Ethel May Sherman


Ethel May Sherman, 91, of Chilmark died peacefully on Thursday evening September 4 at Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Oak Bluffs.

Ethel was born and raised in Taunton on May 27, 1923, the daughter of Alfred and Ethel (Burke) Judge. She graduated from Taunton High School and attended Bristol Community College for business classes. She worked at F.B. Rogers Silver Company in Taunton and then Wirthmore Research Farm as their secretary, where she met her future husband Ralph Sherman. On their first date, they went duckpin bowling.

She married Ralph in 1965 and lived in Berkley on Assonet Neck. She worked at Wheaton College until 1973. They moved to Martha’s Vineyard to manage and operate the SBS store. After retiring from there, Ethel moved on to working for Drs. Tsikitas and Westover in Edgartown for three more years and finally retired for good in 1989. After years of listening to people’s stories of the West Tisbury farmer’s market, Ethel tried her hand at making jams and preserves. She and Ralph (with his vegetables) worked the stand together at the market for years to come.

Ethel volunteered her time at the Chilmark School reading for the K-1 and K-2 grades. She was on the board of directors of the Up-Island Senior Center, and self-published two books, “Against Tremendous Odds” and “West Tisbury Farmer’s Market.”

She was an active member of the Chilmark Methodist Church.

She absolutely loved lobster rolls.

Ethel is survived by her husband, Ralph; her sister, Jeanne Perry of Taunton; her nephew, Michael Perry of MV; her niece, Andrea Pontes and her husband, Kenneth, of Berkley; her daughter-in-law Jackie Cage of Tisbury, grandsons R.J. Cage (and children), John David and his wife, Johanna, (and their children) of Southboro. Ethel is also survived by her son, Richard L. Bensing, and his wife, Sue, of Arkansas, (and their children). Ethel was predeceased by her brother-in-law, Francis Perry, in April of this year.

Her family wishes to thank Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Hope Hospice, and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for their care and kindness over the years.

A graveside service will be held at 1 pm on Sunday, Sept 14, in Abel’s Hill Cemetery, South Road, Chilmark. A potluck reception to celebrate Ethel’s life will follow in the Ag Hall, from 2 to 5 pm. Donations may be made in her memory to the Chilmark Methodist Church, 9 Menemsha Cross Road, Chilmark MA 02535.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road, Oak Bluffs. Visit for online guest book and information.