Obituary : Helen E. Jackson
Helen E. Jackson of Edgartown died on July 9 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital at the age of 95. She was born on December 19, 1913 in Seymour, Conn., the daughter of Phillip and Madeline Kulman, and the fifth of seven children, all of whom predeceased her.
She moved to Providence, R.I., to work as a nanny after graduating from high school in Waterbury, Conn., and it was there that she met her husband, Ralston S. Jackson of Edgartown, then a student at Brown University. They married in 1937, but it was not until 1944, in the midst of World War II, with her husband in the Navy in the Pacific, that she moved with their two daughters to Edgartown to be close to her in-laws, Captain Robert L. and Annie Maude Jackson.
Fittingly, on Memorial Day that year, a third daughter was born, after Helen had watched the parade from her in-laws' front porch, currently the site of the Atria restaurant on Main Street. Two years later a fourth child, a son, completed the family.
Family was important to Helen, and she was important to her family, witnessed by the annual birthday parties held each year in her honor, faithfully attended by her children and an ever-growing number of grandchildren, spouses and partners of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and devoted friends.
Her early work, mixed in with raising four children, was as the wife/fishing partner of a commercial shell fisherman. During the 1950s she became intimate with Edgartown's ponds and bays while scalloping during the fall and winter, and clamming during the summer months on Edgartown Great Pond. She worked many summers following that as a chambermaid at local hotels. She is perhaps best known on the Island, though, for her presence in the office of Dr. Robert Nevin, taking care of several generations of patients as they waited to see the doctor, offering comfort and support to people in need of such. She joined his office in 1965, and they worked together until Dr. Nevin's death in the late 1990s, when they were both well into their 80s. Until their last day together, Helen walked to work from her home on Pinehurst Road, and Dr. Nevin gave her a ride home, her one concession to her age.
Helen was devoted to the Edgartown Methodist Church, and through the years served it in many capacities. For many years she arrived at church early on Sundays with the minister, in order to arrange the flowers and to ensure that the sanctuary was ready for morning services. She made corn chowder for the Election Day lunches and dried the dishes at the weekly soup suppers held at the church. Through this service and her work in the community, she developed many long-time devoted friendships. Several of them, coincidentally, were fellow players of her favorite game, Scrabble, and all enriched her life greatly.