Obituary : Jeremiah G. MacKenty
Jeremiah G. MacKenty of Edgartown died on Saturday, Oct. 18, in his home on Wintucket Cove Path. When his 15-year battle with Parkinson's disease ended, he was surrounded by loving family and friends. He was 70 years old.
He was born in New York, N.Y., on July 7, 1938 to Katharine Walker MacKenty and John Gilman MacKenty. At an early age his family moved from New York to Edgartown, where Jerry spent many childhood days.
After college, Jerry became a stockbroker, first in Cambridge, and then in New York City, where he worked for 18 years. There, he began his first family and had two children, Susan and Bill. In 1975, he returned to Edgartown as a full-time resident, where he raised his children as a single father.
During those years, Jerry was very active as a community member. He served on the Planning Board in Edgartown, was treasurer for Island Children's Theater and the Chilmark Chamber Orchestra, and was an active Lay Leader at Saint Andrew's Episcopal Church.
In 1988 he married Maria McGrath and they had two more children, James and Bryan, both students at the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School.
Jerry had two businesses that he dearly loved. The first was the The Fireplace Shop, which was at Five Corners in Vineyard Haven. Long after the shop closed, he was frequently approached by people who would say, "I still have that wood stove you sold me."
The second was a small bed and breakfast that he and Maria ran in their home called Meeting House Inn. Anyone who knew Jerry knows that hospitality came naturally to him; he loved sharing his knowledge of the Island with their guests.
Jerry's final career was that of an author. He has published two books of poetry and a children's book. Expressing himself through poetry and creating adventures through children's literature was therapeutic for him during his latter years with Parkinson's.
During his funeral service at Saint Andrew's Church last Thursday, Jerry's friend Ed Trayes, of Edgartown and Wincote, Penn., spoke of many of Jerry's qualities. "He was selfless, gracious and honest. An excellent listener, with a special brand of humor," said Trayes.
His daughter Susan spoke about how her father raised her with a lot of self-confidence, and a belief that she could do whatever she set her mind to.
His son Bill spoke about how his father introduced him to the ways of men, disciplined him and played with him.
His son Bryan read one of Jerry's poems entitled "Kindness," and remarked that it was apropos for who Jerry was.
His son James recited a favorite poem he and his Dad shared, and remarked that he would miss his Dad's sense of humor.
His wife Maria thanked the community for the amazing support that their family has received during Jerry's last month at home, and spoke of how Jerry's complete and unconditional love would carry her through these next days.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Maria, his children, Bill and Dagmara MacKenty of Astoria, N.Y.; Susan and Jamie Brady of Needham; James and Bryan MacKenty of Edgartown; two granddaughters, Caroline and Abigail Brady; his brother and sister-in-law, John and Irene MacKenty of Edgartown, and his sister and brother-in-law Kay and Bob Bigelow of Winchester. He is also survived by a large extended family of relatives and friends.
Donations in Jerry's name can be made to the Vineyard Isle Parkinsonians - Ken Beebe, P.O. Box 3174, West Tisbury, MA 02575.