Obituary : Donald W. Vose
Donald W. Vose, 96, died peacefully at his Tower Hill home in Edgartown on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Mr. Vose was born in his great-grandmother's home on North Water Street in Edgartown on December 27, 1911. His parents were Gladys Pease Vose and Leroy W. Vose of Edgartown.
Mr. Vose spent his childhood in Edgartown. At the age of 10, he learned to drive a car and helped deliver milk and eggs for his father's farm. He then taught his aunts Elsie Lovewell and Edna Weston to drive. Many of his favorite memories were of times spent at the Vose family boathouse with his fraternal grandparents, Julien and Anna Vose, his sister Marjorie, and his Lovewell and Weston cousins, and also at Tom's Neck Farm on Chappaquiddick with his maternal grandparents, Ben and Annie Pease, descendents of the original Island Pease family, and his Hoar cousins.
He attended the Edgartown schools through the eighth grade and graduated from Cushing Academy in Ashburnham in 1932. After graduating from Curry College, he attended Law School at Boston University. Mr. Vose had a close relationship with his grandfather Julien W. Vose, owner of Vose and Son's Piano Company, who took him on several trips during his 20s to Europe, Hawaii, and South America. He worked for the Curtis Publishing Company, which published the Saturday Evening Post and then founded the Copley Advertising Agency during the 1940s.
Donald and his wife Drucille raised four children in Wellesley Hills and the family returned to the Island every summer. He loved acting, an interest that had begun in his early school years in Edgartown, and spent six months in Hollywood in pursuit of an acting career. His public speaking skills were well known; whether it was telling a story to family members or speaking extemporaneously to 1,200 Masons, he captivated his audience with humor and oratorical style.
In 1957, he became president of the Edgartown National Bank and served in that capacity for 51 years, until his death. The bank had been founded by his grandfather Julien Vose and his father Leroy had also served as its president. Mr. Vose was most proud of his long association with the bank and maintained throughout his life that he desired that the bank remain an independent community bank.
He presided over many Masonic organizations and rose to the top of the Masonic Fraternity, obtaining the Honorary 33rd Degree and becoming Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts from 1973 to 1975. On the Island, he was affiliated with Oriental - Martha's Vineyard Lodge, where the Lodge Room is named in his honor.
His community involvements included a leadership role in the capital campaign for the new Martha's Vineyard Hospital in 1969. He served on the Board of Directors of the Dukes County Historical Society, was active in both the Federated Church in Edgartown and the Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, was chairman and life member of the Advisory Board of the Salvation Army of Boston, was a member Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Cushing Academy, and also a member Emeritus of the Board of Governors of the Shrine Burns Hospital in Boston.
Donald loved being on the water. He raced Raven, his Dory Class sailboat, at the Edgartown Yacht Club during the 1930s. Fifty years later, he and his wife returned to racing on Sunbeam, their Herreshoff 12 1/2. The couple was presented with a special sportsmanship award. During 1952, he took his family on a cruise in the Six D's, a Steel Craft powerboat, through the Erie Canal to Buffalo. He learned to fly in his 50s, taking lessons from his friend Stephen Gentle and then acquiring his own plane. He flew until he was 83, using his plane to commute to the Island. His favorite "toy" for many years was an electric car, which was capable of going "to Gay Head and half way back." For almost 50 years he held his famous "Hamburger Parties" at the family boathouse. Every Sunday he served from 50 to 100 friends and family, a tradition that his father had started during the 40s.
Donald loved life, and was always an active participant. During the last few months of failing health he remained at home with his family nearby.
His wife of 59 years, Drucille Bevin Vose, predeceased him in 1999. His first marriage to Elizabeth Jones ended in divorce. He is survived by four children and their spouses, Donna W. Vose and her husband, Dr. Gregory Palermo of Plainfield, N. J., and Edgartown, Dennise Vose Croft, and her husband, Louis, of Hubbardston, Dianne Vose Durawa and her husband, Thomas, of Edgartown and D. Warren Vose, Jr. and his wife, Anne, of Edgartown. He also leaves eight grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren: Donna's children Julie Rowell and James Rowell, Dennise's daughters Catherine Curry and Cornelia Carnazza, Dianne's sons Nathan Durawa and Matthew Durawa, and Warren's sons David Vose and Stuart Vose. Mr. Vose was predeceased by his sister, Marjorie Vose White. His cousin John Lovewell of Edgartown survives him. He is also survived by his companion Diana Sundeen.
A memorial service will be held at on Saturday, October 18 at 2 pm at the Federated Church in Edgartown. Gifts in Mr. Vose's memory may be sent to the Federated Church of Edgartown, P.O. Box 249, Edgartown, MA 02539; the Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557; the Martha's Vineyard Museum, P.O. Box 1310, Edgartown, MA 02539; or the Masonic charity of your choice.