abbott of West Tisbury; her son Richard I. Colter Jr., and his wife Deborah T. Colter of Edgartown; her four grandsons Brian Jr., and his wife Jessica, Seth, Devin, and Kyle; her sister Nancy A. Clarke of Edgartown; several nieces and nephews, and many dear friends. She was predeceased by her husband Richard I. Colter. She will be greatly missed by all.

A graveside service was held at the Tower Hill Cemetery on June 1. A reception followed at the American Legion Hall in Edgartown.

Donations may be made in her memory to the Vineyard Nursing Association for Pain Management, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information

Miles S. Carpenter

Miles S. Carpenter

Miles Stahl Carpenter sailed off into the eternal sunset on the evening of May 24. A 60-year resident of Vineyard Haven, he began his life in the rural town of Waverly, Va., on August 28, 1916, where he spent much of his youth roaming the adjacent fields and woods. His passion for the mariner's life was exhibited early on as he spent much time constructing model boats from wood scraps scavenged from his father's sawmill.

At the age of 16 he graduated from high school and soon thereafter attended Virginia Tech, earning a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering in 1937. After his matriculation, he moved to Rahway, New Jersey, where he landed a job with General Motors working as a welding engineer for several years before transferring to Grumman Aircraft to assist in constructing aircraft for the war effort. In his spare time he learned to sail on the local waters of Barnegat Bay.

A few years after moving to New Jersey, he met Janet Wyckoff in a blinding snowstorm and after a short courtship they were married December 21, 1940. In 1943 they became the proud parents of E. Star Carpenter. In 1945, while on a summer cruise to Nantucket on his second sailboat, the schooner Escape II, the family spent five fogbound days in Edgartown exploring the Island. He immediately fell in love with the place. Within a year, with the encouragement of his friend and eventual business partner, John Painter, he and the family moved to the Vineyard. 

Miles and John established the Beach Road Corporation, the current site of Benjamin & Gannon Shipyard, which was quickly renamed Machine and Marine Corporation. They initially made their living teaching sailing, renting wood pussies, doing some marine work and retreading tires. Gradually the business evolved into a marina and the first machine and welding repair shop on the Island. Miles and John bought adjacent property on Hines Point in Tisbury overlooking Lagoon Pond where both families established residency. In 1948 another child Miles (Chip) was born on June 10 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.

In 1954 Machine and Marine moved down the street to the current site of West Marine. The business gradually flourished and soon the marina "The Pilot House" gained a first-rate reputation in the boating world up and down the East Coast. In 1978, a few years after his partner retired, he sold the business to pursue his lifelong dream of sailing. When he sold his last boat, Escape IV, in 2005 he was proud to say he had made 28 trips up and down the Intercoastal Waterway. In 1983, his wife Janet became ill while in the Florida Keys and died rather unexpectedly. Miles eventually remarried to Margaret Wolontis on November 13, 1988, with whom he spent his remaining years.

A man with high social conscience, Miles cared much about town affairs for over 50 years. He served on many boards and committees including Harbor Management, Wastewater Planning, Personnel Board and the Site Plan Review Board. Much respected, he could be counted on to bring clarity to many issues of importance. Miles had a reputation of having impeccable character. He had an affable sense of humor and loved to chat at length with customers and friends. His stories were numerous and interesting. His knowledge of boats, the sea, and weather was legendary and his recall of details was phenomenal. He had a deep religious faith throughout his life and was influential in establishing the Lambert's Cove Christian Church.

Miles is survived by his wife, Margaret Wolontis, of Vineyard Haven; his daughter, E. Star Carpenter and her husband Chuck Harris of Gardnerville, Nev.; his son, Miles (Chip) Carpenter and wife Sarah of Solon, Maine; his step-daughters, Nikki Wolontis and husband Jack of Calif., and Margie Wood and husband Randy of Iowa; and two step-grandchildren, Ben & Eric.

A memorial service with reception to follow will be held Sunday, June 17 at 1 pm at Owen Park, in Vineyard Haven, weather permitting. In case of rain the service will be held at the Katharine Cornell Theatre, Spring Street, Vineyard Haven. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tisbury Waterways, Inc., P.O. Box 4375, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Lloyd Niederlitz

Lloyd Niederlitz, long-time summer resident, died suddenly on May 26 in Oak Bluffs at the age of 87. He is survived by Mary, his wife of 50 years; his sons, Kris of Parker, Colo., and Gilbert of Bisbee, Ariz.; his daughter, Lynn of Gainesville, Fla.; his sister, Marion (Mimi) Momy of Yuma, Ariz.; his grandchildren, Geoffrey, Kimberly, Duncan, Zoe, Bhajan, Samuel, Luna, and Juniper; and one great granddaughter, Lilah.

Lloyd was born in Rochester, N.Y., on March 12, 1920 and spent his first seven years in Denver, Colorado before moving to New Jersey. He graduated from East Orange High School and then entered The Franklin School of Professional Arts in New York City.

He first came to the Vineyard in the summer of 1938 when his family - parents Marion and Joseph Niederlitz, brother Donald and sister Mimi - rented a cottage, one of the "Three Bears" off Alpine Avenue. His father came back in the fall and bought a house on Farm Pond at the corner of S. Circuit and Katama avenues. Lloyd had missed only two summers on the Vineyard since.

Lloyd joined the National Guard, 7th Regiment, shortly after high school and was on maneuvers at Camp Stewart, Georgia, in December of 1941. He spent the next five years in the service, mostly in the United States, shipping to the Philippines in the summer of 1945. He arrived in Manila just as the Japanese signed the peace treaty. He did not return to the mainland until early in 1946.

Lloyd married Florence Barnes in 1942. Six years later, they bought the old Island laundry or what remained of it after the hurricane of 1938. After renovations, Lloyd, Flo and new son, Kris, spent part of their summers at the cottage on Farm Pond down the dirt road from Lloyd's parents.

In 1946, Lloyd was discharged from the service as a 1st Lieutenant and returned to the Franklin School in New York City as an art teacher. After building a house in Park Ridge, New Jersey, he left the art school and set up a freelance art service, which continued until 1971. Lloyd and Flo were divorced in 1956.

Lloyd later married Mary Ridgway. Their son, Gilbert, was born in 1959 and daughter, Lynn, in 1960. Soon the little, two-bedroom cottage on Farm Pond seemed too small. So in 1964, foundations were poured to add on a dining room and a separate bedroom and bath living quarters which included a studio. Together, Lloyd and Mary with the help of family and friends built the additions.

They moved from Park Ridge to Venice, Fla., in 1969. He joined the Venice Area Art League, exhibiting in several shows. He exhibited on the Vineyard as well, winning a ribbon at the annual agricultural fair. When Mary retired in 1984, they began spending five months a year at the Vineyard.

Lloyd was an avid birder and enthusiastic vegetable gardener. His birding interest was initiated when summer house guests presented him with a pair of binoculars. After retirement, he and Mary took many trips in their small RV to birding "hot spots" around the country. His birding scope was always set up in the front window so he could check up on the Farm Pond wildlife. Lloyd's son, Gil began a backyard, vegetable garden during several years of wintering at the cottage. Lloyd and Mary have expanded the garden each summer. Friends and neighbors have shared in his bountiful harvests throughout the years in exchange for bluefish and blueberry pies.

He kept young and active by biking uptown to the Reliable and the post office and to the beach for his daily swim. He is greatly missed by his family and everyone who knew him. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations may be made in his memory to the Massachusetts Audubon Society at Felix Neck, P.O. Box 494, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

Louise A. Kernick

Louise A. Kernick

Louise Athearn Kernick, a native and resident of West Tisbury, died on June 2 at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. She succumbed to cancer at the age of 86.

Louise was born November 17, 1920; the third of Clara (Baker Look) and Horace Athearn's four children. She was Island-raised at the family homestead in Crow Hollow, West Tisbury. She met her husband Frank during World War II when he was stationed at the Martha's Vineyard airport, and they were married on-Island in October of 1944. After a year on-Island, they lived the next 25 years in Warwick, R.I., returning to the Vineyard in 1970. Louise lived, until her passing, in the Athearn family-owned property that once housed the former West Tisbury post office at the corner of Old County and Edgartown-West Tisbury roads.

Louise loved gardening, and was a familiar figure in town, mowing and caring for her own lawn and gardens right through the summer of her 85th year. She lived a simple life, devoted to maintaining the Island and family traditions, and cherishing relationships with neighbors and friends. She found few instances of importance that would motivate her to visit off-Island. Louise was an avid Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan who seldom missed the opportunity to watch or listen to a broadcast game.

She is survived by her brother, Clifton; and her son, Charles, both of West Tisbury; her granddaughter, Kellee Simoes and her husband Jack; and great-grandchildren Lauryn and Christian of Taunton; and her grandson, Tyler Athearn-Connolly Kernick and his wife Christina; and great grand-daughter Alexandra of Cumberland, R.I. In addition, she is survived by many nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews with Island ties. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Frank, who died in 1983, and her brothers, Elmer and Leonard Athearn.

A memorial graveside service will be held at a later date. Donations in her name would be warmly received to benefit and honor the dedicated nursing staff at Martha's Vineyard Hospital, through a contribution to the hospital's fund-raising campaign, Martha's Vineyard Hospital Building Fund, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, or to the West Tisbury Firemen's Association, P.O. Box 278, West Tisbury, MA 02575 to show appreciation for their continued acts of heroism and kindness.

John B. Eaton

John Brant Eaton, 84, of Martha's Vineyard, died on May 27, at Royal Nursing Center in Falmouth. Mr. Eaton was born on June 8, 1922 in Brookline, son of Frederick C. and Marguerite (Brant) Eaton.

He was a graduate of Scarsdale High School, N.Y., and attended Dartmouth College. Toward the end of World War II he became a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps and received his pilot's wings. During most of his working life he worked in sales and was a real idea man. He was an avid sailor and participated for many winters in the Frostbite races in Long Island Sound in the one-man sailboat he had painted in plaid. He retired to Martha's Vineyard.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and his two brothers, Frederick Choate Eaton, and Austin Whittington Eaton. He is survived by two nieces, Susan Eaton and Christie Eaton Leininger; five Eaton nephews, Brant, Frederick, III, Scott, Austin, Jr., and Barry; and two sisters-in-law, Margaret Eaton of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Elizabeth Eaton of Fayetteville, N.Y.

John's ashes will be scattered over the Vineyard Sound of his beloved Martha's Vineyard.

Gloria R. Jeffers

Gloria Rose Jeffers died peacefully at her Edgartown home on June 3. She was 74. She was predeceased by her beloved husband Milton Jeffers in November 2000. Mrs. Jeffers was born on June 21, 1932 in Oak Bluffs to Manuel Mello and Mary Rezendes. She was raised in Edgartown and attended the Edgartown School where she excelled as an excellent basketball player. Mrs. Jeffers was a chambermaid for the Shiretown Inn for 20 years before retiring. She was an avid cook and enjoyed spending time with her family and friends.

Mrs. Jeffers is survived by her sons, Aaron Silva of Sandwich, and Matthew Silva of Edgartown; three sisters, Bobbie Donovan of Vineyard Haven, Lucy Roy of Oak Bluffs, and Helen Rogers of Edgartown; two brothers, Art Costa of Florida, and John Costa of New Bedford; also four grandchildren; and three great grandchildren. Beside her husband she was also predeceased by her sister, Barbara Perry, and her brother, Benny Baptiste.

Visiting hours for Mrs. Jeffers will be held on Friday, June 8, from 7 to 9 pm at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Rd., Oak Bluffs. A private graveside service will be held following cremation at a later date. Memorial donations in Mrs. Jeffers's memory may be made to the Island Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1874, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.