Martin Leslie Berger of Edgartown died at his home this week surrounded by his loved ones. The cause was complications from a stroke suffered earlier this year. He was 87.

Born in 1932 in Danzig, a Baltic port city and free state that served as a buffer between Germany and Poland following World War I, Martin was the sole son in a family of Anglo-German industrialists who owned and operated a large soap factory, Berger Seifen. He was raised speaking German, Polish and English, and took to heart his parents’ maxim that “manners maketh the man”.

In 1937, with war looming and Germany demanding reunification with Danzig, his father abandoned the family business and relocated his family to Leamington Spa in Warwickshire in the English midlands. He attended Downside school where he played cricket and earned an academic scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge University to study history.

Before attending Cambridge, he served in the British Army, rising to the level of Lance Corporal in the Royal Army Service Corps, where he was posted to Frankfurt in post-war occupied Germany. He often said that his main contributions to the British Army were his ability to speak German and his skill as a fast-pace bowler on the regiment cricket team.

In 1955 Martin began his civilian career with the Pan American Trade Development Corporation, an international company based in Brussels that traded in building materials. He relocated to New York city in 1957, where he initially shared an apartment with high-diving circus performer Henri LaMothe.

Shortly after his arrival in the U.S., Martin was introduced to Carole, a nursing student and neighbor of his cousin in Danbury, Conn. He and Carole were married in 1958, and built a life together starting in Detroit, Mich., where Martin sold nails across the Great Lakes region, followed by years in Tampa, Toledo and Philadelphia.

In the fall of 1975, Martin and Carole accepted an invitation from their close friends Jim and Hilly Luther to come to Edgartown for a weekend of striped bass fishing aboard Jim’s boat. The bountiful fish, beautiful village and warm people were all it took. The next spring, with the help of his friend Steve Gentle, Martin bought a summer home on Fuller street that he would enjoy with his family for years to come. He often described the decision to make Edgartown his summer home as the best decision he ever made.

When he retired in 1986, he and Carole relocated to Edgartown full time. They spent almost 20 years in a captain’s house on South Water street, downsizing last year to a home on South Summer street across from the Federated Church, whose bells and hymns have served as peaceful background music to Martin for decades and were especially soothing to him in his final days.

Martin and Carole enjoyed a full life together that included travels to England, Europe and Asia and sailing in the Caribbean. As much as he enjoyed dining out, his preference was always for Carole’s gourmet home cooking.

He enjoyed social interaction and friendly banter with his broad group of Island friends. Every Saturday for years he rose early to get breakfast at Linda Jean’s with his good friends Jeff Norton, Joe Solitto and Paul Thoutsis. His Friday afternoon lunch group at the Harbor View Hotel called themselves the Bad Boys, always a misnomer.

Martin valued participation in a variety of clubs and organizations. At university he joined the Trinity Field Club and wore their scarf throughout his life. In Philadelphia he was elected president of the English Speaking Union, which kept him in touch with other Anglophiles there.

He was a member of the Edgartown Reading Room, where he was an honorary life member.

In addition to his wife of 61 years, he is survived by his sons Geoffrey and Stephen and their wives, and five grandchildren.

A graveside service and interment wil be held at the new Westside Cemetery in Edgartown at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, with a gathering to follow at the Edgartown Reading Room.

Donations can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital,

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