Friends gather for Lucia Moffett memorial service

Anne Tenwick, Lucia's sister, from Ohio, standing with Trip Barnes, master of celebration. - Susan Safford

A memorial service celebrating Lucia Moffett’s life was held at her home in Edgartown last Saturday, overlooking Sengekontacket Pond. She died on Oct. 24, 2015.

Friends from all aspects of Lucia’s colorful life came to pay their respects and share stories. Her early days on the Vineyard, with her partner Bill Prokos, led to the opening of Helios Restaurant in the ’60s, remembered by many for its warm, welcoming atmosphere as much as for its authentic Greek cuisine. After Bill’s death in the ’70s, Lucia married George Moffett, and they traveled extensively, until George became ill and died in 1978. Helios finally closed in the early ’80s, and Lucia divided her time between New York City, Ireland, and her Vineyard home.

Lucia’s sister, Anne Tenwick, speaking of Lucia’s early years, said few people know that in seventh grade, Lucia came in sixth in the national spelling bee, that she was a great pianist, or that she was her class valedictorian. After spending her junior year abroad in Paris, she returned after graduation and lived on a houseboat: “She became a woman of the world.”

Emily Bramhall spent eight summers working at Helios, from the time she was 13. “Lucia was the bridge from my childhood to where I am now,” she said. “She believed in all of us as people.”

Julia Mitchell, also a former employee at Helios, read a letter from Joe Hall, who could not attend. “She was a collector of people, she put us together…. We were all her family.”

And Barbara Ward, longtime friend who knew Lucia both from the Vineyard and Ireland, quoted from Henry James: “Three things in human life are important: The first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.” And that epitomized Lucia Moffett.