Obituary : Elizabeth F. DeCosta
Elizabeth Flint Richards DeCosta died peacefully in her home after a brief, but difficult struggle with lung cancer on Tuesday, August 25. With great love and attention, her closest family members and a special hospice nurse helped her along this journey. Her special friends gave much spiritual support. A graveside service and burial were held on Thursday, Aug. 27, at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Ferrum, Va.
Liz may have been born in a Boston hospital, but she began her life as an infant on the Vineyard. As a child she came to love Lilly of the valley - in bloom for her birthday - and a bouquet ready to carry in the Memorial Day parade. She was the oldest of three girls - independent, strong willed, the adventurer, the explorer, the one to pave the way.
Liz attended both Tisbury Elementary and Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, graduating in 1965. She attended Burbank Hospital School of Practical Nursing in Fitchburg, receiving the Grace Gummo Award for excellence in scholastic ability and nursing care. She worked for a time at Burbank, but like many who wander away for a while, she found her way back to the Vineyard. She took a position at The Martha's Vineyard Hospital as a staff nurse on the medical/surgical floor, but soon realized her true love in the maternity department. Many Island families have experienced first hand her tireless, genuine, loving care during such a special, and sometimes difficult, time in their lives.
In 1991, Liz took a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia - an experience that led her to pack up her life on the Vineyard, purchase 26 acres of rolling hills in Ferrum, Va., and build herself a home. She felt as though she had "come home."
For a few years, Liz was able to continue caring for moms and infants at Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, Va., but decided to stay closer to home and care for the ailing members of her community. She was endlessly selfless in the ways she cared for her patients - many of whom were, or became, her closest friends. The first significant signs of Liz's illness became apparent this past April. Reluctantly, she had to stop nursing others. Throughout her brief illness she never complained or felt sorry for herself - just frustrated that her memory was failing and that she was unable to help others.
Liz was a member of the Maple Grove Methodist Church. It was in her strong faith in God that she found the strength to except her illness. She traveled twice to Israel - trips that moved her deeply, and helped carry her through tough times.
Although the mountains became her home, she loved the ocean and beaches on Martha's Vineyard. She loved spending time with her grandmother on East Chop, picking wild blueberries, gardening, knitting, needlepoint, her dog, Zeek, chocolate, and most of all, she loved her sons.
Surviving family members who are missing her dearly are her sons, Shawn Paul DeCosta of the Vineyard, and Rodney James DeCosta of Grandy, N.C.; two sisters, Mary Grimes of Goshen, Conn., and Joan Richards of the Vineyard; grandchildren Elissa Elizabeth DeCosta and Travis Angelo Torres of the Vineyard; daughter-in-law Jackie DeCosta of the Vineyard; nephews Nathan Gray and Noah Richards of the Vineyard; niece Jessie Alden of the Vineyard and Cataumet and Tyler Grimes of Goshen, Conn.; great niece and nephew Autumn and Isaac Richards of the Vineyard. Surviving and missing Liz, too, is a community blessed to have seen her light shine.
If so moved, a donation to your local hospice in Elizabeth DeCosta's name would be greatly appreciated.