Linda Marinelli, a longtime Oak Bluffs selectman who chronicled her life as a community leader and firebrand in a colorful memoir called Never Say Die, died on Thursday, Jan. 31 in Falmouth.

A devoted mother, political activist and fearless defender of open government, Mrs. Marinelli moved to Mashpee in 2009 to live with a daughter following the death of her husband, Charles, in 2008.

Visiting hours will be held in the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Oak Bluffs on Monday, Feb. 4 from 5 to 7 p.m. Her funeral mass will be celebrated on Tuesday, Feb. 5 in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church on Massasoit avenue in Oak Bluffs at 11 a.m. Interment will follow in the Sacred Heart Cemetery on Vineyard avenue in Oak Bluffs. 

Born on Feb. 27, 1931, in Berkley, a tiny town outside of Taunton, she was a farmer’s daughter, the youngest of 12 children.

She moved to the Vineyard in 1957, where she met and married her Charley, her second husband. Together they ran a farm at what today is the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Property, Pecoy Point. For many winters, they ran a fish market and bay scallop shucking operation.

An emergency medical technician, she held a variety of town offices, serving on the Oak Bluffs Board of Selectmen from 1986 to 1999. In her 2002 memoir, written with the help of writer friend Cynthia Riggs, she wrote about her rough and tumble travels through the world of Oak Bluffs politics, with chapters including I Challenged Authority and The Fox Got Caught in the Chicken Coop.

Among her proudest accomplishments was securing public access to the beach at the mouth of Oak Bluffs harbor, over the protests of the East Chop Beach Club.

An online guest book is available at A complete obituary will follow in a later edition of the Gazette.