Ethel (Eckie) Smith Wolff died peacefully in the company of her son Roswell, on Sept. 29 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, following complications from a fall at home. She was 88.

She was a longtime resident of Edgartown.

Eckie was born to Dr. Roswell Hayden Smith and Miriam Wain in North Attleborough. She moved to Martha’s Vineyard, where her father came to practice medicine, in early 1929, when she was six months old. She attended Edgartown schools along with her sister Rosalind.

She was a drum majorette for the Edgartown Boys Club Drum and Bugle Corps and later for the Edgartown School Band. She trained several other girls to twirl batons and be majorettes. She also played piano with the school orchestra and sang with the junior and senior choirs of the Federated Church of Edgartown. She was a member of the Edgartown school basketball team and Edgartown girls basketball team. Her high spirits followed her throughout her life.

Eckie graduated from the Edgartown High School in 1946 and trained as an X-ray technician at Massachusetts Memorial Hospital in Boston. She was later employed at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Southern Clinic in Texarkana, Ark., and Corning Hospital in Corning, N.Y., where she met her future husband.

In 1951 she married Dr. John S. Wolff Jr., of Corning, N.Y. He was a widower with three sons: John, 10, Thomas, 6, and Bruce, 3. They were married for 47 years until his death in 1998. In 1958, another son, Roswell Shearer, was born.

Eckie was active in community activities in Corning, including the Woman’s Club, Corning Hospital Chapter Council, where she served as treasurer and president of Chapter C. She was a member of the Steuben County Medical Auxiliary, a member and frequent soloist of the choir of the United Church of Christ, and a singer with the Corning Little Theatre in several productions.

The Wolff family vacationed every summer in Edgartown, initially at the home of Eckie’s Aunt Martha Smith, formerly the home of her parents until her father’s death in 1947. After that home was sold in 1959 they stayed at many rental properties until building a property on the Vineyard in 1979.

Following Dr. Wolff’s death, Eckie moved back to Edgartown permanently. She continued her community service activities with the board of directors of the Edgartown Council on Aging, the Federated Church, the Martha’s Vineyard Historical Society and the Scottish society.

She was a staunch supporter of Island culture and heritage, frequently attending town meetings to fight against increasing development and destruction of historic properties or historical laws. One fight in particular regarded protection of Ancient Ways and property owners encroaching on public paths. For example, the route from the top of North Water Street to Fuller Street Beach in Edgartown, is fast being lost to personal development, lapsing if not used.

Eckie was an active participant in Al Anon meetings on the Vineyard for many years, a by-product of her interaction with relatives and loved ones suffering with the disease of alcoholism. She espoused the interaction between AA and Al Anon to members at meetings, in order that members could better understand the effects of alcoholism and be understood themselves. Her firm belief was that alcoholism and drug addiction should not be “swept under the table” as it had been when she was a young girl.

She loved to dance and not being the bashful sort, even at age 80 found a young partner to dance the jitterbug at a New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Orchestra concert at the Tabernacle. The tune was When the Saints go Marching In. Soon the whole audience joined in.

Having lived off-Island for many years Eckie always considered the Vineyard her home. Although claiming a poor memory for details, she nonetheless had an endless supply of stories about the history of the Vineyard, Edgartown in particular. When passing properties all over the Island, she could recite the names of current and former owners, the property history, and usually a historical scandal or two.

Friends and family will remember her and her stories of Vineyard life dating back to 1929 with great fondness and affection.

She is survived by her son Roswell Wolff and his wife Kiki of Singapore; stepsons John Wolff of North Carolina and Bruce Wolff of Virginia; granddaughters Marika, Andrina, Aline, Andrea, Erica; six great-grandchildren and two nephews, Donald and Phillip Collins. She was predeceased by her husband, Dr. John S. Wolff Jr., her stepson Thomas, and her sister Rosalind Collins.

A memorial service will be held on Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. at the Federated Church in Edgartown.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to The Federated Church,, or the Martha’s Vineyard Museum,