Obituary : Barbara M. Donald
Barbara Mayhew Donald had a wonderful life. She died on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. She was born in Vineyard Haven to Dr. Orland S. Mayhew and Esther L. Mayhew on October 18, 1921.
She started school in the second grade at the Tisbury School on Center Street and completed her elementary and high school education at the current location of the Tisbury School. After graduating from the Tisbury High School she went to Lasalle Junior college before transferring to Simmons College in September of 1939. Barbara graduated from Simmons in May of 1943 with a bachelor of science degree in English.
After college, she moved to Washington to take a job working on decoding Japanese messages. She was home on Martha's Vineyard one weekend in the spring of 1945 and met Edwin K. Donald, who was stationed at the Naval Air Base on the Island. Ed already knew the rest of her family. They were married on November 20, 1945, in Christ Methodist Church in Vineyard Haven.
They lived off-Island for the next few years in both North Miami, Fla., and Rome, N.Y., where Ed worked for Eastern Airlines. The couple moved back to Martha's Vineyard for Ed to start his own business with Barbara doing the books in early 1950. They converted the upstairs of a building on Franklin Street owned by Esther Mayhew to an apartment. They had three sons: David, Orland, and Timothy, who were all born on the Island during the next 10 years.
Barbara worked part time for R. M. Packer Co. Inc. After her children were older, she worked at the office of the Tisbury Assessors and then for years as one of the two tellers at the Cooperative Bank. She retired from the bank to spend time on her many hobbies, volunteer work, and other interests.
For 25 years, Barbara was the financial secretary for Christ United Methodist Church. Besides that position, she had been active on committees for the church. She was always in charge of selling the tickets for the Harvest Supper, held in October. For several years, she wrote thank-you cards for the food pantry located in the church.
When not busy with church, she loved to do needle pointing and crocheting, which produced marvelous items she enjoyed giving to other people. She was an avid card player, especially liking duplicate bridge. She was able to play at different levels of the game and was the person people called when they needed a partner for the Tuesday evening game. She also ran a bridge game as a volunteer at Windemere. She had many friends who she would visit and help with things. Doing things for other people was always something she did and enjoyed. She found it somewhat difficult at first in her last couple of years to let people do things for her.
She enjoyed traveling to take sons to college, visit friends and relatives near and far, or explore the world. When Ed was busy she would get her sister Priscilla to go with her. She spent time reading and was a frequent visitor to Island libraries to look for the latest books. She was famous to people who knew her for her ability to write amazing letters that were appreciated by the person to whom they were written. She continued to enjoy getting letters and writing them while she resided in the assisted living section of Windemere.
After this wonderful life, Barbara died on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at the age of 88. She was sharp and in charge to the end. She is survived by her three sons: David of Vineyard Haven; Orland and his wife, Kimberly, of Mansfield, Conn., and Oak Bluffs; and Tim and his friend, Helen Mickelson, of Vineyard Haven. She very much loved her four grandsons: Jacob, Noah, Seth, and Zachary, sons of Orland and Kim. Her brother Jared Mayhew, of Vineyard Haven, also survives Barbara.
A memorial service will take place at 3 pm on Friday, Nov. 20, at Christ United Methodist Church in Vineyard Haven. Anyone wishing to make a memorial donation in her name may make it to the United Methodist Church of MV, P.O. Box 2580, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557; or the Vineyard Haven Public Library, 200 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.