Posted July 19, 2007

Bernice Benway

A graveside service for Bernice (Tilton) Benway who died on March 25 will be held on Saturday, July 28, at the Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven. Memorial donations may be made 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.

Sherman K. Okun

Sherman K. Okun

Sherman Kenneth Okun, an early leader and active participant in the Brandeis Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and the Boston College Institute for Learning and Retirement, died on July 9, after a two-year struggle with lymphoma. He was 77 and split his time between Newton Centre and Aquinnah.

Mr. Okun was born in Chicago, Ill., to Goldie Lischin Okun and Aaron Okun. After his sophomore year in high school, he received a Ford Foundation grant to attend the University of Chicago in lieu of finishing high school. Due to the influx of returning veterans with GI benefits, he was unable to receive financial aid to complete his studies. At that time, an Illinois congressman offered an appointment to the United States Naval Academy to the applicant who received the highest score on a statewide history test, which turned out to be Mr. Okun, who was thus able to complete his undergraduate education. After serving four years in the United States Navy as an officer, Mr. Okun completed Harvard Business School and then worked for several management consultant firms before co-founding American Executive Management Company in Salem.

In his ten-year retirement, Mr. Okun devoted his creative, intellectual, and management skills to the Brandeis and Boston College lifelong learning communities; teaching technology courses, studying humanities, and offering consulting services to seniors who consider themselves to be "generationally challenged."

Mr. Okun's passions were his family and Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard, where he enjoyed fishing, gardening, and walking on the beaches. He was pre-deceased by a twin brother, Marvin, in childhood. He is survived by his wife Barbara, a professor of counseling psychology at Northeastern University; his daughter, Marcia, and her husband, Joshua Lieberman, and their children, Amalia, Michal and Aryeh of Newton; his son, Jeffrey, and his wife, Alison, and their daughters, Samantha and Alexandra, of Andover; and his son, Douglas, and his partner, Eric Ethington, and their twin daughters, Elizabeth and Sophia, of San Francisco, Calif.

Services were held on July 13 at the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center. A memorial service will be held at Brandeis in the fall. Contributions may be made to the Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or to the AstraZeneca Hope Lodge of the American Cancer Society, 30 Speen Street, Framingham, MA 01701.

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

Dennis W. Sylvia

A graveside service for Dennis Wayne Sylvia of Vineyard Haven will be held at the Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road in Tisbury on Saturday, July 21, 11 am. 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. Dennis will be painfully missed always.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral, Oak Bluffs.

Hazel M. King

Hazel M. King of Vineyard Haven died on July 16, at Falmouth Hospital. She was 78. She was born in Vineyard Haven on August 21, 1928, the daughter of Manuel and Mary (DeCosta) King. She attended Tisbury Schools. Hazel was a Carmelite nun for 25 years, serving in New York City and Ireland. She returned to the Island and worked on the lunch counter on the Islander for many years as well as working at Takemmy Laundry. She was an active communicate on the Good Shepherd Parish of Martha's Vineyard.

She is survived by a sister, Madeline Coburn of Berryville, Ariz.; and numerous nieces and nephews. Besides her parents she was predeceased by her siblings, Theresa Holstrom, Elizabeth "Betty" Furtado, Hilda Duarte, Katherine Barry, Patricia Mills-Fulsom, Donald King, William King, and Manuel Canha.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at St. Augustine's Church, Vineyard Haven on Friday, July 20, 11 am, and burial will follow in the Oak Grove Cemetery, State Road, Vineyard Haven. Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, July 19, from 5 to 7 pm at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Donations may be made in her name to the MSPCA, P.O. Box 2097, Edgartown, MA 02539. Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole & Gleason. Visit for online guest book and information.

Evelyn M. Silvia

Evelyn M. Silvia

Mrs. Evelyn M. Silvia, 89, died peacefully July 8, at Windemere Nursing Home where she was a long-time resident. She was the wife of Adrian F. Silvia. She was born in Tisbury on the Fourth of July, one of fourteen children.

Evelyn lived her whole life on the Island and attended the Tisbury High School, where she graduated in the class of 1936. She worked for New England Telephone Company from 1940 to1946.

At age nineteen Evelyn met Adrian at a dance at the Red Men's Hall on Main Street in Tisbury. They married at her parent's Franklin Street home on October 19, 1943 while Adrian was on a three-day furlough from the United States Army.

Evelyn loved entertaining and visiting friends and relatives. She loved to go out to dance at social gatherings with friends and relatives. Evelyn would frequently be seen on the dance floor doing the jitterbug with Adrian.

Evelyn was famous for her cooking. Her specialty was her Thanksgiving dinners and her delicious Portuguese kale soup.

Evelyn was a communicant of St. Augustine's Church where she was a member of the church guild, Grace of God Prayer Group and a Eucharistic minister. She was also a member of the American Legion Auxiliary.

Evelyn was a devoted wife and loving mother to her family. She enjoyed her life as a homemaker and in her lifetime overcame many obstacles that impeded her path to survive. Cancer was an early opponent and with her strong Christian Faith she conquered the disease.

In Evelyn's later years she was an inspiration to others. She was stoic and rarely complained even though in constant pain, but she refused to give up the fight until she could see her only and beloved granddaughter blossom into a young woman.

Evelyn Silvia is survived by her loving daughter, Eileen and her husband William Threm of Tucson Ariz.; her loving son, Rodney Silvia and his wife Karen of Oak Bluffs; granddaughter, Kelly; two sisters Anna Medeiros of Edgartown and Florence Lavallee of Falmouth; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her husband, Adrian F. Silvia.

Her Mass of Christian Burial was held on July 13, in St. Augustine's Church in Vineyard Haven. Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs.

Donations may be made in her memory to Good Shepherd Parish of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 1058, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, or Windemere Nursing Home, P.O. Box 1747, or Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, both in Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Visit for online guest book and information.

Joseph C. Mello

Joseph Corrigan "JC" Mello of Edgartown, died on July 17, at Falmouth Hospital. He was the beloved husband of Deborah and his children Cory and Jody.

His Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Elizabeth's Church, Main Street, Edgartown, on Wednesday, July 25 at 11 am. Visitation in Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs will be Tuesday, July 24 from 5 to 7 pm. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Friends of the Edgartown Library, P.O. Box 5249, Edgartown, MA 02539. A full obituary will follow in a future newspaper edition. Visit for online guest book and information.

Helen L. Johnson

Helen Louise Underwood Johnson, an extraordinary woman, died on the Island on June 22. She was surrounded by her loved ones. Helen was an Island summer resident. She was the beloved wife of 48 years of Admiral W. Norman Johnson USN Ret. Helen was the loving daughter of Charles and Marion Underwood of Roxbury. She was born in Boston on July 2, 1938.

Helen was a strong, beautiful woman who lived her life through love and friendship. She was a devoted mother whose unconditional love embraced her children's individualism. She was not only a mother but a friend to each of them. She had a fondness for cats, having many that she loved and adored. Helen's quick wit and sharp tongue allowed for many spirited conversations with her friends. She enjoyed discussing world affairs and the financial market over a glass of wine. Helen was an intelligent business woman. Her financial prowess enabled her to achieve financial independence for her family.

In 1982 both Helen and her husband Norm had life-changing illnesses. Helen never succumbed to her disease, she continued with the same determination and eloquence that characterized her life. But upon her husband Norman's diagnosis of colon cancer she took charge and was a force to be reckoned with. She was his protector and the stabilizing force he needed to fight the battle that saved his life. Norman survived another 24 years. Norman cherished his wife, referring to her fondly as Mi Vida (My Life). Their love and friendship withstood the hardships of war, 32 years of military life, multiple sclerosis and cancer.

Helen is survived by her sisters, Muriel and Laura; her brothers David, John, and Michael; her children, Laura Hairston (Brian) of Scottsdale, Ariz., Lois Johnson (Miguel) of Alexandria, Va., and W. Norman Johnson Jr. (Stefanie) of San Jose, Calif.; five grandchildren, Jacob, Vanessa, Leah, Erica, and Jordan; and many loving nieces and nephews, and friends. She was predeceased by her husband, Norman.

While Helen will be greatly missed we are comforted in knowing that she is now again with her soul mate Norman. May their spirits soar and their souls rest in eternal peace with God's love. Helen will always be loved, respected, cherished, and remembered. A memorial service and reception will be held at Saint Mark's Congregational Church, 200 Townsend St., Dorchester, on Friday, July 27, at 4 pm. A chapel service and interment will be held on Wednesday, August 1, at Arlington National Cemetery at 1 pm. Please join us in these final farewells to Helen.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Helen Louise Johnson's name to the American Cancer Society, P.O. Box 102454, Atlanta, GA 30368-2454.