Russell Sherman Hoxsie Jr. died on Feb. 10 in Wareham. He was 56.

Russ Jr. was born at the old Mass. Lying-In Hospital in Boston on March 11, 1961 to Russell and Mary Ann Hoxsie of Vineyard Haven. Russ Jr. was their fourth child and the only red-head to join his Hoxsie siblings; hence the nickname: Rusty. Newborn Rusty was a “preemie” and had to remain in Boston until he gained enough weight to go home. When Mary Ann and Russ finally brought him to the Island, what a holiday! Welcoming the new baby home were a flurry of siblings, the baby-sitter who had been staying with them, and the collies jumping around in the kitchen. When Mary Ann immediately bent down to introduce Rusty to the dogs, the baby-sitter paled and crossed herself. Mary Ann loved to tell that story and to point out how devoted the dogs were to the children.

As he grew up Rusty’s good nature and sense of humor endeared him to his family and friends. He was first with a funny joke or story to lighten tense moments and he and his younger brother Chris tested their parents’ good humor on a nightly basis. Exhausted at the end of days from his practice Dr. Hoxsie longed for calm evenings, as did mom Mary Ann after long days of chasing and caring for five kids. The exuberance of two little boys at the opposite end of the dinner table teaming up for attention and rocking in their high chairs, and the older kids failing to keep straight faces, made calm a rare commodity. The surviving Hoxsie siblings fondly remember those dinner times, grateful for all the laughs they shared.

Rusty loved the outdoors on the Vineyard. As time went on he became an avid fisherman and hunter. As a young adult the bass derby was his Super Bowl and he looked forward to competing every year and to the camaraderie of his fishing buddies. He collected books on fishing, ocean currents and seasons on the water. He also loved playing traditional sports, especially baseball starting in Little League and, briefly, high school football and, later, golf. Graduating in 1979 from Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, he went to work as an electrician’s apprentice. He also worked for awhile at Home Port learning to cook, a skill that stayed with him throughout his life. He eventually became a skilled electrician and found work all over the Island. There always seemed to be opportunities for Rusty and always the ocean called him to fish.

Rusty was predeceased by his parents, Russell and Mary Ann Hoxsie, and his younger sister, Pamela. He is survived by his older sister Deborah Lomas and her husband Duncan of Wilbraham; his older brother Steven and his wife Martha of Scarborough, Me.; his younger brother Christopher and his wife Ana of Oak Bluffs and Brazil; nephews Alex and Trevor Hoxsie, Conor Lomas, and Corey Lomas and his wife Rose; nieces Hannah Hoxsie Perceval and her husband Tom and Gabriella Rose Hoxsie; and great niece Hazel Perceval and great nephew Tucker Perceval. Rusty will be sadly missed by all who knew him and who grieve for the potential and happiness that addiction took from him at such a young age.

A spring memorial service is being planned. Condolences or messages can be sent to Deborah Lomas, 6 Brookside Circle, Wilbraham, MA 01095, 413-596-5027,; or Steve Hoxsie at 207-831-5204,

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations in Rusty’s name to The Vineyard House at or to the Herren Project at