Longtime Vineyard resident, Carol Skydell died on March 4 in Camarillo, Calif, at age 94.

Carol was born in New York city in 1925. She studied Journalism at Ohio University and subsequently worked in photography and wrote for television in the 1940’s before marrying Marvin Skydell and raising three sons, James, Robert and Paul.

Being a housewife wasn’t ever something she was particularly drawn to and when her sons were finally old enough to fend for themselves, she gave domestic life the heave ho and went on to study early childhood education, earned her master’s degree in special education, and taught children with severe cognitive and emotional disabilities at the Rosemary Kennedy Center on Long Island. She taught a graduate level course in special education at Hofstra University and eventually topped off her second career as an administrator for the New York State Board of Cooperative Education Services.

After her husband suffered a debilitating stroke, she and Marvin moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1981 at the urging of her middle son, Robert. Despite the extensive care that her disabled husband required, Carol set out to build a rich and full life on the Island. She adopted a big goofy dog who loved everyone except the UPS driver. She enjoyed long walks along woodland paths and eventually found herself a job as Chilmark Town Clerk where she was highly respected.

Carol thrived in her role as town clerk for eight years before finally retiring. She was seldom idle and followed her evolving and diverse interests with an all-encompassing and tireless passion. For several years she devoted herself to genealogy and through her extensive work with the Jewish Genealogical Society, she assisted hundreds of people the world over in finding their roots, and in at least two notable cases she discovered close living relatives of people who were thought to have died many years before. She was also adept at growing orchids as well as being a darn good Scrabble player.

As the years took their toll, Carol decided to move to Orange County, Calif. for warmer climes and to be closer to her eldest son James. She took up residence in the retirement community of Leisure World, where she served on its board of directors for many years. But for the rest of her life Carol considered Martha’s Vineyard to be the one place she truly called home. She delighted in watching the sunrise from her Chilmark deck and especially loved the way the morning springtime air felt. She described it as feeling like velvet.

Long before she left the Vineyard for the last time, Carol gave instructions to her sons that when the time came, her ashes were to be spread along the Squibnocket shore at sunrise. On rare moments of indecisiveness, she would change that request to Menemsha at sunset. While this dilemma remained unresolved at the time of her death, Carol had already placed a granite marker at the foot of her husband Marvin’s grave in the Hebrew Cemetery. The marker bearing her name is engraved, “She’s at the Beach.”