Geoffrey L. Spence died peacefully at his home in Vineyard Haven in the early hours of Dec. 10, 2014 after a long illness. He was 75.

He was born on Oct. 2, 1939, the son of a mining engineer at the University of Idaho. The family then moved to Pearl Harbor where Geoff’s father was a principal engineer in designing submarines used by the U.S. prior to World War II. He graduated from high school in Hawaii, and in 1960 he matriculated at Santa Rosa College in California.

Geoff was an outspoken champion of worldwide liberal causes throughout his life, but art and painting were always the true passions of his heart and soul, even through his latest years. He sought inner peace in his art in New York and Boston and other cities, as well as in the seven years he spent building his home in Hawaii. 

He was a gifted carpenter, and after moving to Martha’s Vineyard, he worked for John Early Construction in Chilmark. His old tan Chevy van was Geoff’s trademark up-Island. Moving to Island Elderly Housing in the 1980s, Geoff met one of the loves of his life, Roberta, to whom he gave generously of his time and knowledge. He shared his love of beauty with her in long conversations and on many memorable walks on Vineyard beaches.  

Geoff leaves everyone who knew him with memories of a gifted and gentle soul, whose great talents often went unrecognized. His quiet devotion to his closest two friends from Woodside Village leave them both with an overwhelming ache in their hearts, but also with immense gratitude for the precious gift of years spent with a tremendously kind and self-effacing soul.  

Geoff leaves a daughter, a son, grandchildren, a younger brother, as well as Steve, his devoted and cherished older brother, in Oregon. 

This candle, this light,
Reminds me of your life,
The love you always gave to me,
Illuminating and so free.
And words cannot say
How grateful I am
That you were sent my way.