Carl Manning Widdiss died early Sunday morning in Phoenix, Ariz., after enduring a five-year struggle with cancer. Three of those years were spent caring for and tending to the needs of his late mother, Gladys A. Widdiss.
Carl was formerly an Aquinnah selectman for nine years, an assessor, a firefighter and a constable. He served on the Aquinnah Resident Homesite Committee for 12 years and served on the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribal Housing Authority for more than 15 years. He was a Viet Nam veteran who had proudly served in the Marine Corps. He was an Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribal Elder, a descendant of the Bassett, Howwosswee, Jeffers, Manning and Smalley families.
Carl was the proprietor of Widdiss Recovery — a mechanic par excellence. His company was also responsible for towing, snow plowing and sanding, and whatever else he could do. His late uncle, Chief Donald Malonson, shared his knowledge of engines and mechanics with Carl and they often worked on vehicles together. He was founder of the Aquinnah Power Cruise in June 1997. In July 1997 Carl testified before the joint legislature and senate on Beacon Hill to change the name of our town from Gay Head to Aquinnah. Carl gave the municipal perspective that day and yours truly gave the historical perspective.
In his spare time he enjoyed skiing when time allowed, and there wasn’t a blizzard on the Vineyard that required his plowing. He enjoyed golf, especially over on Chappy. In the summer, he enjoyed taking his family and friends tubing from the back of his boat around Lobsterville and into Vineyard Sound, and sharing a cookout on the beach. He was an ardent hot-rod enthusiast and loved his 1929 Model A roadster. We shared historical knowledge, photographs and artifacts. He had spent his childhood in Wayland, Mass., but would be on the Vineyard weekends, every school vacation, and all summer at the home of his late grandmother Minnie Manning Malonson. Carl never forgot his friends from Wayland and kept in touch with most. His travels included Mexico, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica aboard a Caribbean cruise. A trip to Kauai, Hawaii, was also a very special time for him, but there was no place like home in Aquinnah.
Above all, Carl was a loyal friend to many, a very kind, loving and caring man, a mentor to hundreds along the way, exceptionally generous, and a very community-oriented spiritual soul. He would give you the shirt off his back, or share his last piece of pie with you. He will be missed forever. There is a quiet void already felt in Aquinnah without Carl around. We will remember him for his warm smile and caring spirit.
Carl was born June 10, 1949 in Boston, the son of the late Leonard Widdiss and Gladys (Malonson). He was predeceased by his brother Marc Widdiss in 2002. He was survived by his brother Donald Widdiss of Chilmark, and his sister Dawn Widdiss of Framingham, as well as his nephews Heath and Jason; grandnieces Josie and Moryn, and grandnephew Cameron. Carl was also survived by his longtime companion, Pamela Glavin, her daughter Gimili and grandson Elliott.
Family and friends will gather at the Widdiss home on Lobsterville Road from 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon through Saturday, with a graveside service under the guidance of Chapman, Cole, and Gleason held at the cemetery on Rose Meadow Way on Saturday, August 2, at 11:30 a.m., followed by a time of reflection at the lighthouse and a potluck gathering at the Aquinnah Shop. May you rest in peace, dear soul.
Cinema Circus is going on the road this summer and will be in your neck of the woods this weekend at the West Tisbury library and the Field Gallery on Sunday, August 3, from noon to 6 p.m. Thanks to generous donors, this is a free event for families to enjoy. There will be film screenings, workshops (including a filmmaking workshop for teens with MVTV at 12:30 p.m.) live shows, balloon animals, face painting, dress up, and a ton more circus fun for kids ages 2 to 18. Teen volunteers are needed to assist with the sack races, the lemonade stand and more. If interested, please call Alexandra at 508-645-9599 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. There will also be delicious meals and treats from $2 to $9 from Quitsa Cuisine caterers Theresa Kistner Manning and Kendra Buresch Carroll.
Susan Lana Shea and Mark Shea had a week-long visit from her sister Barbara Curran from Athens, Ga. They visited Aquinnah three times during the week, having spent their summers at Lobsterville for half a century. They also had a very special dinner at the home of Dr. Ryan Shea and his wife Rachel, and their sons Mark Owen and Brendan Ryan. Al and Anna Lana and their family joined them for dinner as well.
Congratulations this week to Aileen Mahoney on achieving her green belt in karate, and to Noah Manning for achieving his orange belt — both are students at Blitz studio.
The 36th annual Art Buchwald Possible Dreams Auction was another rousing success on Sunday evening. Thank you to the following Aquinnah residents for making the auction such a success: Captain Buddy Vanderhoop and his wife Lisa Bibko of Tomahawk Charters, Anne Vanderhoop Madison as well as her son Matthew Vanderhoop and grandson Jacob Vanderhoop from the Aquinnah Shop, Julieanne Vanderhoop of Orange Peel Bakery, Captain Hugh Taylor and wife Jeanne and their family of the Outermost Inn, Duncan and Nancy Caldwell, and Bruce and Shelley Eckman. On a personal note and for our friend on Nantucket — thank you to Nathaniel Philbrick for the largest single item bid on for the evening at $13,000. Nat never hesitated when I asked.
On this day in 1974 our father, James Walter Manning, left us. We have kept him in our thoughts and our prayers since that day. We will miss him forever. You would be very proud of our many accomplishments.
Happy anniversary to Brook and Kristin Zern on August 6.
Happy birthday wishes today to Charity Randolph, Barbara Magnuson Phillips, Ryan Shea, Jason Boynton, Donald Smith and Angela Cywinski. Aileen Mahoney, Ron MacLaren and Meadow Bassett share the day on Saturday. Tom Colligan and Nancy Gardella celebrate on Sunday. Tricia Bergeron parties on August 4. Pam Dolby and Susan Klein celebrate on August 5. Dr. Peter Laursen and Terry Iadicicco Lowe party on August 6. Carolyn Feltz and David Elliott Vanderhoop share August 7.
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