Elisha R. Smith, dead at 90

Mr. Smith spoke as part of a panel discussion in October 2011 about farming on Martha's Vineyard, past and present. — Photo by Susan Safford

Elisha R. Smith, 90, of Vineyard Haven died on Friday, March 22, at home and surrounded by his family.

Mr. Smith was a well liked and much respected member of the Island community, especially the agricultural community, who began farming with his own pigs and chickens at the age of six, and continued earning part of his living off the land until shortly before his death.

Born in Oak Bluffs to a farming family, Mr. Smith served in a variety of civic functions, including chairman of the Conservation District of Dukes County, and president of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, and a director of the Rotary Club.

He is survived by his wife, Denise M. Smith; his son, E. Ralph Smith and his wife, Tammy; and two daughters, Carol Pearson and her husband, Ray, and Jody Battistini and her husband, Paul. Mr. Smith is also survived by his sister Leona White and her husband, Lester, and by seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his previous wife, Phyllis Clark, and his daughter, Rosemary Donnelly.

A graveside service was held in the Smith Cemetery, on Barnes Road near the Blinker, on Tuesday, March 26, at 11 am. The Rev. Roger Spinney led a masonic service provided by the Oriental-MV Masonic Lodge.

Donations may be made in his memory to the M.V. Agricultural Society, P.O. Box 73, West Tisbury, MA 02575.

Arrangements are in care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.

A full obituary will follow.