Nelson W. Amaral


Nelson William Amaral, 86, of Oak Bluffs died Tuesday, January 17, 2012 at home, surrounded by family. He was the husband of Eleanor (Klein) Amaral for 50 years.

Nelson was born in Oak Bluffs on August 26, 1925, to the late William R. and Helen (Nellie Sylvia) Amaral.

He graduated from the Oak Bluffs High School, where he had a perfect attendance record for all four years. He then graduated from a plumbing trade school in New Bedford. After that he joined Amaral Brothers, his family’s plumbing business on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. In 1969, Uniform Plumbing Code came into effect and Nelson became one of only two Licensed Master Plumbers on the Island.

When Nelson was just 14, he joined the Oak Bluffs Fire Department. During his 56 years in the department he served in many capacities. He started as a Junior Firefighter, worked his way up the ranks to Captain of Engine 4, and spent his remaining 35 years in the department as Fire Chief. Nelson instituted Fire Safety education in the Oak Bluffs School and with the 4-H groups.

Nelson served his community not only in the fire department but in numerous other areas, such as Gas Inspector, Plumbing Inspector, Finance Committee, Building Committee for the Everett A. Rogers Municipal Building, and as Pony League Coach.

Over the years Nelson served as President of numerous organizations, including M.V. Plumbers Association; M.V. Rod and Gun Club; Dukes County Fire Chiefs Association; and Tom’s Farm Neck Game Preserve and Chappy Sportsman Club. He has been an honorary member of the Oak Bluffs Firemen’s Civic Association, the Holy Ghost Society, and M.V. Rod & Gun Club.

Nelson was an avid outdoorsman who loved hunting, fishing, golfing, and shellfishing. He was a diligent steward of the Island’s natural bounty and a beloved mentor to many young men and women.

In addition to his wife, Eleanor, Nelson is survived by his children Jacquelyn Amaral of Lakeville, David Amaral of Oak Bluffs, Linda Dickson and her husband, Glenn, of Vineyard Haven, and Tracey Olsen and her husband, Keith, of West Tisbury; his grandchildren Meredith Amaral Cestrone and her husband, Jimmy, Beth Amaral, Amanda Dickson, Melanie Dickson, Nelson Dickson, and Aiden Olsen; his great-grandchildren Anthony, Teia, Farrah, and Faith Cestrone, Michael Dickson, and Benjamin Parker; his sister, Catherine Deese of Chilmark, his sister-in-law, Susan Klein of Oak Bluffs, his brother-in-law, Ronald Klein of California, and many nieces and nephews.

Nelson was predeceased by his siblings William and Albert Amaral, Phyllis Alwardt, Mary Jane Bergeron, and Bobby Ann Gibson.

Arrangements are under the care of Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit for an online guest book and information.

Visiting hours in the funeral home, will be on Friday, Jan. 20, from 6 to 8 pm.

His funeral service will be on Saturday, Jan. 21, in the funeral home at 12 pm and burial will follow in the Sacred Heart Cemetery, Oak Bluffs. A reception will follow at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs. Please bring a dish to share.

Memorial donations may be made in his name to the Oak Bluffs Fireman’s Civic Association, c/o Eleanor Amaral, P.O. Box 413, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, for the restoration of the sign on the Wing Road Fire Station that bears his name.