William J. (“Bill”) Stafursky, 70, died unexpectedly and peacefully at home on Nov. 1, 2018.
He was born in Greenfield on March 28, 1948, to Bill and Norma (Whalen) Stafursky, and attended junior college until 1967. When he realized that he would be drafted, he enlisted in the Army. He was wounded within months of being “in country,” Vietnam, and as a sergeant finished his tour at Fort Dix, N.J. He moved his young family to the Island in 1971, and started working as a printer at DaRosa’s. Working with children as a chaperone for school trips or as Little League coach was fitted into his busy schedule. Throughout the 43 years of working as a printer and going out on sales calls, he befriended many, and became known to the Island businesses and school, hospital, and government communities.
In 1979, Bill married his wife, Margaret (Staples), a MVRHS teacher, and they lived in Oak Bluffs for 40 years, during which he actively worked on town boards and community projects. Bill had become a Mason early on in his life, and he served on the Tisbury planning board. He often said that Oak Bluffs was the only town for him. He was on the volunteer fire department of Oak Bluffs, the Oak Bluffs finance committee, the Oak Bluffs Democratic Committee, often as a delegate to state conventions, and the M.V. Democratic Committee. He actively participated on the Oak Bluffs School building committee, was the committee spokesman at town meeting to get the approval for the new elementary school, and saw the project through the many years it took to get it from planning to completion.
From 1978 to 1996, Bill was the co-promoter with his wife of the Tour of Martha’s Vineyard Pro-Am Race, held annually on Tivoli Day in September. As the race grew in size and importance nationally, he also attended many races as a USCF race official throughout New England. Then and later, he traveled to national and international events for Omega Timing. This experience came in useful when he was the starter for MVRHS track events.
During his realtor work with Wallace and Co., Bill became involved with the development and building of the Vineyard Golf Club. He helped with the process of getting that project through numerous boards and commissions on Island, and was proud to be a part of making it an awardwinning organic course in the country. Later, as an honorary member, he enjoyed trying to improve his game.
Bill also enjoyed the nature of the Vineyard, especially going to State Beach with his family and grandchildren. Rides up-Island, going to other beaches, and walking through Land Bank properties were favorite pastimes. In his later years, Bill enjoyed his travels out West to the National Parks of Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Zion, Bryce, and the Grand Canyon. Special to him were trips to Hawaii and San Francisco, and recently to New Orleans for the French Quarter Music Festival. Trips to Nebraska to visit his son Joshua and family were never taken often enough, nor were those taken to visit the rest of his family in Massachusetts. Trips along the East Coast and to Boston to museum exhibits, plays, Handel and Haydn performances, and family or friend visits were common.
In later years, Bill served on the Elderly Housing Board, and recently had joined the Oak Bluffs affordable housing committee, with special interest in veteran housing. He was a member of M.V. Mediation, and often helped veterans with legal and court proceedings as an advocate and mediator in jail or court.
His last three years as the veterans’ program director at Community Services were very special to Bill. Bill was devoted to helping and caring for the veterans on the Island. This job was a perfect fit for him, as he knew the Island so well and was able to match resources and people with one another. He started the veteran ID card program, coordinated dinners, organized the performances of the awardwinning play “Occupied Territories,” and often drove veterans to Providence for their VA appointments. He persistently worked with the M.V. Hospital and other VA offices to smooth out the process of getting services for veterans and their families. He passionately wanted all veterans to get the help and support that they needed and were entitled to for their service. The strength and love he showed to his family was extended to his veteran family.
The Vineyard had become home to him, and he embraced its natural beauty, but more importantly its people. Bill loved, cared for, and gave strength to his family, friends, colleagues, and veterans, and to the Island itself, with special concern for children and the disenfranchised. With his good nature, he listened well, and always worked to help others.
Bill is survived by his wife, Margaret; and his children, Joshua of Lincoln, Neb., Robert Edward of Lowell, and Monica (Robert) Crozier of Marlborough. He is survived by four grandchildren, Olivia and Noah Stafursky, and Amelia and Nora Crozier. He is also survived by his brother Robert (Robert King) of Westfield, and his brother-in-law, Carl Ruck of Hull.
Visiting hours in the Chapman, Cole, and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown Road in Oak Bluffs, will be held on Friday, Nov. 30, from 5 to 7 pm. Bill’s memorial Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 11 am in St. Augustine’s Church, Franklin Street in Vineyard Haven, and burial will follow in Sacred Heart Cemetery, on Vineyard Avenue in Oak Bluffs, with military honors provided by the veterans of Martha’s Vineyard along with a Masonic funeral service by the Oriental-Martha’s Vineyard Masonic Lodge.
Donations in his memory may be made to Veteran’s Services at M.V. Community Services, 111 Edgartown Rd., Vineyard Haven, MA 02568. Visit ccgfuneralhome.com for online guestbook and information.