Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

This letter is to thank my many amazing friends and the Martha’s Vineyard community for their ongoing help and support before and after my beloved husband of 56 years, Sheldon Hackney died on Sept. 12 after a long struggle with ALS.

The loving spirit of this community has proved to be spiritually, physically and emotionally sustaining, not only for me but for my children, Elizabeth and Fain, their spouses, Melissa Hackney and Brian McBride, and for our grandchildren, Samantha, Alexander, Annabelle and Lucy Hackney as well as Declan, Larkin, Jackson and Madison McBride. Sheldon was buried on Sept. 15 next to our daughter Virginia who will be pleased to have her father with her in the community for which they, as well as the rest of us, have so much love.

Our family has been blessed with the most gorgeous flowers, abundant and delicious food and tributes that will sustain us for many years to come. Most of all we have been well nourished by poignant memories and tales of people’s relationship with Sheldon that remind us of the joy, southern charm, ironic humor, civility and intellectual depth he brought, not only to us, his family, but to our friends who reside here.

All your support has helped keep us going as we bear the loss of my handsome, scholarly, brilliant and loving husband I fell in love with at the age of 17 and who became — as an added bonus — a wonderful father to my children and grandfather for our eight grandchildren. Sheldon also mentored so many young academicians and historians who wanted to write about the American journey as well as pay tribute to all that is best about a sustainable American democracy.

Again, I send an abundance of love and gratitude to my friends and to the Martha’s Vineyard community. Thank you.

Lucy Durr Hackney
Vineyard Haven