Howard Ivison Wall of West Tisbury died on Dec. 28, 2013, surrounded by family in the comfort of their home which he helped build. In 2006 Howard was diagnosed with ocular melanoma and though it was treated, it had recently spread to his liver.

Howard was born in New York city and raised in Silvermine, Conn. As a young boy he began spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard where he honed his love of sailing on Menemsha Pond. Surfing the waves of Squibnocket and afternoons at the Chilmark Community Center were fondly remembered.

When his parents retired to Boca Raton, Fla., Howard moved with them embracing the profile of a true Gator. He attended high school and college there and earned a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Florida.

During his collegiate years, Howard became an avid runner where he and his running mates founded the Tampa Bay Marathon Club. Members had nicknames, wore blue-hooded sweatshirts and were sponsored by his favorite restaurant. Eventually, Howard’s abilities led him to run the Boston Marathon five times and over those years he rarely missed the Chilmark Road Race.

While pursuing coursework for a PhD in industrial psychology, he was offered a full-time caretaking position here on Martha’s Vineyard, thereby trading in his Florida life to settle down on our Island.

For over 40 years, Howard was proprietor of a successful landscaping business. Well loved for his humor, as well as a contagiously optimistic attitude, he cared deeply for his children, family, friends, customers, their animals and plants alike. In the often-heard words of Howard, each day was a new chance to, “Keep smiling and make it a great day.”

Among his passions were golfing with his friends, cooking fabulously exotic pizzas for his family and relatives and delighting virtually everyone he met with wonderful impromptu performances on his bagpipes.

He is survived by his wife Diane Wall; daughters Hilary and Tessa Wall; brother Sterling Wall; sister Sara Locko and stepsister Joan Potter.

A memorial service will be held at noon in the West Tisbury Agricultural Hall on Saturday, Jan. 18. A potluck will follow.