Martha L.H. Doane


Martha Lois (Howes) Doane, 81, a longtime Vineyard resident, died on August 21, 2012 after a short hospitalization. She was surrounded by her family who had gathered together for some precious time together with her.

Born in 1930 in New Bedford to Theodore C. (Finn) Howes and Nellie (Johnson Conklin) Howes, Martha grew up on Skiff Avenue in Vineyard Haven as the fourth of six children. She attended school in Vineyard Haven until her senior year when she moved to St. Louis, Missouri, to pursue a singing career. She graduated from Clayton High School there in 1948.

After graduation, she returned to the Vineyard where she soon after met the love of her life, Richard L. Doane. They were married in 1951 and began their life together in the family home in West Tisbury. Their first son, Steven, was born during this time.

In 1954, the small family left the Vineyard to pursue a living. After living for short periods in California and New York, they settled in Tucson, Arizona. Two more children were added to the family, Deborah and David. There, Martha was busy as a homemaker raising her three children while her husband worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Martha became an accomplished artist working in china and oil painting, needlework, jewelry-making, and sewing. She kept extensive journals throughout her life and enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. In addition, she enjoyed bowling, golf, and participating in the Homemaker’s Club of Tucson. She entered her award-winning art and handwork often into the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair and volunteered her time each year to the Fair.

Martha and her husband built two homes together, one a cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona and the second on family lands off New Lane in West Tisbury. In 1988, they returned to the Vineyard after her husband’s retirement. In recent years, they spent winters in Tucson.

In her final days, Martha stated that she had been married 61 years to the love of her life, that she had three wonderful, successful children of whom she was extremely proud and that she had four wonderful grandchildren, of whom she was also very proud. She stated that she had done her job as wife and mother very well. If this was her time, she was ready. She fought well for her life; however, she passed peacefully and contentedly on her own terms.

Martha is survived by her husband, Richard L. Doane; her son Steven C. Doane, and his wife, Roseanne, of Sylva, N.C.; her daughter, Deborah S. Douthitt, and her husband, J. Scott Douthitt, of Oro Valley, Ariz.; her son David C. Doane and his wife, Kathleen, of Chandler, Ariz. She has four grandchildren: Lt. Nathaniel Doane USN (and wife, Eileen) of Port Orchard, Wash.; Laura Douthitt of Oro Valley, Ariz.; Richanna Steffen (and husband, Adam) of Bozeman, Mont; and Christopher Doane of Chandler, Ariz. In addition, Martha is survived by her sister, Theodora (Dora) Edwards; her sister-in-law, Ann Howes; her sister-in-law, Rosemary Howes; her brother-in-law, Lou Bourgault; her brother-in-law and wife, Robert and RoseMarie Doane; sister-in-law, Muriel Bye; and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.

She was predeceased by her parents; her brothers Robert (Bob) Howes, Richard (Dick) Howes, Theodore (Ted) Howes; and a sister, Mary Howes Bourgault.

Martha was laid to rest in West Tisbury Cemetery on August 25 amidst her loving family and close friends. In lieu of flowers and memorials, donations can be made to the Howes House of West Tisbury, Massachusetts (Up-Island Council on Aging, PO Box 3174, West Tisbury, MA, 02515). Martha was the grand-niece of Joseph Howes, for whom the house is named.