Sally Blair Coker, 77, Treasured Family and Friends

Sally Blair Coker, an active and well-loved member of the Vineyard community, died at dawn Sunday morning, Oct. 1, at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where she had been flown on Thursday from the Martha's Vineyard Hospital emergency room after an accident in her home in Vineyard Haven. Her four children and many grandchildren were among the loved ones at her bedside through the night.

To quote from a spiritual journal Sally kept: "She loved life, its mysteries and God." Those who knew her will understand there was much more to her life than these paragraphs can hold.

Sally was born August 13, 1929, the fifth of seven children of Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Blair of Shaker Heights, Ohio. She graduated from the Hathaway Brown School and from Wellesley College. She was formally presented to Cleveland society and was a member of the Junior League.

Kind, bright, and creative, Sally loved adventure and being outdoors. From the canoe trips she enjoyed in Algonquin Park, Ontario in her teen years to the Common Ground Fair in Maine last month, she was always participating in some activity, usually with friends and family. Sally was a graceful athlete; she and her brother, Hunt, represented the Cleveland Skating Club and won the junior pair figure skating championship at the Midwestern Regionals in 1946.

After college, Sally taught at Roberts College in Istanbul, Turkey, for two years before her marriage to James Howard Coker of Texas. They lived in Highland Park, a suburb of Dallas; she was an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and volunteered with a number of organizations. Her Texas family and community valued Sally and she cherished her days there.

Sally moved to the Vineyard in 1977, where her two younger daughters, Jody and Christy, attended the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School. On the Island, Sally became an enthusiastic member of the fiber arts community. She was a founding member of the Noepe Fiber Fellowship and ran her own fiber arts school, Aeolian, on the Island in the 1980s.

Sally was a longtime participant in The Book Bunch and she served as a Hospice volunteer for many years. She enjoyed a varied working life on the Vineyard, including teaching English as a second language, helping at the Toy Box, driving a tour bus, and managing the Capt. Flanders Inn.

Sally was active in Christ United Methodist Church, as a Sunday school teacher much loved by a succession of students, in the critical post of chairing the pastoral relations committee, and as a key organizer of the new cooperative Methodist ministry.

In 1988 and again in 1990, Sally taught English to school teachers in China with the English Language Institute. Many local friends and organizations supported her mission work.

Many Islanders appreciated Sally's open hospitality, including an annual party for the church Christmas carolers. Her many nieces and nephews eagerly looked forward to her family gatherings, which featured games and a festive table. She treasured her family, friends near and far, and especially the Island community.

Sally is survived by her son, Heath, his wife Holly and their four girls, Hannah, Hala, Hattie and Hadley, who live across the water in Falmouth, and by three daughters: Nancy, who sang in several musical productions on the Island, and her husband, Bruce Helin, in Flagstaff, Ariz.; Jody and her husband, Mark Dosker, who live in Marin County, Calif., with their three children, Elliott, Nell and Cole; and Christy who with her husband, Lou Gordon, lives in Boston with their two sons, George and Harry. She is also survived by two sisters: Nancy Brumley who resides at the Henrietta Brewer House in Vineyard Haven, and Sandy Blauvelt and her husband, Gerrit, of Marin County, Calif.; and by a brother, the Rev. Bill Blair and his wife Kits, of Oak Bluffs.

A memorial service to celebrate her life will be held at Christ United Methodist Church on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 11 a.m. Sally gave generously of her time, energy and money to meet many different needs around the world throughout her life. Please choose someone you know or a charity, contribute in whatever way you can and "pay it forward" in her memory.

The family would like to thank all those on the Island who were part of her life and, especially, all of those who helped her during her emergency.