Virginia Ernestine Mayhew Peckham, a Chilmark native, died Sept. 16 in Westerly, R.I. Her son, Tom Peckham, was holding her hand. This past June, she celebrated her 100th birthday with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandson at the Peckham family home in Pawcatuck, Conn.

Ernestine was born on June 18, 1916, in Chilmark. She spent her childhood with her parents, Benjamin Carlton Mayhew and Carrie Virginia Flanders Mayhew, and her brother, Benjamin Carlton Mayhew Jr., at their home on Nashaquitsa Pond.

She completed her primary education at the Chilmark School, then a one-room schoolhouse. She said of her teacher, Miss Reed:“I don’t know how she did it, with all those grades in one room, but she did.”

She shared happy memories of her family. She told stories of playing cards in the evenings with her parents and her brother. Although Ben was seven years older, they were good friends, she said. Ernestine loved spending time with her mother, gardening, picking berries, and making pies. Together they attended the Chilmark church, participated in activities at the Grange, and enjoyed the Island Girl Scout community. Her mother died when Ernestine was only twenty, and later her father and brother Ben, losses she carried over the years.

She met Arthur Ellsworth Peckham Jr. while in college at Rhode Island State, where she majored in home economics, was a member of the Chi Omega sorority, participated in drama, sports and glee clubs, and earned her degree in 1939. Ernestine and Arthur were married on July 9, 1941. During World War II, while Arthur served as a Navy officer, Ernestine supported the war effort herself, inspecting airplane propellers for Davis-Standard in Pawcatuck, Conn. When Arthur returned, they built a small house, established Long Look Turkey Farm in Pawcatuck, Conn., and started their family. In later years, as Arthur pursued a long corporate career, Ernestine made happy homes for her family across several states. They raised four children, Thomas, Virginia, Deborah, and Prudence, and lived in homes in Florida and the Midwest before returning to Massachusetts, the Vineyard, and Pawcatuck, Conn. Arthur and Ernestine mourned the loss of their daughter Virginia Welch in 2002. Arthur died at home in 2006.

Ernestine enjoyed music and loved to sing. Her soprano and Arthur’s bass complemented one another at church and at home. Ernestine also enjoyed sewing and knitting. She made dresses, sweaters and mittens for her children, granddaughters, and Arthur. When an accident with a table saw left Arthur’s thumb with limited movement and poor circulation. Ernestine knit a thumb mitten for him to wear under his work gloves when he was fishing. She enjoyed painting alone for many years and then with friends in painting groups. She loved the natural world and painted flowers, birds, and landscapes. Her painting of the view from their home on Quitsa Pond hung on the wall of every home the family lived in, and graced the wall over her bed when she died.

Arthur and Ernestine were avid golfers and played often together. Indicative of her humble yet determined attitude, Ernestine was never quite satisfied with her golf skills. In her late 80s she told her daughter Debbi, “If I don’t get better soon, I’m going to quit this game.”

Ernestine went by many names from those who loved her. She was Mom, Ernie, Grandma, Grammy, Great-Grammy, Aunt Ernestine, and friend.

She leaves her son, Thomas Peckham of Pawcatuck, Conn.; her daughter Deborah Peckham of The Villages, Fla.; her daughter Prudence Marsh and her husband Elliott Marsh of Ashfield; her son in law Frank Welch of Vineyard Haven; , and her granddaughters Carrie Welch of Vineyard Haven; Katherine Welch of Amherst; Alexandra Moncy, her husband William and their son Arlen of Pittsfield; and Samantha Marsh of Amherst.

A graveside service will be held at Abel’s Hill Cemetery in Chilmark on October 15 at 2 p.m., officiated by the Rev. Roberta Williams. Refreshments will follow at Trinity Worship Center in Oak Bluffs.