Elizabeth Robinette (Busy) Suppes of Vineyard Haven died peacefully at her home on the evening of Dec. 24. She was 97.
She was born April 9, 1915 in Johnstown, Pa., the daughter of George Osborne and Marion Dibert Suppes. She was preceded in death by infant brother George Dibert Suppes and her sister Marion Dibert Suppes Perret. She is survived by her sister Sara Suppes Ashman of Johnstown, Pa. and Naples, Fla. She is also survived by nieces and nephews, Peter E. and Marion Dibert Perret and Dr. George Suppes Ashman and wife Suzanne of Johnstown, Pa.; Dr. Sara Ann (Ashman) Cifrese and her husband Rocco of Idaho Falls, Ida., and Thomas W. Ashman and wife Diane of Naples, Fla. and their children.
Miss Suppes was called Busy by her family and friends because of her many interests and activities. She was educated in the Johnstown schools and at a private school in Washington, D.C. She graduated from Barnard College in 1938 and subsequently obtained an M.A. in drama from Columbia University. Together with her tennis partner she played in local tournaments, winning many awards for their doubles play. She returned to Johnstown and worked as stage manager at the Mountain Playhouse during its first season in 1939.
When World War II broke out, she was one of the first women from the city to enlist in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps. She was in the first class of recruits to graduate from basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. During the war she served as a WAAC recruiter. When the war ended she was at Stanford University learning Japanese. She was discharged from the army with the rank of major.
She went to New York where she worked for the actress Katharine Cornell and her husband Guthrie McClintock, and taught in a private school. During the summers she ran Sumner Hall, a summer hotel, and the Rice playhouse, one of the Island’s first summer theatres, both of them in Oak Bluffs.
She settled on the Vineyard and lived there for the rest of her life. She served on many Tisbury councils, including the finance committee, of which she became chairperson. She was re-elected to this position several times and eventually retired from public service. Upon her retirement she was presented with a chair from which she had conducted committee meetings.
Her last years were spent gardening and entertaining friends and family. She lived a full and eventful life and is missed by all who knew her.
Arrangements are being handled by the John Henderson Co. funeral home in Johnstown, Pa. There will be no reception and services will be private at the convenience of the family.