Nelson deBettencourt


Nelson deBettencourt (“Eric”) passed peacefully at home in California on Feb. 15, 2021, his 54th birthday, after a courageous battle with cancer. He was surrounded by his loving fiancée, Holly Bario, daughter Emily deBettencourt, and Holly’s children, Emma and Peter Bario, as well as his wonderful hospice nurse, Mary. 

Eric was born in Oak Bluffs on Feb. 15, 1967, to the late Nelson J. deBettencourt and Sandra Geddis deBettencourt. He attended the Oak Bluffs School and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, where he graduated with the class of 1985. 

Everyone knew Eric for his great sense of humor and a huge heart. In the ’80s he carried his boombox down Circuit Ave., blaring the hits and brightening everyone’s day. He was the class clown of the class of 1985, an honor he loved and deserved. Teachers still to this day recall what a joy Eric was to have in class. 

Eric was a man of many trades, who somehow seemed to master them all. There wasn’t anything Eric couldn’t fix, build, or take care of. From his first job at Reliable Market to his last job with Verizon, there were many notable accomplishments along the way. He dabbled in construction, plumbing, and electrical work. In his most recent years, he was able to combine many of these skills and do caretaking on the Island, which he enjoyed thoroughly. Though he was skilled in many different areas of life, Eric’s true passion was for the people he cared about. 

Eric was a deeply committed and proud father, a devoted fiancé, a protective older brother, a funny and playful uncle, a caring son, and a loyal, true friend. Eric loved a good game of golf, and will be deeply missed by the many who were lucky enough to play with him. In recent years, Eric loved to travel and meet new people. He loved to dance and sing, and attended parties, especially the ones that allowed for an iconic selfie opportunity. For his 50th birthday he went to Hawaii, and declared Maui was the best place on earth besides Oak Bluffs. He thoroughly enjoyed his “football picks” group, and loved to watch every game of the season, including watching Tom Brady win his seventh Super Bowl. Eric made friends wherever he went, and maintained these relationships over the years. 

Eric is survived by his children, Emily and Ben, his fiancé Holly and her children, Emma and Peter, his mother Sandra, his sister Melanie (Mike) Marchand, and his brother Mike (Erin) deBettencourt, as well as many nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was predeceased by his father, Nelson, who passed away last fall. 

Burial services will be private. A celebration of Eric’s life will be planned for later this year, when we can safely gather. In lieu of flowers, please consider a memorial gift to advance cancer research at UCLA. Donations may be directed to the UCLA Foundation, Attn. Heidi Saravia, P.O. Box 7145, Pasadena, CA 91109-9903 or online – Please indicate the gift as in memory of Nelson Eric deBettencourt, and supporting Dr. Shuch — Kidney Cancer Research 64439C.


  1. So deeply sorry for everyone’s loss. We only met Eric six years ago, when he dropped his daughter, Emily off for her first year of college at Stonehill. Emily and our daughter Jackie became fast friends and roomed together all four years. Through Emily, we became friends with Eric and the extended deBettencourt family. Eric’s love for Emily and Ben and Holly and her children were outmatched. He was a proud guy, who shamelessly gushed over the people he loved. I looked forward to cheering (or commiserating) with him over sports and current events. We looked forward to sharing happy events between our families. We will really, truly miss having him as a friend. Peter and Diane McLaughlin, Medford, MA

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