Eileen Blake of West Tisbury died July 23 at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after a brief illness. She was 73.
She was born in Barnstable, the daughter of Manuel and Agnes Sousa. She was a graduate of Barnstable High School, class of 1953. Prior to moving to the Vineyard, she lived in various parts of the United States, from Hyannis to Honolulu. She loved the Vineyard and made it her home for over 40 years.
In addition to raising her young family, she worked in various Island restaurants, performed bookkeeping and tax preparation, worked in the school system and in 1973, launched her now-famous Eileen Blake’s Pies & Otherwise.
From a roadside beginning to an established Island icon, Eileen Blake’s Pies have satisfied everyone from famous movie directors to a U.S. President and most importantly, her Island community. The success of her famous pie business was featured in numerous publications, including The New Yorker magazine, Boston Globe and Washington Post, and was awarded a top ten ranking from the Phantom Gourmet. She also was featured in a recently released children’s book. Many charities benefited from her successful pie business, such as Island Hospice, AIDS Camp, Red Stocking Fund, Special Olympics and many others.
Eileen also found time to establish a teen drop-in center, taught Sunday school at the Congregational Church in West Tisbury and was an avid collector of cookbooks.
Survivors include her husband, Roger C. Blake Jr. of West Tisbury; children Albert Robbins 3rd, Ruth Anne Griswald, Debra Katebaugh, Katherine Eldredge of Cape Cod; Robert Blake of Clinton; Irene LaCross of Rutland; Erik and Lynn Blake of Oak Bluffs; Mary and Gary Ellis of Falmouth; grandchildren Joshua and Brandon LaCross, Parker and Izabella Blake and two more on the way; her siblings Robert Sousa, Ruth Franklin, and Nancy Holcomb of Barnstable; and her surrogate granddaughters Anya and Connie Toteanu of West Tisbury.
A memorial service will be held in September. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Vineyard Nursing Association, P.O. Box 2568, Oak Bluffs MA 02557, Tri-Town Ambulance, P.O. Box 340, Chilmark MA 02535 or Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs MA 02557.