Jeanne Peltier Hewett, a longtime Vineyard resident, died peacefully on Feb. 26, 2023. She was 93.
Born in Louisville, Ky. on Oct. 10, 1929, to Pauline Bauman Marret and Henry D. Peltier, Jeanne’s formative years were lovingly influenced by Great Aunts Allie, Taddy, and Rene, and Aunt Marghie, with whom she and her mother lived after the Great Flood of 1937. Later, Jeanne’s essays and fondest memories would center around the traditions, homes, and cuisine of these honest and stalwart relatives.
Jeanne attended Atherton Girls High School and the Cincinnati Art Academy, where she met Edward (“Ted”) Hewett, also of Louisville, her husband of 64 years. Their Southern sensibility drew them together, and they were open-minded people who yearned to travel. They spent happy years in Italy while Ted was on a Fulbright scholarship, and when he became a professor of painting at Ohio State University, their life brimmed with art, music and ’60s “happenings” — in addition to parenting two young children. Still seeking travel experiences, they moved the family to England in 1970, and a year later settled permanently on Martha’s Vineyard. The Island had been the family’s summer home since 1966, and they loved its natural beauty and rich community of creative, thoughtful people.
Jeanne’s successful career as an artist and writer took hold on the Vineyard. She soon opened her colorful studio and storefront in Vineyard Haven, where she produced the iconic pillows, accessories, and textile art appreciated by friends, celebrities, and even a president. She loved volunteering as a judge for the textile arts at the Agricultural Fair each summer, and teaching grandchildren how to sew. Jeanne also blossomed as a creative writer, and her uniquely humorous and insightful essays were regularly published in the Vineyard writing literary journals and the Vineyard Gazette.
Even at 93, Jeanne still enriched us with joy and grace. In addition to being a gifted artist and writer, she was also a talented gardener, mahjong player, and master chef of eclectic southern cooking. She was an avid reader of the Victorian novel, current events, and anything about China. She sang beautiful harmony with friends, who would play guitar and banjo late into the night. Kentucky Derby parties, complete with betting and mint juleps, were an annual tradition. Jeanne was dedicated to her church community, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, and was counted on to make her delicious soups for all charity events. She was an engaged and loving mother and friend who listened, shared, and rarely judged.
Jeanne is missed by daughter Ainslie Vorel and husband Joseph, son Robert A. Hewett and wife Patricia, brother-in-law Ainslie Hewett, and grandchildren Jennifer and Gregory Vorel, Grace and Ruthann Hewett, and Matt and Chris Barstow.
Memorial donations can be made to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1236, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.