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    Joanne Hart Shepard died on Jan. 24 in Fort Collins, Colo. with her family at her side. She was 87.

    She was born on June 17, 1929 in New Britain, Conn. in her great-grandfather’s house on Lexington street, which is now the New Britain Museum of American Art. Having lost her mother at an early age, Joanne and her sister, Martha, grew up at the Wayside Farm with not only her father, Ted Hart, but grandparents Maxwell and Louise Hart, her aunt Maxine, and cousin Sandy as well. Harthaven was her second home, where entire summers were spent surrounded by multiple generations of cousins and friends. She enjoyed all the fun offered by this close-knit, fun-loving clan, including hanging out at the East Chop Beach Club, sailing catboats, horseback riding up-Island, beachcombing for sea glass, enjoying legendary clambakes and, of course, catching stripers and blues with her dad. As a young lady, the summer cottage grew more active with the addition of her stepmother, Ruth, and her two daughters.

    She was a 12th generation Connecticut Yankee with roots going back to the Mayflower on her mother’s side. She attended the Vance School in New Britain and then endured long train rides to attend the Neatherwood School in New Brunswick, Canada with her cousin Carol Moore, and then Barnard College in New York city. The Depression and World War II formed her youth and, as with all families at the time, life was humble but enriched by the notion of shared sacrifice and the camaraderie offered by her extended family.

    While on the Vineyard she observed naval training beach landings on State Beach in preparation for the Normandy invasion. Her grandmother offered meals to the young Seaman Recruits and in return, Joanne learned bawdy drinking songs that are still sung today at family gatherings. Joanne recalled hurricanes where the Beach Road was closed and the only way into Harthaven was through the woods by the Tradewinds airstrip.

    It was on the Vineyard that she developed a lifetime love for tennis. Her graceful form was hard to miss. Tall and athletic, she rose through the amateur ranks and became a renowned mixed doubles partner. Competitive by nature, Joanne brought home more trophies than would fit in the house. Her tennis acumen took her to Puerto Vallarta as part of promotional tour sponsored by the Mexican government.

    She married John Shepard in 1949 and over the course of four years had three children. In 1963, economic opportunity beckoned and it was on to Winnetka, Ill. to raise the family along the north shore of Chicago. In later years, she resided in Evanston, Ill., where she became an excellent shade gardener when she wasn’t down at Elliott Park playing tennis along the shore of Lake Michigan. The family matriarch, a stoic New Englander, she doted over her flock and instilled timeless values that are manifested in three generations.

    She was preceded in death by her parents, sister, and her grandson Gary Armstrong Falk. She is survived by her children, Marti Halverson of Etna, Wyo.; Victoria Hunt of Fort Collins, Colo.; and Ted Shepard and his wife, Paula of Fort Collins, Colo.; her grandchildren Kristie Shifflettte and her husband, Matt of Chapel Hill, N.C., Sarah Hunt of Fort Collins, Colo., and Karen Skinner and her husband, Dan of Springfield, Ill.; granddaughter in law Kate Falk; and seven great-grandchildren.

    In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Foothills Gateway Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Adults Foundation, 301 Skyway Drive, Fort Collins, Colorado, 80525.

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    Catherine M. (Kay) Swift died Sept. 15, 2015 at the age of 91 with her son Alaric by her side. She was 91.

    Kay moved from Millis to the Island in 1952 after marrying her love, Dean R. Swift. She started her business career on the Vineyard at Martha’s Vineyard Bank in Vineyard Haven, starting as a teller and working her way up the administrative assistant to the president of the bank. Her next business endeavor was managing the office of Dean’s land surveying business until they sold the business and retired in 1991.

    Her other job was very important: she ran the Swift household. The house was always clean and there were always homemade cakes, cookies, snacks and food to be had, not to forget fresh bluefish from Dean’s boat or vegetables from his garden.

    Another aspect of Kay’s life was community involvement, including, first and foremost, the Roman Catholic Church. Whenever the church beckoned, she answered the call. At any given moment she could be serving on and acting as the secretary of the parish council, serving on the financial council, scheduling the lectors and Eucharistic Ministers, and acting herself as a Eucharistic Minister. Her hard work earned her the Marian Medal. Kay’s work with the Church did not end there, for up until a few months before her death, she was in charge of the St. Vincent DePaul Society, which was a job she thoroughly enjoyed.

    There was a civic end to Kay’s life, too. For over a decade, she was a member of and then head of the Tisbury Conservation Commission. This was another surprise in her life, as she knew nothing of the task she was about to undertake. She was a fast learner, and with the help of a few friends and the ability to apply her knowledge of Dean’s surveying business she was able to undertake this new endeavor and succeed. She was a truly remarkable woman.

    She was predeceased by her husband, Dean, her daughter in law Nancy G. Smith-Swift, her brother in law Paul Swift, her brothers John, James, and Thomas Moran, and her nephew Paul Swift. She is survived by her son Alaric Swift and his fiancée Lisa Crabtree of Vineyard Haven, her sister Anne Swift of North Attleboro, and her sister Ellen Delaney of Walpole. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews, great nieces and great nephews, and great grand nieces and nephews.

    There will be a graveside service on June 23 at 1 p.m. at Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven. Per Kay’s request, there will not be a reception and in lieu of flowers please donate to the charity of your choice.

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    Robert G. Potter Jr., known to many as Bob, died peacefully at his home on Pimpneymouse Farm on June 13. He was 91.

    He was born August 5, 1925 in Boston, the eldest son of Robert G. Potter and Priscilla Howland Potter. He shared with his two siblings, Hope Hickok and Samuel B. Potter, strong interests in the natural world, visual arts and books.

    He grew up in Brookline. His fondest memories were of summer days with his family and a close circle of friends in Middletown, R.I. It was at Third Beach that he developed a lifelong love of body surfing. His early arboreal activities led to several mishaps — a school ban on tree climbing and a broken leg — but presaged an enduring interest in trees and woodlands.

    He graduated from Milton Academy and returned to his beloved Camp Kieve in Maine to lead summer wilderness trips until he was called to serve in the Pacific during World War II. His favorite memory from being stationed on the island of Kauai was the spectacular coastal views during dump runs. Bob was part of the ground forces sent to Japan, where he served as a documentary photographer.

    During his Army years he courted his future wife, Edo Welch, through long, descriptive letters that she cherished. They were married on June 7, 1947 in Boston, and moved to Cambridge when Bob enrolled in Harvard College, where he majored in sociology. After graduating in 1950, he went on to pursue a master’s degree and Ph.D. in the same field. He moved his young family to New Jersey to continue dissertation research at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University. He was invited to continue his research at Princeton after receiving his Ph.D. In 1962 he accepted a faculty position at Brown University that included undergraduate and graduate level teaching and independent research, and moved his family to Providence, R.I.

    While at Brown, he did research on the biostatistical aspects of demography. He developed a computer simulation model that could trace the impact of family planning practices on birth rates. His work in demography took him to such places as Thailand, Taiwan and the UN in Geneva. He received grants from the Ford Foundation and NIH to support his independent research work. He was a pioneer in using early computers and mathematical models to analyze demographic data.

    He had a particular love of tennis throughout his life. He reportedly started hitting a tennis ball against the side of his family’s house at age five and later became captain of the Milton tennis team in his senior year. He enjoyed playing doubles on Chappy’s clay courts during the summer and at the Vineyard Tennis Center in the winter for many years. An intense competitor, he was described as a master of touch.

    From early days on Chappy, he particularly enjoyed surfcasting at dawn at Wasque Point and also swimming and windsurfing. He and Edo loved to cruise in nearby waters and Maine and go on natural history trips with close friends. They moved from Providence to Chappy full time when Bob retired from Brown in 1984.

    Bob managed the woodlands on Pimpneymouse Farm for 40 years under the Massachusetts Chapter 61 Forest Management program. He delighted in analyzing the ongoing complexity of the forest and relished taking action that “would stand favorite trees in good stead.” He selected and marked trees to be cut for firewood production as well as up to 20 cords a year of oak and pitch pine. Stacking firewood, brush cutting and trail maintenance were a fulfilling component of his Pimpneymouse Farm life.

    Birding was also a lifelong keen interest. He assiduously kept monthly and annual bird lists. At all times of year, he and Edo would drive around Chappy, particularly to Wasque and Cape Pogue, to observe birds and beach erosion activity. They liked to bring a picnic to Cape Pogue Pond beach no matter the weather. He and Edo hosted the Chappy bird count birders’ lunch for close to 30 years. He also enjoyed squash, pingpong, croquet, hiking, skating, downhill and cross-country skiing, canoeing, and photography.

    Bob is survived by his wife of 70 years, Edith Welch Potter, age 90; his four children: Sandy and her husband, John Williamson, Kathy and her husband, David Miller, Hatsy Potter, and Stephen and his wife, Lynn Potter; four grandchildren in descending order of age: Grier Potter and her husband, Drew Lederman of New York city, Elliot Miller and his wife, Jackie of Windham, N.H., Robert Potter 3rd of Santa Monica, Calif., and Whitney Miller of Marietta, Ohio; and his sister, Hope Hickok of Westport, Conn. The family wishes to thank Yvonne Matiwane, his devoted caregiver.

    The Rev. Cynthia Hubbard will lead a graveside service and celebration of his life on Saturday, June 24 at 11:30 a.m. at the Hickory Cove Cemetery on Chappy. All are welcome to attend the service, which will be followed by a gathering at Pimpneymouse Farm for refreshments and sharing memories.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, P.O. Box 1088, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or

    Arrangements are under the direction of Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home.

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  • 06/21/17--13:41: Baby Birds on Board
  • Fledglings are abundant now, and will be for the next month. They may or may not be with their parents.

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    I have been very happy in the cool damp days at the beginning of the week. It has been perfect planting weather.

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  • 06/21/17--14:05: Striking Slant Moths
  • I disagree with moth maligners and am amazed and fascinated by the yellow slant line moth and all its moth relations.

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  • 06/21/17--14:47: Marianela Arrives
  • Kiely Rigali and Saiid Rivera of Edgartown announce the birth of a daughter, Marianela Juliet Rivera Rigali, born June 17 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

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  • 06/21/17--14:52: Herreshoff Cup Regatta
  • The fourth annual Vineyard Herreshoff Cup Regatta will be held on Menemsha Pond on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25.

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    The season of worship at Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs officially begins this Sunday, June 25.

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    The following cases were heard in Edgartown district court.

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    The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank reported revenues of $161,000.02 for the business week ending on Friday, June 16, 2017.

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    James and Laura Jacobson purchased 19 West Farm Road in West Tisbury from Simon and Brooke Bartletta for $1,237,500 on June 16.

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    Kate Wignall designed her winning Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair poster based on the town signs on the Vineyard. She modeled the energetic sheep on her dog Piper.

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    At a well-attended public hearing Tuesday, Falmouth residents urged Steamship Authority governors to eliminate freight service from Woods Hole prior to 6:30 a.m.

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    The hospital board of trustees has called a meeting for this weekend to review the recent firing of president and chief executive officer Joe Woodin, board chairman Timothy Sweet said Thursday.

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    Mill Brook has been the topic of intense study and debate in recent years, much of it focused on Mill Pond. The freshwater river system provides some of the only cool-water fish habitat on the Vineyard.

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    A history teacher took responsibility for painting over three murals in the halls of the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School late last week, an incident that sparked widespread controversy.

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  • 06/22/17--14:56: Grace Under Fire
  • Two unrelated events have sparked an uproar in the Island community in the past two weeks, fueled by the power of social media.

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  • 06/22/17--15:02: Sailing Kudos
  • Zach Lee of Chilmark won the single-handed race from Newport to Bermuda on his sailing vessel Yankee Girl.

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