Engagements & Weddings

Married almost 33 years.

Anna and John Alley on their wedding day. – Photo courtesy of the Alleys

John and Anna Alley were married in 1982 at the Field Gallery in West Tisbury.

How did you meet? Through association with Tom and Helen Maley.

Who proposed and how? Anna decided it would be a good idea, and John agreed.

Describe your Vineyard wedding: Wild and wonderful. Nearly 500 people attended. The church was reserved, as the weather was questionable, but not everyone would have fit. It was performed by the retired Dean of the Washington Cathedral, the Rev. Francis Sayre. There were five bridesmaids and five groomsmen. Anna’s sister was the maid of honor, and Tim Maley was the best man. We got through the ceremony and moved to the Agricultural Hall (now called the Grange Hall) and had a little time before the rain started. We provided the liquor, raw bar, clam chowder, and a huge cake. It was a major organizing venture. Joanie Jenkinson and her sister Angie Waldron organized the potluck dishes, and a caterer’s staff helped with serving, etc. It was an amazing event for us and hopefully for all who attended. Music was available for dancing upstairs, but it never happened. Too much fun downstairs with the food and people.

How many children did you have? Did any of them stay here? Two children. Nicole is now married and living in East Taunton, and has two children. She was an accountant for about five years, and her husband is a civil engineer who now has his own company, which she helps administer. Sam [John Samuel Alley Jr.] returned home after college, and worked at the Harbor View Hotel in the accounting department for the past 3½ years. He is now seeking a new position.

Do you both work? Yes, part-time.

Briefly describe your years together — the good, the bad, the wonderful … We have had an exciting and interesting life together. John was busy with local politics on many levels, which was frequently interesting. He also knew everyone and his brother, parents, and grandparents, which was also very interesting. Anna was busy with children, a lot of work on many nonprofit organizations, and then working part-time, first in the schools as a substitute school nurse, then at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital working per diem as a nurse on the acute floor, and now at Vineyard Pediatrics. Anna also was elected to the Parks and Recreation Committee, and then to the School Committee. One might say we are interested in people and all that affects them. Our children are our most important work and interest.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Yes.

Why? Anna would never have thought of living on the Vineyard until she met John. He would never think of living anywhere else. It turned out to be a great place to raise a family and to live. We were very lucky.

What advice might you offer to a couple about to be married? Much of life seems like the luck of the draw, but if a couple first and foremost love each other and want to be together, and are committed to make the marriage work, then hopefully it will.

Laugh, be kind, and don’t keep guns in the house.

Ben and Paddy Moore at home with their dog, Neko. – Photo by Michael Cummo

With Valentine’s Day upon us, some great Island couples — Ben and Paddy Moore, David Ferraguzzi and Patricia Carlet, and Woollcott and Leah Smith — share how they’ve made marriages last. This is part of an occasional series that salutes the stamina, love, goodwill, and compromise required of couples who stay together for a long time.

Patricia W. and Benjamin Cheney Moore

Paddy and Ben were married in 1971 in West Hartford, Conn.

How did you meet? We met at a four-day Gestalt Growth Development Workshop in Princeton, N.J., in August 1970. Both were separated (not yet divorced) and seeking to understand our lives — past, present, and future. We both did pretty deep “work” in the group, revealing ourselves to each other far more fully than would have been likely under other circumstances. We actually fell madly in love that weekend, but made no commitments. We went home, ended our other relationships, exchanged letters and phone calls, and Ben came down to visit me on Labor Day weekend. On the Thanksgiving vacation that year, I moved from Princeton to Boston, with my children Andrew and Patrick Worlock, a dog, a cat, and 27 boxes of books. Ben insisted that we live together (vetoing my original plan to rent the apartment upstairs from him), so we put our two families together — his four sons, and my two. Quickly two of his sons came to live with us, while two stayed with his ex-wife. Our pediatrician told us that it would be two years of ups and downs, and just like colic, it took exactly that amount of time.

Who proposed and how? We can’t remember, and actually we don’t think there was ever really a proposal. We were truly besotted with each other, and there didn’t seem to be any other sane possibility except being together.

Ben Moore (beard) and Paddy (right) with their boys, left to right: Patrick Worlock, Jason Moore (back), Hub Moore (front), Andrew Worlock (back), Gus Moore and Max Moore (front). – Courtesy the Moore family.
Ben Moore (beard) and Paddy (right) with their boys, left to right: Patrick Worlock, Jason Moore (back), Hub Moore (front), Andrew Worlock (back), Gus Moore and Max Moore (front). – Courtesy the Moore family.

Describe your Vineyard wedding. Not a Vineyard wedding, but in Connecticut — a small family event plus close friends on a snowy day in early December, a year after we met. Isaac and Trudy Russell lived just up the street from Martha, Ben’s sister, and Isaac got permission to officiate and make our wedding legal. The wedding party consisted of us and our six children; we wrote the ceremony ourselves, and when — in a reading about marriage by Kahlil Gibran — Isaac read the words “Let there be spaces in your togetherness,” Jason (our youngest) wiggled his way forward and stood between us. Seemed just right.

We didn’t go on a honeymoon directly, but after the kids were out of school at Christmas, we all went to St. Croix together (where Ben had lived and worked as an architect 10 years before) where we stayed in a wonderful house he had designed and built there. The two oldest had a fistfight on Christmas morning. I lost my wedding ring to the waves one day, and the boys almost drowned diving to find it in the shifting sands. We bought another ring in Christiantown, and despite the uproar, we came home to Boston a family.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Six children, all boys. Very noisy and wonderful. Four went through schools here, six spent summers here. All have gotten “off the rock” (their phrase), and one returned to live and work here — Andrew Worlock, who worked for a while for Gannon and Benjamin and the MVTimes, and for many years has worked with Schofield, Barbini and Hoehn as a surveyor.

Do you both work? Yes. Ben is an architect, and had worked on St. Croix and for Benjamin Thompson and Cambridge Seven Associates before we came to the Island. (He says in 1975, I think 1974.) At that time he was one of only four architects; now there are close to 20. He has been able to design many, many homes — both for Islanders and for summer residents — and he’s also designed town buildings such as the Chilmark Town Hall and the 1993 West Tisbury library, the façade of which has been maintained in the wonderful new building. His clients often became our friends, enriching our lives in yet another way. He was deeply involved in environmentaI protection, as a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission during the stormy days of starting a second ferry slip, member of the West Tisbury Historical District Commission, and one of the founders of Habitat for Humanity on-Island. Paddy started as an advocate and administrator of publicly funded programs for children and families when I first moved to Boston and when we were first on-Island. Then at the age of 50 I went to the Kennedy School at Harvard and became a mediator and consensus-builder with a specialty in health care. I’m still practicing mediation, and working hard on the new Dukes County Healthy Aging Task Force, which we hope will prepare the Island to meet the explosion of our elder population over the next 20 years. Ben has retired from practicing architecture, but continues to work at managing multiple homes, making sure we use solar energy and recycle as much waste as possible, and volunteering for Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi and on the Island, the Preservation Trust, and the West Tisbury Congregational Church.

Briefly describe your years together — the good, the bad, and the wonderful … Actually, we haven’t been able to come up with a “bad,” with the exception of never having had a daughter, and Ben’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Our lives together have been founded on mutual respect and commitment to support each other doing those activities and exploring whatever new roads the other thought would bring fulfillment. When we moved to the Vineyard (just to “try it” for a year), Paddy was very supportive of the move, but wanted to continue her work in Boston. That started the pattern that continued for the next 40 years. While it sometimes looked odd to others (we have occasionally heard rumors that “the Moores are divorcing”!!!), it has worked really well for us.

What has been most wonderful has been and is the magic of our continuing love for each other, and to be able to build a life together, and we still feel that way. Being a family has been at the heart of our lives. We decided early on that the six boys would be OUR children, not YOURS and MINE. Predictably there were many tests of this commitment, but it has stood us — and we believe them also — in very good stead. We’ve traveled quite a bit as a family, and have tried to bring the wider world into our inner circle with friends from all over, and support for organizations that bring us closer to recognizing we share this fragile globe. We’re lucky that three of our daughters-in-law come from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Guadeloupe, so our 13 grandchildren now have opportunities to be citizens of the world as well as Americans. Now we hope we are aging into being “elders” in the Native American sense, still standing strong for children and families, and the oneness of our world.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Absolutely the best!

Why? First, because of the extraordinary people who live here, who share our lives and our values, with whom we make community. Our first year here, when we’d only been here about six months, Ben was hit by a car as we changed a tire on Route 3, and was in the hospital for about six weeks. When I came home from Boston, I kept finding the kitchen table covered with food from people I barely knew. People opened their hearts and homes to us from the very beginning, and we’ve tried to reciprocate over the years. Second, because of the extraordinary beauty of the Island — its many moods, its colors, the wonder of sunsets and snow (yes, even this winter!). It is something we never take for granted. And probably third, because this community has kept its head despite all the new fancy visitors, and it is still a community of people who care and support each other; it is still a safe place to raise kids (even though we need to be vigilant about the lures of drugs and alcohol); it is still a place that our children and grandchildren love to return to — and we hope they always will.

If you had one piece of advice to a couple about to be married, what would it be? Ben says first, be sure you know each other, not just on dates but how the other is first thing in the morning, or on a not-so-good day; living together is a fine way to get this knowledge. Be sure you share values, even if they are expressed in different ways. Be committed to support each other’s deepest hopes and plans even though you may not know where the journey leads. Be committed to each other on a daily, even hourly, basis, not just theoretically. Cultivate a sense of humor — it will help you maintain your balance when things go differently from your expectations. Be kind — it is a much-underrated quality. And be patient with each other; growing is always hard, and never done.

Woollcott and Leah Smith

This Smiths have been married almost 47 years. – Photo by Michael Cummo
This Smiths have been married almost 47 years. – Photo by Michael Cummo

Woollcott and Leah married in 1968 in Florence, S.C. (Leah’s mother’s hometown, where her grandmother still lived).

How did you meet? At graduate school (Johns Hopkins), introduced by one of Leah’s fellow economics students who was sharing a house with Woollcott.

Who proposed and how? We just decided, no formal proposal.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Two. Both have lived elsewhere for years, but they are both here now; we have three grandchildren, ages 2, 3, and 6.

Do you both work?Yes — teaching, research, and consulting. We are both retired now.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Yes.

Leah and Woollcott Smith were married in 1968.
Leah and Woollcott Smith were married in 1968.

Why? We like the friends, old and new, the small-town and rural character, having our family next door, the good schools for our grandchildren, the great WT library, the many conserved areas where we can walk, beaches for swimming in the summer, I could go on and on.

If you had one piece of advice to a couple about to be married, what would it be? Be patient, laugh, and don’t keep guns in the house.

David Ferraguzzi and Patricia Carlet

David and Patricia married on Sept. 13, 1980, on the beach at Pilot Hill Farm.

David Ferraguzzi and Patricia Carlet and a friend, on their wedding day in September, 1980.
David Ferraguzzi and Patricia Carlet and a friend, on their wedding day in September, 1980.

How did you meet? In the late 1800s a close friend of David’s family sponsored my grandfather when he emigrated to the United States. But our families never connected. Members from both our families lived in Stafford Springs, Conn., in the early 1900s, but as far as we know, our families never connected.

His parents had a beach house in Milford, Conn., that backed up to a beach house my grandfather rented for a few years in the early ’30s for his family. But again, the two families never met.

Then in 1976, Ed Coogan was running for state representative, and David was his campaign manager. I knew Ed slightly, and a mutual friend, Michael Wild, had encouraged me to get involved in Ed’s campaign. So one Sunday evening in October of ’76 I drove to Oak Bluffs, where the DaRosas had provided an upstairs room for Ed to use as campaign headquarters, walked into the room and saw this bearded guy at the front of the room, pointing his finger and yelling at somebody. The rest is history.

Who proposed and how? David and I had been living together with our girls for about three years. Our mothers, both old-school Italians, had been constantly badgering us to get married. My father had actually come to the Vineyard at one point, sat David down at our kitchen table, and asked him just “what his intentions were.” (I was 41 at that point!) Finally, in the spring of 1980, when we were just about to complete the house we were building on a youth lot in Pilot Hill, we “proposed” to each other that we get married.

David Ferraguzzi and Patricia Carlet, recently.
David Ferraguzzi and Patricia Carlet, recently.

Describe your Vineyard wedding. The ceremony was to be on the beach at Pilot Hill Farm. It had rained all morning and was a bit chilly, but at noon the rain stopped, the clouds cleared and the sun came out. It was a beautiful September afternoon and the beach was perfect! Bill Eddy, in long brown hair and wearing a white embroidered robe with flowing sleeves, performed the ceremony. We looked like two hippies and Bill looked like Jesus Christ. My three daughters from a previous marriage, along with both of our mothers — dressed to the nines — and close family members joined us on the beach. We had decided to have a small wedding. Many of our friends were not happy with our decision. Two of them, Rob Kendall and Rob Doyle, actually crashed the wedding by swimming up to the beach, where they joined us in their wet bathing suits. Shirley Tilton served us a wonderful dinner later that day back at our new home. After a long dinner, we danced a lot. It was a lovely miracle day.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? We have three daughters from my previous marriage — Heather, Jessica, and Amanda. When David came into our lives, he became the girls’ father. Amanda (Adams) remains on the Vineyard. She is on the staff at the Charter School, and has one daughter, Anastasia, a third-year student at Northeastern. Amanda is married to Eric Adams.

Do you both work? Currently David works as a building contractor, and also serves on the Tisbury Community Preservation Committee and as a commissioner for the Tisbury DPW. I’m a retired school librarian (Edgartown School for 30 years), and have restarted my painting career. I also serve on the Tashmoo Spring Building Preservation Committee and the Building Management Committee, and am chair of a citizen committee created to restore and preserve the Tashmoo Overlook.

Briefly describe your years together — the good, the bad, and the wonderful … How do you “briefly” describe 38 years together?

Good: We met. We fell in love. We share much in common because of our cultural background. We love a lot of the same things — our family, good friends, people in general, our home, good food and wine, good music and dancing, family gatherings, talking (what Italian doesn’t love talking?), laughter, art, books, traveling, Caribbean beaches, this lovely Island of ours.

Bad: Sad things like the illness and deaths of family members and friends and beloved pets. Arguments over petty things. Not being able to solve all of our children’s problems. Watching global warming and feeling helpless. Being angry and ashamed of Washington politics.

Wonderful: Each other. Most of our lives together. Our family. Our friends. The Island.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Yes!

Why? No matter where we go, how long we might stay, how wonderful the travels and the people and the places might be, we are always, always happy to finally get off the boat or step off the plane, drive down Lambert’s Cove Road, up that dirt road and walk through our back door.

If you had one piece of advice to a couple about to be married, what would it be? Marriage is not “happily ever after.” For as long as you are together, marriage will be a work in progress. Compassion, compromise, respect for one another, a well-developed sense of humor, and the ability to laugh at yourselves are all vital attributes which lead to a good marriage.

Photo courtesy of Frances Pizzel
Photo courtesy of Frances Pizzel

Bri Buchanan and Ethan Valenti

Frances Pizzella of Tisbury is pleased to announce the engagement of her daughter, Bri Buchanan, to Ethan Valenti, son of Peter and Patricia Valenti of Edgartown. Bri is also the daughter of the deceased Robert Buchanan. Bri and Ethan are planning for a small wedding in July, with a larger celebration next June.

Sixty-four years, and still going strong.

Jim an Roberta Morgan at their 25th wedding anniversary, in 1975. – Photo courtesy of the Morgans

In an occasional series, some great Island couples tell us how they’ve made marriages last. We salute the love, goodwill, stamina, and compromise required of couples who stay together for a long time.Jim and Roberta Morgan of Chilmark were were married on Sept. 29, 1950, at the Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven.

How did you meet? At the Vineyard Haven Bowling Alley.

Who proposed and how? Jim proposed to Roberta, April 1950.

The Morgans at their wedding, in September, 1950.
The Morgans at their wedding, in September, 1950.

Describe your Vineyard wedding [We were] married in the Baptist Church in Vineyard Haven and had a reception at Albert Allen’s home on Daggett Avenue in Vineyard Haven. Bert’s sisters, Eva, Marjorie, Dorothy, and Mrs. Allen, provided the refreshments. Then we left the Island for a honeymoon at Niagara Falls.

How many children? Did any of them stay here? Barbara and Jim. Both live on the Vineyard.

Do you both work? Roberta has the Harbor Craft shop at Menemsha. Jim is a retired commercial fisherman.

And at their 50th anniversary, in 2000.
And at their 50th anniversary, in 2000.

Briefly describe your years together — the good, the bad, and the wonderful … Sixty-four wonderful years together, two wonderful children, two wonderful grandchildren, two great daughters-in-law-to-be. Wonderful life.

Has the Vineyard been the best place to live your lives together? Absolutely, great place to raise kids, a great place for a commercial fisherman in the past.

If you had one piece of advice to a couple about to be married, what would it be? Talk everything out, hold no grudges, work hard together, respect each other.

Lucy Bliss Whittemore & Barton Heywood

Lucy Bliss Whittemore and Barton Heywood married on Tuesday, Jan. 6, at Lucy’s late mother’s house in Edgartown. Joe Sollitto officiated.

Lucy is the daughter of the late Suzanne S. Whittemore of Edgartown and the Rev. James Whittemore of Falmouth, Maine.

Barton is the son of the late Carroll and Roger Heywood of Chappaquiddick and Duxbury.

They will reside in Edgartown.

Katama Marie Martellucci & Janice Ownbey

Stacy Elizabeth Nickerson-Hall and Stephen Martellucci joyfully announce the engagement of their daughter, Katama Marie Martellucci of Edgartown and Valley Forge, Penn., to Janice Ownbey, daughter of Joyce Ownbey and the late Richard Ownbey of Sacramento, California.

Katama is the granddaughter of Sonny and Claire Nickerson Hall; the great-granddaughter of the late Howard and Marie Brown Nickerson; and the great-great-granddaughter of the late Captain St. Clair and Elizabeth Morehouse Brown, all of Edgartown.

Katama works at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Janice for the Appalachian Mountain Club.  Both young women worked at the FARM Institute at Katama. They now live in Brooklyn, and they are planning to marry in 2016.

Flanders-Wedding1.jpgCarole L. Sylva & Matthew B. Flanders

Carole Lee Sylva and Matthew Flanders married on Saturday, September 13, at Farm Neck Golf Club. The father of the groom, Brian Flanders, performed the ceremony. Carole Lee is the daughter of Roger and Gloria Sylva of West Tisbury. Matthew is the son of Brian and Noreen Flanders of Vineyard Haven. The couple plans to reside on the Vineyard.

Amelia P. Burns married Mr. David P. Levine on October 12, 2014.

Dr. and Mrs. Padraic Burns of Brookline and Vineyard Haven announce the marriage of their daughter, Amelia P. Burns to Mr. David P. Levine on October 12, 2014 at Blue Horse Inn, Woodstock VT. David is a Senior Product Strategist with FactSet Research Systems. Amelia, a former kindergarten assistant teacher at the Edgartown School and fourth grade teacher at the Oak Bluffs School, is a fourth grade teacher at the Henry David Thoreau School in Concord. David is the son of Stanley and Grace Levine of Boynton Beach Florida (formerly Huntington, Long Island, NY). The couple live in Carlisle.

Vanessa Laurie Williams, daughter of Woodrow and Phyllis Williams of Vineyard Haven, married Evan Daniel Smith, son of the Honorable Judge Mary Smith of Bronxville, N,Y., and Drs. Fred and Angelica Smith of Hastings on Hudson, N.Y., at The Tower House (the yellow house) in Chilmark on September 6, 2014, surrounded by close friends and family in a Double Ring Ceremony performed by Josh Burns of Vermont, a close friend of the couple. Vanessa was given in marriage by her father.

The bride is a 2002 graduate of MVRHS, a 2006 graduate of Marlboro College and a 2013 graduate of Pace Law School, N.Y. She is employed by Cabanillas and Associates, P.C. as an attorney.

The groom is a 2007 graduate of Marlboro College and is employed by Buchman Law Firm as a paralegal. After a honeymoon to Thailand in January, the couple will reside in their home in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.

photoHeather Ferreira and Keith Devine of Aquinnah would like to announce their recent engagement, on Sept. 20, 2014. Heather is the daughter of Sandy Ferreira of Vineyard Haven and Anthony Ferreira of Oak Bluffs. Keith is the son of Shirley Grant Tucker of Brockton and Byram Devine of Vineyard Haven. A wedding is being planned for Sept. 3, 2016.