Born on July 18, 1922 and although named after his father, Maurice Henry Pease, he was for the rest of his life called simply “Mike.”
Mike grew up amid an extended family and enjoyed a boisterous and happy (occasionally verging on the slightly notorious) childhood, divided between New Britain, Conn. and Harthaven.
He attended the Mooreland Hill school in New Britain, followed by Andover Academy and then Yale University, as a member of the class of 1944. Like so many young men of his era, his graduation was postponed by WWII.
Mike wanted to fly and had indeed received his pilot’s license with Steve Gentle Sr. at the Katama airport. Unfortunately, his eyesight was not up to Navy standards, so he attended Roosevelt Aviation School (where he lived on a houseboat with some other nuts and ate anonymous food from cans without labels that were found after a house fire). He then entered the Navy in San Diego where he trained as a flight mechanic. At the war’s end he returned to Yale, graduating with a degree in geology. He received his master’s degree at University of California, Berkeley and spent three years mapping in the Pacific Northwest for the U.S. Geological Survey.
Then, with his first wife and two children, Holly and Jeffrey, he moved to Puerto Rico, where he spent the next nine years producing the definitive geologic map of that island. Returning to Boston, he continued mapping in western Connecticut.
In 1974, he met and married Mary Jane Case, along with her three children and other assorted animals. They lived in Lexington and Cambridge until they built a house in Waterville Valley, N.H., where they wintered for the next 20 years. They skied all over the U.S, Canada and Europe, traveled extensively and spent the warmer months at Mary Jane’s house in Chilmark and at Mike’s beloved camp, “The Shackteau,” on Tisbury Great Pond. His favorite activity was gathering and roasting oysters for friends and family.
Mike thoroughly enjoyed his life. He literally never met a person he didn’t like and criticism was, quite simply, not a part of his nature.
He died on Nov. 10 after an increasingly debilitating illness. Many of his family and friends and his dog Jacques were at his bedside when he died, listening to songs of Billie Holliday.
He leaves his loving wife Mary Jane; his beloved son Jeffrey and daughter Holly Hughes and her children Jesse and Tegan, their spouses Channon and “Toph” and great-grandson Chuck Hughes; his very fond step-children Chris, Alison and Timothy and all of their children: Tyler, Olivia, Melanie, Henry, Eleanor, Finn and Flora. A celebration of Mike’s life will be held on Saturday, May 19, at the Chilmark cemetery with a reception afterwards.