Fala Freeman


Fala Jane Freeman died peacefully at home on June 8, 2024, at the age of 77.

She was born the second of four children to Cedric and Jilma Freeman in La Ceiba, Honduras, and at the age of 7 moved with her family to northern New Jersey, where she grew up. She first came to the Vineyard in the mid-’70s, and stayed, finding home in the Island community for the remainder of her life. She married Thomas Grew in 1979, and in 1982 she gave birth to their son, Tristan.
She worked for many years in retail, and later got into real estate, working for numerous Island real estate offices before getting her broker’s license and starting her own company, Lagoon Pond Realty. She grew proficient in both gardening and as a cook, and was very involved from the 1980s on in the early Island food cooperatives, from the Island Food Co-Op to Home Grown, to the slow food movement. She was also an EMT for the town Of Oak Bluffs during the late ’80s and early ’90s.

In recent years, Fala served on the board of assessors for the town of Tisbury, and was active in the Vineyard Democratic Party.

She had a very adventurous spirit, and life highlights included her trip around the world in the late 1990s, as well as many sailing trips up and down the New England coast, as well as sailing down to the Caribbean from the Vineyard.

She was a longtime dedicated and active member of Grace Episcopal Church, serving

as junior warden, and prior to that was on several church committees at Grace, not only contributing to Sunday after-church lunches, but a longtime volunteer at Grace Church’s lobster roll night every Friday in the summer months, and church community dinners in the off-season, for many years. A longtime animal lover, her beloved companion, a Yorkshire terrier named Bella, remained by her side until the end. 

Fala was a generous and thoughtful person who carried incredible ethics in business, loved her family and friends, and truly enjoyed long hours in her vegetable and flower gardens, daily swimming in the summer, cooking and hosting dinners and sauna nights for her friends and family, and serving the community she had known and called home for almost 50 years.

She was predeceased by her parents; her brother, Peter (Anita) Freeman; and her sister,

Janet (William) Houghton. Fala is survived by her loving son, Tristan Grew of Vineyard Haven and California; her granddaughters, Astraea and Aquinnah Grew of California and Minnesota; her brother, Tony Freeman of Key West, Fla.; her niece, Claudia Freeman; her nephews Peter and William Houghton; as well as many dedicated friends. She will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved her.

A memorial service will be held at Grace Church, later in the summer.


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