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Pat Gregory

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The library lobby will welcome the community to a place he cherished.

From left, Ron Rappaport, Dorothy Gregory, Shannon Gregory Carbon, and Bess Carbon listening to the kind words spoken about Pat Gregory. – Photos by Lisa Vanderhoop

On Sunday afternoon, nearly one year to the day since Pat Gregory was killed, friends, neighbors, and colleagues streamed into the West Tisbury library for a ceremony which dedicated the lobby in his honor. The crowd of more than 75 packed the spacious, light-filled lobby, overflowing into adjoining rooms. A table displayed a color photo of Mr. Gregory, his friendly, cheerful face familiar to all; a poem in his honor by outgoing Poet Laureate Justen Ahren; and programs from his memorial last May, when mourners filled the Agricultural Hall to bursting. Daffodils adorned every surface, gifts from townspeople happy to contribute to this special event.

The plaque on the wall at the West Tisbury library.
The plaque on the wall at the West Tisbury library.

Mr. Gregory, West Tisbury’s well-liked and respected town moderator for 23 years, a community-minded business owner, family man, and friend to many, was robbed and shot to death on a California hiking trail on May 16, 2014, leaving Islanders shocked and saddened. It was evident that his loss was still deeply felt by those gathered on Sunday.

Mr. Gregory’s widow, Dorothy, and their daughter Shannon Carbon stood before the front entry. His granddaughter Bess, 6, wore a bright red dress and snuggled close to her mother and grandmother. Mr. Gregory’s grandson, 8-year-old Jack, stood beside his father Dan Carbon, wearing his Giants baseball uniform for an upcoming practice.

Selectman Cynthia Mitchell stepped to the podium and asked for a moment of silence, then pianist David Stanwood began to play a meditative Irish lament.

Speaker Cynthia Mitchell, chairman of the West Tisbury Board of Selectman, giving tribute to Pat Gregory.
Speaker Cynthia Mitchell, chairman of the West Tisbury Board of Selectman, giving tribute to Pat Gregory.

Ms. Mitchell welcomed the crowd on behalf of the West Tisbury Library Trustees and selectmen, and said that she had initially felt a memorial to Mr. Gregory should be at the town hall, because of his importance to town government. But after learning of his strong connection to the library, she realized how appropriate this location was.

Pausing several times to regain her composure, Ms. Mitchell shared comments written by the children’s librarian, Nelia Decker.

“Watching Pat with his grandchildren, Jack and Bessie, brought us such joy,” wrote Ms. Decker. “He and the kids visited the library regularly, even in our cramped temporary quarters.”

There were daffodils on most surfaces.
There were daffodils on most surfaces.

Ms. Decker recounted the little girl’s love of certain fairy books, and her grandfather’s doting presence. “Bessie would ask for a particular title, and Pat would have to bend his long, lanky body in half to peer at the titles on the lowest shelf. He treated her request with utmost respect and consideration, at the same time with a twinkle in his eye. The kids loved being read to, and he spent many hours reading patiently to them. He so honored them, their choices and their time together at the library,” Ms. Decker concluded.

“And so it makes perfect sense to honor him here,” said Ms. Mitchell. “Like town meeting, this too is a community gathering place in which he was a solid and comforting presence.”

The proposal to dedicate the lobby to Mr. Gregory had begun with library staff and officials, was quickly embraced by selectmen, and placed on the annual town meeting warrant in April. The voters approved the measure unanimously.

“Today,” continued Ms. Mitchell, “after nearly a year of mourning and remembrance, we follow the town meeting’s wishes, and hereby dedicate this space in memory of our dear friend and town moderator Pat Gregory.”

Pat Gregory's family: From left, Shannon, Bess, and Dorothy outside the newly dedicated Pat Gregory lobby in the West Tisbury library.
Pat Gregory’s family: From left, Shannon, Bess, and Dorothy outside the newly dedicated Pat Gregory lobby in the West Tisbury library.

Shannon Gregory Carbon, as had Ms. Mitchell, took a deep breath before speaking as she surveyed the crowd circled closely around her and her family.

“Visiting the library was a ritual for my father,” Ms. Carbon said. “On Monday nights, he and my mother had a standing date here. Other times, Dad waited patiently as our children, Jack and Bess, chose their books. And before that, he waited on my brother and me. How perfect that our beautiful library is in the heart of town. For me, it is our town’s beating heart. The stories, the poetry, the music, and the neighbors found here are nourishment for the soul. A library’s contents have healing power and can transform a person’s perspective — no matter where one resides.

“Again, a deep-felt thank you to West Tisbury, and beyond, for the kindness you have shown our family,” said Ms. Carbon. “My father would have loved to be here today.”

Then it was time for reminiscing, sharing, warm hugs. In the community room, tables offered savory snacks and cold drinks. A television monitor played the 2008 annual town meeting, Moderator Pat Gregory presiding.

“Pat Gregory was the epitome of a man who lived his life with grace,” said Lynne Whiting, member and former vice chair of the library foundation. “It will be wonderful each time we walk into the library to be reminded of him and how he treated others.”

The crowd at the dedication of the lobby at the West Tisbury Public Library.
The crowd at the dedication of the lobby at the West Tisbury Public Library.

“It would be far better to have Pat here,” said Sherman Goldstein, reflecting on a close, many-faceted friendship with Mr. Gregory that endured for decades. “Our lives intertwined in a wonderful tapestry. There’s a rent in the fabric of our lives without him.”

Dan Waters, library trustee and new town moderator, remembered Mr. Gregory’s assistance when he presented the library’s capital-campaign information at town meetings. “He helped me put my case before the voters,” Mr. Waters said. “He welcomed people into the process and made a safe place for them to speak.”

“We wanted to dedicate space to Pat, but not just from the library trustees or selectmen. It was important to make that gesture and have the voters speak in favor of it,” Mr. Waters explained. “This is the town’s lobby, and they voted for it. Our aim was to be as inclusive as possible, because that’s what Pat would have wanted.”

Lynne Whiting and Dan Waters.
Lynne Whiting and Dan Waters.

Linda Hearn, library board of trustees chairman, recalled her nervousness speaking about the measure at town meeting, and gratitude at the positive vote. “I think it’s very appropriate to dedicate the lobby to Pat,” she said. “He was a big part of the town, and this is really a town gathering place.”

“I was really pleased with the dedication ceremony,” said library director Beth Kramer. “It was quiet and respectful. We got to embrace Pat’s family and honor him. The fact that Dorothy and Shannon were pleased with it was the most important thing, and to have everybody there with them a year later.”

“It’s very much in keeping with what Pat would have done,” observed writer Niki Patton, admiring the simple gray plaque with black print, its wording chosen by the family. “He would have said, ‘Don’t make a fuss.’”

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The ceremony Friday night included the presentation of the first Pat Gregory Award to Beka El-Deiry, owner of Island Window Design.

Award winner Beka El-Deiry, flanked by Shannon Carbon, left, and Dorothy Gregory. –Photo by Angelina Godbout

Youthful pride and exuberance was in the air for the fifth annual Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Institute (MVYLI) Job Shadow Day reception at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown Friday evening. Proud family members and friends filled the hotel’s dining room to cheer on 10 regional high school students, and hear them and their mentors describe the work they had done together so far, and their plans for the future.

From left, award winners Avery Hazell, Kelsey Moreis, Noah Kienhenz, Elijah LaRue, Lila Norris, Lucie Dougherty-Soares, Taynara Goncalves, Maisie Jarrell, Benjamin Nadelstein and Kristine Hopkins.
From left, award winners Avery Hazell, Kelsey Moreis, Noah Kienhenz, Elijah LaRue, Lila Norris, Lucie Dougherty-Soares, Taynara Goncalves, Maisie Jarrell, Benjamin Nadelstein and Kristine Hopkins.

Students came from every class, freshman to senior. The mentors, who generously dedicated their time to introduce the youths to a potential career, represented many fields, including medicine, publishing, small business management, counseling, event planning, and much more.

An especially moving moment was the presentation of the first Pat Gregory Award to Beka El-Deiry, owner of Island Window Design. She was honored as a small business owner and for service to the community. She serves on the MVYLI Advisory Council, and works on the American Heroes Saltwater Challenge.

Mr. Gregory, a well-known and widely liked and respected businessman and community activist who was West Tisbury’s town moderator, died last May, robbed and shot while hiking with a friend, who was also shot but survived, in California. He had participated as a mentor for the MVYLI Job Shadow Day. Ms. El-Deiry had been Mr. Gregory’s student at the West Tisbury School, and he would often check in with her after she began her own business.

Student Maisie Jarrell, right, with her mentor Megan Honey.
Student Maisie Jarrell, right, with her mentor Megan Honey.

Ms. El-Deiry fondly recalled days in Mr. Gregory’s classroom, and how he inspired students with his passion for computers, which were new at the time.

“He is a model for all things we all strive to be,” said Ms. El-Deiry. “I’m very honored. He will be in my heart forever.”

Dorothy Gregory and their daughter, Shannon Gregory Carbon, watched from their table as the award was presented.

“My father believed in giving one’s time and the power of a guiding hand,” said Ms. Carbon later. “He would have loved seeing Beka honored for her work.”

Patti Leighton of the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank served as emcee, welcoming the audience, thanking the hotel, and speaking briefly about the Job Shadow program.

“It gives the student a leg up, not only educationally but as a person,” Ms. Leighton said.

She added that the program provides a valuable growth opportunity for the students, and for the entire community, which will benefit from their contributions as they mature and participate as adult citizens. Ms. Leighton called each pair to the podium for a photo, and presented students with certificates of achievement.

Students with aspirations

First up was Ben Nadelstein, briefly abandoning his video camera to receive his certificate. Ben had been busy videotaping the event and interviews with each student-mentor duo in the Harbor View’s lobby.

Ben, a sophomore, said he hopes to learn all about video work during his mentorship with Kevin McGrath, high school librarian.

“I had heard that Ben was the next Jon Stewart,” quipped Mr. McGrath, saying that he was looking forward to working with the enthusiastic young videographer.

“Elijah is a model young man!” said businessman Norman Hall of his mentee, Elijah LaRue.

Elijah had explained his goals briefly, saying that he had already gained valuable insights about business management from Mr. Hall, and was excited to learn more.

But Mr. Hall said the high school junior had shared other aspirations when they met that impressed him deeply. Elijah told him he was once a member of Young Brothers to Men at the regional high school, and that he and his friends want to revive the group. He also wants to mentor young people when he gets older.

“Here’s a young man who wants to help other people,” said Mr. Hall, “and I want to help him.”

Senior Kristine Hopkins visited Leslie Hurd Tully’s publishing office when staff was immersed in the final magazine-production process.

“Kristine really observed and asked good questions,” said Ms. Tully.

“She has such love and care for each of her patients,” said Taynara Goncalves, a junior, who spent a day shadowing family pediatrician Julia Stunkel, M.D., at her Martha’s Vineyard Hospital office.

When junior Lucie Dougherty-Soares shadowed Jennifer Neary, program director at Connect to End Violence, she was struck by the challenges staff face in working with clients in difficult situations.

As her mentor, Ms. Neary offered practical advice: “Regardless of what is going on in everyday life and work, it’s all about self-care. Take care of yourself.”

Junior Maisie Jarrell was bustling around during the reception, trying out skills learned while mentoring in event planning with Megan Honey, Harbor View special events manager.

“I really love weddings,” she confided. “I think it’s magical how they come together. I felt event planning would be a great career.”

But Maisie said despite her positive experience, she wants to explore many other careers before choosing.

Noah Kienhenz spoke about his future plans and hopes.
Noah Kienhenz spoke about his future plans and hopes.

Other participants included student Kelsey Moreis with psychology professional Grace Burton-Sundman; Noah Kleinhenz, who pursued his interest in environmental engineering by studying with marine biologist Emma Green Beach of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group; Emily Hazell explored small business ownership with Beka El-Deiry. Freshman Lila Norris joined Maisie Jarrell in learning the basics of event planning.

“The more experience you get when you’re younger, the more you know what you want to do when you’re older,” said Ms. El-Deiry about the value to students of working with a mentor.

“When we invest in financial world, we see good dividends,” said Ms. Leighton as the event wound down. “But when we also invest in our youth, it comes back twofold.

“This can let them try a career path without costing their parents money. By the time they get to college, they have a better idea of what they want to do.”

MVYLI is a project of the Stone Soup Leadership Institute, a nonprofit educational organization founded on the Vineyard in 1997 by Marianne  Larned. It is dedicated to developing tools, programs, and community initiatives that inspire young people to address the critical issues they face — personally, locally, and globally.

According to Ms. Larned, Job Shadow Day is one aspect of a year-round program for MVYLI participants. Students are nominated by individuals or organizations in the community, and gather for a weeklong Youth Leadership Summit in June. Activities during the school year include weekly meetings, community service projects, and college visits, and students may receive help with college and scholarship applications. Vineyard youth ages 14 to 22 are welcome to apply, and all activities are free.

For more information, go to mvyli.org. For details on how to nominate a young person contact: mvyouthleaders@gmail.com.

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The special election will fill the post left vacant by the murder of Pat Gregory.

West Tisbury selectmen are mulling the future use of the town's former police station. — File photo by Michael Cummo

West Tisbury selectmen voted unanimously at their weekly meeting on July 30 to choose a new town moderator at a special election held in conjunction with state and federal elections on November 4. Voters will be asked to choose a replacement for longtime moderator Francis “Pat” Gregory, who was murdered while hiking in northern California in May.

Mr. Gregory was found dead of a gunshot wound on May 16 on the Iron Canyon Trail off Highway 36E, north of Red Bluff, Calif. A companion who was hiking with him was wounded. They were robbed before being shot. Police continue to search for the murderer.

In other action Wednesday, selectmen discussed the use of the old police station building next to the Mill Pond, vacated when police moved into their new station on State Road this spring.

The 1,000-square-foot building is on a small lot and comes with a parking restriction of three vehicles. The lot is so small and so close to the Mill Pond that the septic system was sited on a neighboring residential lot owned by Peter and Beatrice Nessen with the condition that the lot would only be used for the police station.

Selectman Richard Knabel said that any change of use could invalidate the terms of the septic agreement and would give the Nessens the option of disconnecting the system. Chairman Jeffrey “Skipper” Manter said the Nessens have indicated that they would be willing to consider new tenants for the building.

Last month, a committee appointed by the selectmen to study the building’s use recommended that the building be leased to a nonprofit group but was not more specific.

Town administrator Jennifer Rand said that in order to meet state guidelines for the rental of municipal property at less than the best price, a request for proposals (RFP) would would have to identify specific public benefits as determined by the selectmen.

“The state is quite clear that if it is to be disposed of, and a lease is considered disposed of, for less than fair market value, a valid public purpose must be defined,” Ms. Rand said. “The primary purpose must be to promote the public welfare with a fair and open disposition.”

She said the board would have to determine what their goals are. She said that she will keep the Nessens informed of the town’s decisions.

Mr. Manter asked that the issue be put on the agenda for the next selectmen’s meeting, on August 6.

F. Patrick Gregory of West Tisbury died on May 16, 2014. While hiking on a beautiful remote trail in Red Bluff, California, he was the victim of a robbery and homicide.

Pat Gregory.
Pat Gregory.

Pat was born April 6, 1945, and was raised in the Adirondack Mountains and Plattsburgh, N.Y. He graduated from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., majoring in economics and math. Pat married Dorothy Lacombe weeks after graduating from college. He went on to receive Masters’ degrees from the University of Hawaii and Florida Institute of Technology.

Pat was a teacher at heart. Whether he was coaching a ball team, helping solve a computer problem, or playing with his grandchildren, he could make reluctant learners smile and try just a little harder. The Tisbury School brought Pat and his family here in 1971; he had no idea Martha’s Vineyard was an island.

He began teaching at the “new” West Tisbury School the first year it opened its doors, in 1974. For years Pat and Dorothy would rent out their Otis Bassett Road home and leave the Island to work at summer camps in Maine and New Hampshire. In 1991 he began serving West Tisbury as the town moderator, often calling on former students during debate.

For the past 30 years, Pat, alongside Dorothy, ran the family business of EduComp. Pat was instrumental in bringing computer technology to the Island. He served on numerous boards over the years including Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, M.V. Youth Soccer, M.V. Hospice, M.V. Public Charter School, Daybreak Club House, and he was an active participant in NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). His most recent devotion was to Vineyard House, a safe home for those in addiction recovery, which is starting to build a campus in Vineyard Haven.

Pat’s life was never complete without sports. When he took on an activity, he did it with passion and an eye for data. A star athlete in high school basketball, Pat coached Little League in college and completed marathons in Newport and Boston. He started coaching soccer when his son was six years old and went on to become a soccer referee for the MVRHS team and recreational leagues. This past fall he came off the soccer sidelines when his grandson’s team needed a coach.

Golf provided hours of leisurely outdoor companionship with his “usual cast of characters.” Often he would go over to Mink Meadows by himself at the end of the day to shoot nine holes and be home in time for dinner. Neither rain nor cold could stop him.

Pat leaves behind many friends — too many to count. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy; his daughter, Shannon, and son-in-law, Dan Carbon, of Edgartown, his son, Timothy, and his girlfriend, Chelsea Vandenameele, of Boynton Beach, Fla.; grandchildren Jack and Bess Carbon; his mother, Elizabeth Sullivan Gregory, and his sister, Kathy Heatherton, of Plattsburgh, N.Y.; as well as numerous other family members. Pat was predeceased by his father, Francis Gregory, his brother, Stephen Gregory and his sister, Mary Gregory.

A memorial service was celebrated at the West Tisbury Agricultural Hall on May 28, followed by a potluck. A private burial was held at the Lambert’s Cove Cemetery.

In life, Pat was a man of wisdom, warmth, and humor who gave greatly of himself. We know he would want to thank everyone for supporting our family with such grace throughout this most trying time.

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Speakers at the service Wednesday remembered a man whose life, marked by civic and family commitment, was cut short.

Joseph Arceri, Pat Gregory's college roommate, spoke to mourners from the lectern Mr. Gregory commanded at West Tisbury town meetings. — Photo by Ralph Stewart
Shannon and Daniel Carbon were preceded by their son, Jack, as they moved to their seats.
Shannon and Daniel Carbon were preceded by their son, Jack, as they moved to their seats.

Hundreds of stricken Islanders, and especially West Tisbury residents whose civic debates Pat Gregory moderated for 23 years, gathered on Wednesday afternoon at the Ag Hall to come to grips with Mr. Gregory’s death at the hands of a murderous robber in California. Husband, father, grandfather, teacher, businessman, friend, genial, optimistic, and modest, Pat — everyone called him Pat, and still do — had, over his years in residence and his leadership of municipal decision making, combined, in the minds of many, all the characteristics West Tisbury residents cherish in their neighbors.

Three generations of Gregory women — Dorothy with her granddaughter Bess and daughter Shannon — smiled to well wishers after the service.
Three generations of Gregory women — Dorothy with her granddaughter Bess and daughter Shannon — smiled to well wishers after the service.

Bright Celtic music welcomed the crowd, which by their numbers delayed the start of the scheduled 4 pm memorial service, but the tunes fell upon a solemn audience, given occasionally to deep silence. Somberly, friends greeted friends, and often in the hugs sadness and tears, flimsily dammed, threatened.

Besides the sadness, there was anger, as Pat’s daughter, Shannon Gregory Carbon, acknowledged. She said she understood that people were angry because of the  circumstances of her father’s death, but she was affected otherwise. She had recalled, in her description of her father, that he held that “the stories we tell of each other keep people alive” after death, creating a sort of heaven on earth. Her father, she said, “knew of life’s sorrow, but he wasn’t impressed.”

Dorothy Gregory with her granddaughter Bess Carbon.
Dorothy Gregory with her granddaughter Bess Carbon.

On May 16, Francis Patrick Gregory, 69, and a 76-year-old friend and hiking companion from the small nearby town of Manton, California, were not far from a trailhead just off heavily traveled Highway 36E, north of the county seat of Red Bluff in Tehama County, when they encountered a man who robbed and then shot them. The men did not resist, police confirmed. Tehama County law enforcement is investigating, and the sheriff has said his department expects to arrest the robber though he has not discussed in detail the progress his detectives have made.

The cavernous Ag Hall was filled, an historic crowd many times larger than any over which Pat presided, or earlier in the annals of West Tisbury history. Cynthia Mitchell, a selectman, represented the town. She described Pat as a moderator with “boundless energy,” who mounted the meeting stage and grasped the podium delightedly, but who was careful and measured in his leadership, to allow civic debates to air all sides. And, most of all, he liked to “move things along,” and he would at times seize on a pause for breath in Ms. Mitchell’s official remarks at a meeting, to say, “Thank you, Cynthia,” as if she were finished, and then open the meeting to comments from voters.  She was amused by what she called the “running joke” between Pat and her, but in the telling of it, she needed to pause often to compose herself.

Pat's son, Timothy, remembered his dad.
Pat’s son, Timothy, remembered his dad.

Ms. Mitchell brought word that the Massachusetts House of Representatives, on a motion by state Representative Timothy Madden of Nantucket, suspended its business on May 19 for a moment of silence, to recognize Mr. Gregory’s public service.

Joseph M. Arceri, a friend of Pat’s since they were teenagers and at college together, recalled 50 years of their close association. He described Pat as an optimist, joyful, zestful, “everything was an adventure to Pat.” And, of Pat’s wife Dorothy, Mr. Arceri said, it was “always Pat and Dorothy.” The Arceris and the Gregorys had double dated in college, dined and vacationed together, and Pat, Mr. Arceri recalled, had often said that he had married the love of his life.

Father Michael Nagle and Rev. Cathlin Baker, who presided at the ceremony, comforted each other.
Father Michael Nagle and Rev. Cathlin Baker, who presided at the ceremony, comforted each other.

Daniel Lima Carbon, husband of Shannon and for the past four years a partner with the Gregorys in the Educomp business, said that as he and his father-in-law brainstormed about the future of their business, he was struck by Pat’s eagerness to move forward, even to take considered business risks. He wondered aloud whether Pat wouldn’t rather play more golf or travel more, or do whatever he liked. “Pat said, ‘I’m doing what I like.’ Pat was truly happy.”

Daniel Carbon, Pat's son-in-law and partner at Educomp, spoke of Pat's love for his work.
Daniel Carbon, Pat’s son-in-law and partner at Educomp, spoke of Pat’s love for his work.

Mr. Carbon thanked the Educomp staff — he said the Educomp “family” — for their unstinting support during the days since Pat’s death.

Mr. Arceri, whose fond memories of Pat were, he said, not intended as a eulogy, explained, “There’s no need for a eulogy for Pat. You all knew him. Everyone knew him, and he enjoyed all of those relationships. Knowing him is best.” But, Mr. Arceri added that if a eulogy were in order, his friends could “pay forward his goodness to others,” and that would do.

Molly Conole, a member of the Educomp staff, added the lovely “An Irish Blessing,” which she composed, sang, and accompanied on the flute – “May the road come up to meet you, and the wind be always at your back…”

Islanders, more than 1,000 of them by some estimates, came together in many ways at the service.
Islanders, more than 1,000 of them by some estimates, came together in many ways at the service.

An inspired choice in the occasion’s program, decorated with a photograph of Pat at the West Tisbury town meeting podium — also used on the low stage in the Ag Hall Wednesday — were these few and definitive lines by Robert Burns:

An honest man here lies at rest

As e’er God with his image blest.

The friend of man, the friend of truth,

The friend of Age and guide of Youth;

Few hearts like his with virtue warm’d,

Few heads with knowledge so inform’d:

If there’s another world, he lives in bliss;

If there is none, he made the best of this.

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Lieutenant Yvette Borden, a spokesman for the Tehama County (California) Sheriff’s Office, said yesterday that there are no new leads in the investigation into the robbery and murder of Francis “Pat” Gregory.

Late Friday morning, on May 16, Mr. Gregory, 69, and his hiking companion, a 76-year-old male friend from the small nearby town of Manton, were not far from the trailhead just off heavily traveled Highway 36E when they encountered the man who robbed and then shot them.

Tehama County sheriff’s detectives are searching for a white Chevrolet Silverado that they said might be linked to the May 16 murder.

Lt. Borden, in an email to The Times Wednesday, said, “I have no new news. We are still looking for the vehicle and the driver as a person of interest. This person has not yet been identified.”

Ms. Borden said the surviving victim is still stable.

Police have not identified the man out of concern for his security and safety.

Last week, police released a sketch of the suspect and upped a reward for his arrest and subsequent prosecution and conviction from $1,500 to $5,000.

Flowers and messages left on the front stoop of the Educomp building in Vineyard Haven were just one indication of the community's devotion to Pat Gregory. — Photo by Nelson Sigelman

A memorial service and celebration of the life of Pat Gregory, who was robbed and murdered while hiking in California on May 16, will be at 4 pm, Wednesday, May 28, at the Ag Hall in West Tisbury.

There will be a potluck gathering following the Wednesday service. Attendees are asked to bring a dish.
In honor of Mr. Gregory the West Tisbury town hall will close at 3:15 pm, Wednesday, the West Tisbury library will close at 3:30 and the Chilmark town hall will close from 3:30 until 5 pm.

In addition, the reception featuring the work of Ed Schulman, scheduled for 4 pm to 6:30 pm at the MV Film Center, has been rescheduled for Thursday, June 5 from 4 pm to 6:30.

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However accustomed to the rhythms of life we think we’ve become, unimaginable events intrude and overtake our faculties and our capacity for comprehension and expression. Pat Gregory, a man of rare centrality to Vineyard life, has been mindlessly taken away from us; we are angry and diminished and chilled, reminded again that we borrow but never own the instruments of civility which nourish and protect our community.

Pat Gregory’s individual acts of kindness, the range of his interests, his sacrifices to the public exercise of citizenship, and his grace and humility made him of our community in a unique way. Ever the teacher, Pat’s legacy is not the hole that his death has left behind, it’s the caring friend and neighbor he’s shown we each can be.

What follows is a selection of the more than 70 reader comments posted to MVTimes.com.

Peter Oberfest

Madeline Fisher

Dear Gregory family, My heart goes out to you as family…this is an incredibly terrible loss and my prayers are with you.

Sandie Corr-Dolby

Always a Gentle-man, with a smile and caring nature that was sincere. I’m so sad, we have lost one amazing man!

Laurie Welch

This is an outrage. I am so sad for the Gregory family and the Island community. My heart aches. I am so sad. You are all in my thoughts and prayers ♥

Sara Piazza · Owner at Sara Piazza Photography&Music

This is unfathomable. It makes no sense whatsoever. May God grant strength and comfort to Pat’s family and to all of us.

Ellen Northrup · Marthas Vineyard Regional High

I am so sad. He personified decency.

Fifi Gabel-Jorgensen

Heartbreaking, senseless, devastating. God bless him, I wish, wish, wish with all my heart that this wasn’t true.

Mary Gould ·West Tisbury, Massachusetts

I hope I’m dreaming. What crazed animal would rob and then kill such a good human being?

Alice Robinson

We are all the richer for having known Pat and all the poorer for losing his gentlemanly presence. He showed us that it is possible to remain civil to one another when there are so many examples of the opposite in our world. My heart goes out to Dorothy and all their family & friends.

Frank Flanders · Marthas Vineyard Regional High

My heart goes out to this wonderful family. Pat has always been a very personable individual whose caring seemed unending. The family and all whom he was involved with have lost a great friend. May you rest in peace my friend and may your family find comfort. You will be greatly missed. My heart aches at the loss of such a gentleman.

Bill MacKenty · Director of Technology at American School of Warsaw

This is a terrible tragedy, meaningless and wrenching. I remember Pat in Educomp, what a decent, good, kind man.

Adam Darack · Semester at Sea

Beyond horrible. There was not a nicer, more genuine, universally beloved person than Pat. Though I don’t know his family but if they are reading this, please know that I am one of thousands here in your community thinking of you, here for you, and mourning Pat. I’m also reminiscing about some funny conversations we’d have when randomly bumping into each other on Main St about how technology is supposed to work but, even as computer people, how sometimes we’d shake our heads at how it refused to cooperate. This is a tragic loss and the shock is impossible to measure.

Robert Abbey · Design Committee Volunteer at Gardiner Main Street

Pat Gregory was always a terrific supporter of the Island schools and actively advised and helped us implement then unknown technologies. He was able to work with anyone in such a friendly and engaging way. It’s hard to make meaning from this, but Pat’s life was truly of note.

Melinda Loberg · Smith College

So very sad! The island has lost one of its finest citizens and friends. God rest your soul Pat. You will be missed and remembered with love and respect.

Jan Pogue · Follow · Edgartown, Massachusetts

Speechless with sorrow

Larry Greenberg · Owner/Clinician at Greenberg Physical & Hand Therapy Associates

What a decent, gentle, kind, compassionate, intelligent and fine man. Struggling with such a senseless act. Heartfelt sympathies to Dorothy and their children. Pat was the best example of humankind.

Island Images

So shocking that such a decent, kind and upbeat person should be lost in such a senseless way.

Jyl Manning · Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

My sincere sympathies to the “Gregory” family. I have known Pat through soccer when his grandson, Jack, played with my grandson. Pat pitched right in and helped coach! I previously knew him from the Tribe, and the computer tech work he did with and for us. I am a loyal customer to his store as well. He will be so missed by the West Tisbury community, and the Island. I am filled with grief for his wife and family, and just to say: This world was a better place for Pat being in it. My prayers are with his family at this time. I am so very sorry.

To the Editor:

The Tehama County Sheriff’s office is offering a $1,500 reward for information leading to the capture of the man who murdered Pat Gregory. They accept donations to the reward fund. If you want to add to the reward for the capture of Pat’s murderer, send a check to Tehama County Sheriff’s Office, Secret Witness Program, P.O. Box 729, Red Bluff, CA 96080.

Please be sure to indicate you are contributing to the reward fund for the murder of Francis Patrick Gregory.

Ebba Hierta

West Tisbury

To the Editor:

Although I never met Pat Gregory, I am profoundly saddened by his shocking and senseless murder. He represented the highest values of the Martha’s Vineyard community. My heartfelt condolences especially to his family and friends, and also to Vineyarders who, like me, didn’t know him but will feel the loss of his generous spirit very much.

Ann Lees