It was a long, bleak winter, but weather was the least of our problems. We lost Dale Collinson, Helen Meleny, John Potter, Ruth and Mike Davin, Marty Mard, Russell Clark and Mark Hanschka. For those of you who don’t remember Mark, he was the tennis pro at the East Chop Tennis Club in 1953 and the brother of Carol Traenkle.

We will miss all of these great people who contributed to our community in many different ways. Dale had such a sharp mind, and there was no one better to answer your tax questions. Helen was a quiet volunteer at the tennis club who was best known for her tireless work, organizing the ladies round robin over many years. John Potter was the patriarch of a great East Chop family who is best remembered for his literary talents, and for his daily walks with his best friend Rocky.

Ruth and Mike Davin were fixtures in our community for many years, who handled our real estate needs with considerable competency and high ethical standards. I will never forget Marty Mard smiling behind the wheel of his model A roadster, and for the loving care he provided Gloria over many years. Russell Clark’s family goes back several generations in our community. I will especially miss the fun cocktail cruises on his boat. He was a generous host. Mark Hanschka was a great tennis player with classic strokes. He was fun to watch on the courts. Finally, as I proofread this column one last time before sending it to the Gazette, I learned that Austie Wise has just died in Boston. We will sorely miss his gentle ways and pleasant smile.

East Chop celebrated the life of John Potter on June 15 in Union Chapel in Oak Bluffs. The Reverends Cathlin Baker and Robert Hammett presided over a beautiful memorial service. Granddaughters Charlotte and Samantha Potter each read a Psalm, and Lila Luce, John’s niece, read excerpts from The Ancient Mariner. While Deane Turner told humorous stories about John’s distinguished career at Union Carbide, and I handed John’s heirs a bill for 10 years of cleaning up after Rocky, son John stole the show. His rousing and heartfelt Father’s Day eulogy to his dad ended with a standing ovation, a tribute to both father and son. Joanie was deeply touched and maybe even a little overwhelmed by all the loving support from family and friends.

A reception was held following the service at the East Chop Beach Club. One of the highlights of the reception for me was the return of Susan Snow, who was here to support Joanie, her lifelong friend. Susan is remembered fondly by many old-time East Choppers for many reasons, perhaps most prominently for her role as editor of Summer Magic: A Cookbook Designed for Easy Summer Living.

It is appropriate that we remember Summer Magic on this, the 25th anniversary of its publication. The book received glowing reviews in Yankee Magazine and in newspapers throughout New England. Susan undertook the project to raise money for the East Chop Association. Proceeds from the sale of the book went to improve vegetation on the Bluff and to support projects for restoring Crystal Lake. Retry one of those delicious recipes in honor of Susan. Let’s hope her return to the Chop for John Potter’s service is not a one-time event. We need you back here, Susan!

Contact Rick Herrick at