Helen Hartmann Black

Helen L. Hartmann Black of Edgartown passed away on Sept. 5, 2020, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s, with her husband and her children at her side. She was 75 years old.

Helen grew up in Dedham, and later settled there, where she and her husband Thomas J. Black raised their children Maria, Laura, and Thomas Jr. In 1996, Tom and Helen fulfilled their dreams of moving to Martha’s Vineyard, where they had vacationed for many years. 

Helen found joy in spending time with the people she loved. She derived her greatest happiness in making others feel special. She was the consummate entertainer, and a fabulous cook. When she and Tom moved to Edgartown, every visitor was treated to a great adventure filled with gourmet meals and beach excursions. When friends or family were facing challenging times, she was always there to lend a hand, share their pain, and offer words of encouragement. 

She faced the worst nightmare a parent can face when her daughter Laura passed away at age 11. Laura was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 5, and was not expected to survive much longer. Helen was determined that in the time she had left, Laura would live life to the fullest. That meant weekend camping trips to Sandy Neck Beach, time spent at Helen’s parent’s lake house for swimming, boating, and skating in winter, and yearly vacations to Martha’s Vineyard. Helen knew that the only thing that truly matters, the only thing that makes life worthwhile, is being with the people you love.

This is a philosophy Helen and Tom continued throughout their lives. While living on the Vineyard, Helen spent her time planting beautiful gardens and remodeling their home. She loved music, James Taylor in particular, and was ecstatic to have met him one winter day while visiting Lucy Vincent Beach. Every Sunday they drove their iconic baby blue pickup truck out to Chappy, where they spent the day at the Jetties on East Beach with friends. Much to Tom’s chagrin and their friends’ delight, she would bring a minimum of three coolers to the beach for the day, stuffed with all sorts of culinary delights she’d cook up on their grill. She loved to laugh, and did so often.

In addition to her husband Tom, Helen leaves her children, Maria Black of Edgartown, and Thomas Black Jr. of Westwood and his wife Sheila; their children Thomas Black III and Laura Black; siblings Martha Bonner of Dedham, Karl Hartmann and his wife Sheila of Little Compton, R.I., Peter Hartmann and his wife Sally of Sandwich; and many nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her parents, Karl Hartmann and Helen Spense Hartmann of Dedham and Westford; daughter Laura; and sister Maria Hartmann Kane of Norwood. 

The family asks that you consider donating in her memory to Windemere Nursing Home at windemeremv.org where they took incredible care of her during her final years. A private service was held in September, where family and friends said their final goodbyes.