I grew up spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard. I had many friends there and knew lots of my parents friends too, but there was one couple in particular that I always loved seeing and talking to: John and Mary Regan. I was friends with their son, Barry, and to be honest I had a little crush on their daughter Sheila too. I did not know their oldest son John too well as he was much older, but he was often at the beach with us.

John and Mary have known me since I was born, as they have been friends with my parents for so many years. We spent summer days at the beach together and at their house located on Waban Park, where we would ride bikes, fly kites, and talk on the porch about what ice cream we would get later on.

Later on, when I became an adult, I would still stop by their house during a summer visit. Their kids wouldn’t be there, no Barry or Sheila or older brother John. Instead it would be just Mary and John talking with me on the porch. Sometimes I stayed for well over an hour. John was always so full of life and could talk about anything, from his life in business to his time on the Island.

Last summer I visited the Vineyard for the first time in many years. I brought my girlfriend, Melissa to meet the Island, and on our second day we biked from East Chop to Edgartown, passing by the Regan’s house. I saw a figure in the house and wanted to stop in and say hello. I wanted so much to hear John talk in his hearty accent again about the good old days and about Island living. But for some reason, I didn’t stop.

Thankfully, the next day I went to a family event and the Regans were there. John looked older and had to sit in a chair for most of the event, but his personality hadn’t changed a bit. Even sitting down, he was full of life and could still make everyone laugh.

Melissa ran into him in the kitchen before I had a chance to introduce them. When she found me again, she told me she had just met the nicest man. She also talked to Mary, declaring that she was also one of her favorites.

I couldn’t have agreed more. Through my 45 years of life, I have never met two more wonderful people who have loved each other so much; except for my own parents, that is.

John was a wonderful man and will missed terribly by all who loved him, which is everyone he met. He had the biggest heart I have ever known.