Emma MacKay Hall died tragically on the evening of Dec. 19 at the young age of 22.

Emma was the very definition of an Island girl. She loved her parents, sisters, dogs, close circle of friends, and the place they all called home. She was kind, loving, generous to a fault, and the life of the party; her smile and laugh lit up every room she entered. She was hardworking, passionate, sensitive, and strong, but most of all a devoted, loyal friend taken far too soon. All those who were fortunate enough to be touched by her larger-than-life presence will miss her dearly every day.

Emma was born at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital in Oak Bluffs on Nov. 25, 1998. She attended the hospital preschool, Garden Gate, the Oak Bluffs School and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, graduating in June 2017 with honors. The highlight of her high school career was her junior trip abroad to Ireland with her beloved teacher Elaine Weintraub. Emma always joked that she was returning to her motherland.

Her college plans took a nontraditional route, but through her journey, she discovered her true passion and was working on her early education/special education degree at Lesley University, and she hoped to incorporate her love of dogs and art as therapeutic tools in her classroom. Emma discovered her love of early education during a gap year while working at Project Headway; there she formed ties with women she worked alongside and whom she considered her mentors: Emily Walker, Becki Fontaine and Grace Robinson.

She was a beloved nanny to many families, often preferring to work with babies and infants but had one exception, caring for her godmother, Dawn Warner’s son, Augie, whom she loved enormously and cherished every moment of their silliness together.

In her down time, Emma loved to be at the beach with her mom and sisters. She was a fish out of water and lovingly referred to as seal pup by her family, often staying in the water for hours on end, egging folks on to swim out to the sandbar with her. Wherever Emma went, music was blaring. She had a passion for attending concerts with her sisters and friends and sharing her favorite artists with anyone who would listen.

She had many gifts that she was quick to share with others. She was a skilled baker, often out and about dropping off treats for friends to enjoy. Her love of crafting and making meant her family and friends were showered with homemade gifts, whether there was something to celebrate or not.

While in elementary school, she began volunteering at the annual Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair with her sister Charlotte and her mother, a tradition that carried on for 10 years until her high school graduation. Giving thousands of hours of her time, Emma spent most of her summer months behind the scenes doing whatever was asked of her, forming strong bonds with another group of women she considered mentors and referred to as the Fair Ladies. Her favorite part of those summers was working with Charlotte in livestock judging, where she would gleefully follow Steve, the state judge, with her basket of ribbons.

Her family’s world will never quite be the same, but to keep her spirit alive, they ask that you hold your friends and family a little tighter, do something special for someone, and donate to your favorite local organization, because that is what Emma would do.

She is survived by her parents, Peter and Helen Hall, sisters Sarah Hall Mercaldo and her husband Kyle and Charlotte L. Hall; her beloved dogs, Winnie, Chester and Daisy; many uncles, aunts and cousins; her grandmother Patricia L. Holland, and a close circle of friends she considered family. Her much-loved grandmother for whom she was named, Shirley MacKay Hall, predeceased her on July 19.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, a celebration of Emma’s life will take place at a later date. The family has established a scholarship through the Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation in Emma’s honor and plans to establish a baking award at the Ag Fair along with scholarship funds for children’s art at Featherstone. Donations can be sent to one of the three referenced organizations in Emma’s name.

The family wishes to thank the remarkable Island community. The random acts of kindness that they find themselves on the receiving end of are a wonderful reminder of how Emma lived her life. To her family, Covid was a gift of time spent together, laughing, baking, reminiscing, building legos, and binge-watching series and movies. It is this gift of time together that they will forever cherish.