Richard Luce Doane


Richard Luce Doane of Tucson, Ariz., and West Tisbury — father, brother, husband — died in Tucson after a lengthy illness, with his family around him, and is now with God and the love of his life, Martha. He was 89.

Richard Luce Doane was born in Melrose on Dec. 4, 1926, to Arthur J. and Mary E. (Bonnar) Doane. He was the eldest of three children. His childhood and early adulthood were spent in Melrose and on family lands in West Tisbury. After graduation from Melrose High School in 1944, he joined the Army Air Corps and served proudly as an acting sergeant with the military police in Europe during the waning years of World War II. After the war, he studied architectural construction at Wentworth Institute in Boston.

On June 17, 1951, he married Martha Lois Howes of Vineyard Haven, and they 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, Ariz. Along the way, two more children were added to the family, Deborah and David. In Tucson they raised their family.

Richard worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory from its beginning in the 1950s, and eventually became operations manager at the mountain location. Upon retirement in 1988, he and Martha returned to West Tisbury, where they built a home on family lands. They split their time between homes on the Vineyard and in Tucson.

Always a hard worker, Richard was continually planning, designing, and building throughout his life, both professionally and for his family. He began his career as a finish carpenter, working on historic houses on Martha’s Vineyard. Kitt Peak was also the recipient of his design and building skills over his 30-year career with them. He was always adding innovative improvements at his work and to his homes.

Richard was predeceased by his beloved wife, Martha, and his parents. He is survived by his son Steven C. Doane, and wife Roseanne, of Sylva, N.C.; his daughter, Deborah S. Douthitt, and husband J. Scott Douthitt, of Oro Valley, Ariz.; his son David C. Doane and wife Kathleen, of Chandler, Ariz. He has four grandchildren: Lieut. Nathaniel Doane, USN (and wife Eileen) of Kaneohe, Hawaii; Laura Hawk (and husband Brad) of Oro Valley, Ariz.; Richanna Steffen (and husband Adam) of Bozeman, Mont.; and Christopher Doane of Chandler, Ariz. He also has a great-granddaughter, Adelynn Steffen. His brother, Robert (and wife RoseMarie), sister, Muriel Bye, three sisters-in-law, Theodora (Dora) Edwards, Rosemary Howes, and Ann Howes, also survive him, as do numerous nieces and nephews. Richard was respected and beloved by many. He leaves behind several close friends both from his childhood and from his later years on Martha’s Vineyard.

A memorial service will be held Oct. 14 at 11 am in the West Tisbury Village Cemetery, where Richard will be laid to rest beside his beloved Martha and among numerous grandparents and other relatives from throughout the centuries. In lieu of flowers, donations and memorials can be made to Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, P.O, Box 5277, Edgartown, MA 02539; 508-627-4440.