John Howard VanPutten died peacefully on Sunday, Nov. 27 at his home in Vineyard Haven. He was 46.

John was born on July 11, 1970 in New York city and moved to Martha’s Vineyard at the age of two. He attended the Tisbury Elementary School and was a graduate of Milton Hershey High School in Hershey, Pa. After graduating from high school, John returned to Martha’s Vineyard and worked as a meat cutter/manager for both the A&P and Stop & Shop Supermarket chains for 29 years. He was a kind, generous and loving soul who always lent a helping hand to those in need. His infectious smile lit up a room, as people often gravitated toward his friendly personality and caring nature.

He was well known on the Island for his love of sports and his extraordinary athletic talents in football, baseball and basketball. His unwavering affection for professional sports teams such as the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees often sparked debates with fellow New England/Boston sports fans. At the age of 24, John had the opportunity to try out for the New York Mets organization, making it all the way to the final round of cuts. Such drive and passion for the sport of baseball made the transition to playing in the Martha’s Vineyard men’s softball league even easier. John played for his beloved Brehaws for the past 29 years. He was highly respected by everyone in the league for not only his superior level of athletic play but also for his leadership qualities and competitive composure.

John is survived by his wife Channon C. Capra; his mother, Arba Clark; his maternal grandmother, Willa Cherot; his brother Walter Holliday and his wife Erica; his brother Eric Wildanger and his wife Elexis; his brother Jamie Wildanger and his wife Stacy; and his sister Arba Marte. Many nieces and nephews also survive him.

A memorial celebration will be held on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs, officiated by Rev. Michael Nagle. Please arrive by 10:30 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Hope Health Hospice, P.O. Box 4188, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.

An online guestbook is available at