Carl Manning Widdiss of Aquinnah died on Sunday, July 27 at the John C. Lincoln Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. He was 65.

Carl was a well known figure in Aquinnah and around the Island whose Wampanoag roots ran deep. In 1991 he led the campaign to change the name of Gay Head to Aquinnah, a Wampanoag word that means land under the hill. “I guess it’s simple,” Mr. Widdiss told The New York Times for a story at the time. “An Indian place should have an Indian name.”

He was the husband of Pam Glavin, stepfather to Gimili Glavin and grandfather of Elliott Berz. He was also the brother of Donald Widdiss and Dawn Widdiss and was predeceased by his parents, Leonard D. Widdiss and Gladys (Malonson) Widdis and his brother Marc Widdiss.

The family will receive visitors at the family home at 1 Howwasswee Way in Aquinnah on Friday, August 1 beginning at 4 p.m. A graveside service will be held in the Gay Head Cemetery in Aquinnah on Saturday, August 2 at 11:30 a.m. with military honors provided by the Veterans of Martha’s Vineyard.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Gay Head Lighthouse Fund, Aquinnah Town Hall, 65 State Road, Aquinnah, MA 02535.

A complete obituary will appear in a future edition of the Gazette.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. Please visit for online guest book and information.