Kristin Maloney


Kristin Hodson Maloney died at her home in Chilmark on Thursday, Oct. 20, after a brave stand against cancer. She was 66.

The youngest of three children of William and Sonia Chase Hodson, Kristin was born on Oct. 4, 1950, in Paris, France, where her father was working with UNESCO. In 1954, William died in a plane crash on the way to join his family, who were on a home visit to the United States. With her three young children, Sonia moved to Hollin Hills in Alexandria, Va., where Kristin attended grade school.

In 1966, Kristin and her mother moved to Cambridge, and Kristin attended the Cambridge School of Weston as a day student. It was at school that she met her lifelong friend, Clarissa Allen of Chilmark. Some weekends, Clarissa stayed in Cambridge with Kristin; some weekends, Kristin accompanied Clarissa to the Vineyard, which she knew even then would be her home someday.

Kristin received a bachelor of arts degree from Marlboro College in Vermont in 1973, followed by a master’s in education from Lesley College in Cambridge.

While visiting her sister in Virginia in 1973, Kristin met John Maloney, who was visiting a friend and also lived in Cambridge at the time. In 1978 they married at St. Augustine’s Church in Vineyard Haven in a ceremony performed by John’s uncle, Fr. Edward Holleran, a Franciscan. They moved to Chilmark permanently that year.

From 1991 until her retirement in August 2016, Kristin worked at the Chilmark Public Library, where she was the assistant library director and children’s librarian. The work suited her perfectly: She enjoyed helping Chilmarkers find the right book to read, but above all she loved teaching and nurturing young readers. She was at her best when connecting with children, who responded to her gentle, warm, and encouraging approach. At her Stories and Songs programs on Tuesday and Saturday mornings, she welcomed each child individually, by name or by the shirt or dress or sneaks they wore. Accompanying herself on guitar, she sang parts of the books with the children. Her love for her work was apparent every day, and her legacy of stories, songs, and creating wonderful experiences at the library will be fondly remembered for a very long time.

For many years she chaired the Chilmark Beach Committee, which oversees Menemsha, Lucy Vincent, and Squibnocket beaches. Tackling the budget, overseeing staffing, protecting the beach for others was a labor of love for someone with a special affinity for the sand and the ocean, the sun on the dunes, and the moon over the waves. In summer she swam most days after work, sometimes until the middle of October. And she walked the beach twice a week, year-round, almost always with a dog chasing a tennis ball. She often greeted the full moon as it rose out of the ocean.

Kristin played the flute for the Island Sinfonietta for several years, and sang “The Messiah” at Christmas with the Martha’s Vineyard Community Chorus. Christmas was her favorite time of the year. She would brighten as it approached — trimming the tree, stringing lights, hoping for snow, and welcoming family and friends on Christmas day when she served prime rib and Yorkshire pudding to two dozen people as effortlessly as pouring a cup of tea. After dessert, she led everyone in singing carols around a tree magically lit by real candles.

She delighted in her family, whether at home in Chilmark or in New Mexico, where she visited her mother and stepfather, William Enoch, and her sister, Anika, in Abiquiu every fall. Trips to New Mexico often included skiing in Colorado, visits to Chaco Canyon, Taos Pueblo, and the Santa Fe Market. She loved the landscape of New Mexico and its bright sky and sweet, dry air, especially when she was with family hiking in the mountains or down among the cottonwoods along the Chama River.

Kristin leaves her husband of 38 years, John, and two sons, Kieran (Natalie Rentz) of Sonoma, Calif., whose first child will arrive any day now; and Owen (Erica) and their 2½-year-old daughter, Leona, of West Tisbury.

She is survived by her mother, Sonia, now 96 years old, and William Enoch of Abiquiu, New Mexico; also by her brother, Alan Hodson of Putney, Vt., and his three children: Bryce (Louise); Nicholas (Tara); and Phoebe; and by her sister, Anika Hodson of Abiquiu and her son, Russell, of West Tisbury.

A graveside service will be held at Abel’s Hill Cemetery in Chilmark at 1 pm on Saturday, Oct. 29, with the Rev. William Eddy officiating. Children are welcome. In lieu of flowers, donations in Kristin’s name may be made to the Chilmark Public Library, P.O. Box 180, Chilmark, MA 02535.