William Denis Bassett


William Denis Bassett (“Boo”) died on Oct. 23, 2023, at Bourne Manor Extended Care in Bourne. Born on Dec. 21, 1946, he was 76 years old. 

His parents were Gordon and Rosalie Bassett of Edgartown, and he was the fourth of seven children who grew up on Morse Street and Peases Point Way, close to grandparents William and Rosalie Silva.

Boo grew up loving boats and the water, as well as playing sports. He excelled as an athlete, despite being badly burned in a childhood accident. He overcame his injuries to win awards for MVRHS in both football and track and field, and was awarded Athlete of the Year in 1965. After graduating, he lived in Montreal and Toronto, Canada, and Cambridge before returning to live on the Vineyard. His adventures continued; many remember the day the Black Pearl swept into Edgartown Harbor under full sail. When she left port, Boo was part of the crew, and traveled extensively in the Caribbean. He often visited his house in Nova Scotia, and often spoke of his love of the Cabot Trail.

Boo was a builder and designer, and built many houses on the Vineyard, most often working with his brother Tod. He led an Island life, fishing, hunting, and working on boats, most often with a dog at his side. He played third base on the Question Marks in the MV Fast Pitch Softball League, during which time they won four championships. A longtime member of the Edgartown trails committee, for a time acting as chair, he worked to keep ancient ways open to the public.

Perhaps his favorite job was working with Rick Karney and the M.V. Shellfish Group, working on Edgartown Great Pond growing oysters, as well as tending scallops in the hatchery on Chappaquiddick.

He loved and was proud of his four children, and leaves daughter Zoe Petricone and husband Mark, of Vineyard Haven, and his grandchildren Marco and Ava; daughter Hannah Alexandra Bassett of California; son Liam Bassett of Cape Cod; and son Heron Bassett and wife Cami of North Carolina. He also leaves sister Ann Bassett, brother Tod and partner Lee Taylor, brother Neale and wife Ellie, sister Lee Domont and husband Fred, brother Thomas and wife Polly, and sister Polly Bassett, all of Martha’s Vineyard, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Contributions in his memory may be made to the M.V. Shellfish Group, P.O. Box 1552, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. 

A memorial gathering will take place on Friday, Nov. 3 at noon at the P.A. Club in Oak Bluffs. All Boo’s friends are invited to join his family for lunch and to share stories and memories.


  1. Pam and I send our thoughts and prayers out to all the Bassetts at this sad time. Love Richard and Pam

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