One was a year-round resident who taught music to Vineyard school children for nearly fifty years and handed out daffodils in the name of cancer research every spring. The other was a dynamic leader in the world of fundraising for academic and nonprofit institutions, a seasonal resident who quietly brought her considerable know-how to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and other Island nonprofits.
As far as we know, they never knew each other. But Dorothy Bangs and Carole Cohen had something in common: a deep love of the Island and a commitment to giving back.
Mrs. Bangs, who died this week at the age of eighty-eight, was a no-nonsense woman, married to the son of a Vineyard Haven grocer, happily grounded in her life as a teacher, mother and grandmother, reluctant to place herself in the public spotlight because she did what she did for reasons that had nothing to do with personal attention.
Mrs. Cohen, who died last week at the age of sixty-eight, had an equally full life that included a successful career, a family and a Vineyard house to fill with guests and grandchildren during the summer months. She didn’t have to get involved in Island affairs, but she chose to anyway because she understood the importance of Island nonprofit institutions such as Community Services, and the vital needs these institutions fill for year-round Islanders.
The Vineyard has never been just another summer resort renowned for its natural beauty; rather it is a place where the human landscape has long been enriched by a diversity of people who contribute their time to its betterment.
The fabric of Island life will be different without Dorothy Bangs and Carole Cohen, but even as we feel their loss we are confident that a new generation who cares just as ardently about the Vineyard will begin to take their place.
Let’s hope so.