Elmer Amaral Santos died Tuesday, Dec. 27, in his home on County Road in Oak Bluffs. He was 90.


Elmer was born in Edgartown on Sept. 12, 1915, a twin son of Manuel V. Santos and Maria Amaral. He attended the Edgartown School.

Elmer worked at Connors' Market and Mercier Market, and then was a clerk and butcher for the Edgartown Market, all located where the movie theatre entrance is now. He worked there for over 50 years. Even after his formal retirement, he continued to work by helping out and delivering for Arthur Honig at Your Market.

Elmer enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 during World War II. He began and ended his service stationed aboard the U.S.S. Baltimore, attaining the rank of seaman first class before being honorably discharged in 1945. While on the Baltimore, Elmer participated in a unit of the first support and covering forces of the Pacific campaign and the Philippine Liberation. During these campaigns the Baltimore was involved in 10 major battles, and for this he earned the service ribbon with nine bronze stars and the Philippine Liberation. Subsequent to those campaigns, the Baltimore carried President Roosevelt and his party to Pearl Harbor to meet with Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur. The Baltimore then carried the President to Alaska. Elmer loved his life in the Navy and greatly enjoyed sharing war stories with anyone who asked about that part of his career.

Elmer loved Edgartown and enjoyed being of service to the town. He was recognized by the town with an outstanding achievement award for his more than 50 years of dedicated service as an Edgartown firefighter, constable and park commissioner. After his retirement he continued to attend the fire department's Sunday meetings to, as he said, see his boys.

Every Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Veterans' Day, Elmer participated in the parades, proudly marching in uniform. Even though he was unable to march in recent years, he was determined to be a part of the parade and he reluctantly accepted a ride. He was one of the last great scallop shuckers and was renowned for his dexterity, opening scallops at record speed without nicking an eye.

When seen on Edgartown's Main street and elsewhere, Elmer was never without his trademark cigar. He was a proud member of the American Legion and the Holy Ghost Association.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Rosamond Santos; his son, Dr. Stuart Leo Santos, and his wife, Susan, of Jacksonville, Fla.; his daughter, Kathleen S. Smith, and her husband, William H., of Chilmark; four grandchildren, Megan Lee Santos, Stuart Elmer Santos, Samantha Rose Smith and Katherine Anne Smith; five nephews, William Santos and his wife, Mary Alice, James Santos and his wife, Pat, George Santos and his wife, Sally, Jeremiah F. Barrett and his wife, Carol, and Robert E. Barrett and his wife, Mary Carolyn; three nieces, Helen Gibson and her husband, Dennis, Jane Santos and Ruth Ann Keating; and many great-nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers, Manuel, Ernest, James and John, his twin; his sisters, Lillian (Dinka) Santos and Mary (Teenie) Whetzel, and his nephew, Robert Santos.

His memorial mass was celebrated in Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Oak Bluffs on Thursday, Jan. 5, at 10 a.m. Honor guards were provided by the Martha's Vineyard Veterans and the Edgartown fire department. His interment will take place this summer (tentatively July 29) followed by a celebration of his life. Family and friends are invited to attend.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Edgartown fire department scholarship fund or to a charity of one's choice.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Visit www.ccgfuneralhome.com for online guest book and information.