Douglas John Fortes died on Feb. 26 at his retirement home in Indiana. He was 67.

Doug was a Wampanoag tribal elder who lived the majority of his life on Martha’s Vineyard. He was proud of his mother’s Wampanoag ancestry, as well as being a decedent of his father’s Cape Verde heritage.

Doug graduated from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in 1971. He was an excellent student and athlete, playing all four years on the football and basketball teams. He earned his college degree at Boston College and returned to the Island in the late 1970s to work as director at the MV Youth Center after Tom Bennett’s tenure. He enjoyed his time working there with recently deceased Shirley Robinson.

At the time he was also a Tisbury police officer. He subsequently attended the state police academy in Framingham where he graduated top of his class in marksmanship. He then worked for the Tisbury and Oak Bluffs police departments, and in 1990 was hired in Gay Head as an officer. A year later he was sworn in as chief after the death of chief Kenneth F. Belain Sr.

Doug retired as Aquinnah police chief in 2004 due to health conditions and spent a decade living in his Gay Head home until he moved to Indiana in 2015 to be closer to his sister. A good portion of his career was in law enforcement but he also held a master plumber license, was an avid fisherman, dog lover, a motorcycle and car enthusiast and shared his passions with many friends. He was knowledgeable about many things and enjoyed a West Tisbury coffee clutch, chatting it up before his final retirement off-Island.

Doug was the eldest of four children and was predeceased by his parents, Jennie and Johnny Fortes of Vineyard Haven, and his sister Elaine Ramsay of Sharon. He is survived by his sister Andrea Winfrey of Illinois, his brother Alan Fortes of Vineyard Haven; and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, cousins and friends.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday, March 14 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs. Interment will follow in the Oak Grove Cemetery on State Road, Vineyard Haven.