Robert J. Priore, a longtime resident of Vineyard Haven, died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family and friends after waging a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 73.

Robert was born in Hartford, Conn. and raised in nearby Windsor. He attended Loomis Academy, now known as the Loomis Chaffee School, and the University of Hartford. He proudly served his country during the Viet Nam War as a medic in the United States Air Force.

He began his lifelong love affair with Martha’s Vineyard in the late 1960s when he came to the Island on vacation and decided to find a way to earn a living that would keep him on the Island, at least part time. Early on, he recognized the potential of building affordable vacation homes and developed what became known as Bernard Circle, Leonard Circle, Canterbury Lane and numerous other streets in Vineyard Haven. He also built several homes in Katama. In the span of a career that lasted 40 years, he oversaw the building of over 200 homes on Martha’s Vineyard.

Robert moved to the Vineyard full time in 1992 to raise his sons in the type of environment he believed every child should be raised in, a life lived outdoors filled with fishing, boating, swimming and clamming.

In 1998 he met Maribeth, the woman who became the love of his life and not too long after, his devoted wife.

Robert was an avid sailor who loved nothing better than navigating the waters off Martha’s Vineyard at the helm of his Endeavor, Maribella, in the company of his wife, family, friends and faithful canine companion, Quinn. He enjoyed all the Vineyard had to offer whether it be fishing, clamming, listening for the first pinkletinks of spring, or simply gazing in awe upon a starry, starry Vineyard night sky.

He was survived by Maribeth, his wife of 17 years; his sons, Rob and Chris; his daughters in law Jenafer and Stephanie; his grandchildren, Olivia and Owen Priore; his brother Henry Priore; and his many nieces and nephews.

A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 18 at 1 p.m. at the Chapman, Cole and Gleason funeral home in Oak Bluffs, officiated by Rev. Thomas Lopes. Interment will follow at the Sacred Heart Cemetery with military honors provided by Veterans of Martha’s Vineyard. The family will begin receiving visitors at the funeral home at noon.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, c/o Infusion Department, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. An online guestbook is at