Shirley M. Tilton died peacefully at home on Thursday, May 23. She was 84. She was born in Bethpage on Long Island. Shirley and her four sisters and a brother survived the Depression and war years with many difficulties.
Having moved here to be with two of her sisters in the early fifties, she married Robert F. Tilton of Vineyard Haven. She was a devoted mother to her six children and many grandchildren till the end. She was always visiting, cooking and worrying for them.
Shirley’s home was filled with the smells of freshly-baked cookies, cakes or any one of the wonderful meals that she would create. She was a popular Island caterer, having started Mill Hill Caterers, which was well known for her wedding and birthday cakes.
Shirley catered many events including weddings and cocktail parties. Her “battleship punch” livened up even the dullest of weddings.
She cooked for a United States president and the wives of former presidents, senators, congressmen, diplomats, authors, writers, actors, family and friends.
Shirley helped with the Culinary Arts Program at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and taught there as well. She also helped start the Culinary Program for Adult Education and taught cooking, baking and cake decorating there.
Shirley had the opportunity to cook with Julia Child, who helped her enroll at La Verne in France. She loved to travel and sample the foods and wines from many different countries.
Once she enjoyed tea with the Queen Mother, and toured the royal kitchens and dining rooms while in London.
Shirley loved Menemsha and would make daily trips there for tea and gas, a sunset cookout with family and friends, or just to visit her boating friends.
Shirley was a wonderful lady who will be greatly missed by both family and friends.
She is survived by her husband, Robert F. Tilton of Vineyard Haven; her children, Wayne V. Iacono of Chilmark, Wendy Marzbanian of West Tisbury, Kathleen Clancy of West Tisbury, Tania Stobie of Vineyard Haven, Stephanie Rossi of Chilmark and James Tilton of Vineyard Haven. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Vinny Iacono, Kirstin and Trevor Marzbanian, Ainsley and Susannah Clancy, Jared, Daron, Noah, and Kyle Stobie, Haley and Joseph Rossi, and Astrid and Lily Tilton; and her two sisters, Viola Landers of Oak Bluffs and Judy Davey of Vineyard Haven.
A graveside service will be held on Friday, June 21, 11 a.m. at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Tisbury, followed by a gathering at the American Legion Hall.
Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.