John J. Mercaldo Was 76, Retired to Oak Bluffs

Dr. John J. Mercaldo died, after a brief illness, in his home on Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs surrounded by his five children and his wife of 30 years, Leah.

John was born in Burlington, Vt. on December 14, 1927 to Dorothea (Perotta) and John Joseph Mercaldo, Sr. Soon the family moved to Baltimore, Md. where the family expanded - three brothers were born, G. Alfred of Burlington, Vt., Edward of Delmar, Calif. and Ronald of Tucson, Ariz.

After attending Loyola for one year, John was called to service in the U.S. Army, where he acted in a medical capacity. While in Japan, he was notified at Christmas time that his father had died. Greatly shocked, John returned home. A great sadness befell the family. As the oldest, he was to serve as mentor and role model to the brothers and that he did. Often it was heard stated by Gus, Ed and Ron, ". . . if it wasn't for John, I would never have tried . . . . Our brother John set the pace and we followed."

John finished his tour in the military, returned home, finished at Loyola and was accepted at Temple University College of Dentistry in Philadelphia. During those years, he played lacrosse as well as wrestled, taking his team to great heights. Afterwards his path took him to central Massachusetts where he interned at Worcester City Hospital. Thus began his career as dentist and oral surgeon in West Boyleston and Holden Hospital, respectively for the next 32 years.

Upon his retirement in 1987, Johnny had many plans for the next phase of his life. His love of the Vineyard was ever-present. John would be seen daily on the Beach Road bike path on his early morning 16 mile ride.

At one o'clock most afternoons, John would be found rowing his peapod dory out to White Cloud, accompanied by family, friends or alone to enjoy the silence of the sound. John relished his days, creating oil canvases, carving half hulls, as taught to him by the late Cooper Gilkes, Sr. and volunteering in the community by delivering meals on wheels, serving on committees and teaching many to sail. He also loved refurbishing the Old Victorian home on Ocean Park.

Doc, as he was called by many, is terribly missed for he was such a strong presence and inspiration, especially his five children: John Joseph III of Marston Mills; Kim Suzanne Evans of Monson; Michelle Mercaldo Knell of Boston; Christopher of South Dennis; and his youngest, Nicole Mercaldo Dority of Denver, Col. In addition he leaves eight grandchildren: John, Megan, David, Brooke, Kyle, Michael, Jack and Ethan.

Johnny's funeral mass was held at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, Oak Bluffs on August 16 and the burial was in Sacred Heart Cemetery, Oak Bluffs. Donations may be made to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard, P.O. Box 2549, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Arrangements were by Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home, Oak Bluffs.