Robert Earl Gilkes died at his home in Edgartown on Saturday, Oct. 6, after an 11-year battle with cancer. He was 71.

Bob was born in Oak Bluffs on Feb. 18, 1947, the son of Cooper Gilkes 2nd and Amy (Noyes) Gilkes. He graduated from Laconia High School in New Hampshire, then attended New Hampshire Vocational Institute in Manchester, N.H.

He served honorably in the U.S. Navy as a helicopter recovery crewman on the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam war, and was part of the Apollo recovery mission. Later he served later as an anti-submarine sonar specialist in the north Atlantic.

He returned to the Vineyard and became a commercial fisherman, serving the Island community in various capacities including as president of the Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Club, Edgartown harbor master and most recently as a captain on the Chappaquiddick Ferry.

He was also proud to have been a member of the Oriental Martha’s Vineyard Masonic Lodge for the past 20 years. He was a commercial fisherman, charter captain, artist and photographer who loved his dogs. He had a passion for cataloguing beach erosion and gave his final seminar at the Edgartown Senior Center only two months ago.

Bob was proud to share his photography work and show his wood carvings.

He was predeceased by his mother and father and is survived by his brother Cooper Gilkes 3rd and sister in law Lela and his two nephews Tim and Dan Gilkes and niece Tina (Gilkes) Polleys.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Save Our Seniors Program, Akita Rescue of WNY, Inc., P.O. Box 428, E. Amherst, NY 14051 or Elder Services of Martha’s Vineyard, Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 2337, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or to Hope Hospice, 765 Attucks lane, Hyannis, MA 02601.

No formal funeral services are planned. His body was donated to Harvard Medical School.