Gladys Combra Welch died peacefully at home on Dec, 5.

She was born Sept. 30, 1930 in Oak Bluffs, the daughter of Ruth and Joseph (Doc Chic) Combra. She grew up in Oak Bluffs along with her sisters, Dorothy and Jane and brothers Charlie and Warren. She married Neil A. Welch, the son of Milton and Rose Welch, on Oct. 23, 1954. They had three children, Diane, Neil Jr., and Darren.

Being a registered nurse is something Gladys took great pride in, and her chosen career was one she shared with her mother. Starting out as a nurse’s aide in high school, she attended nurse’s training at Morton Hospital in Taunton, graduating in 1953 and remaining lifelong friends with many of her classmates. Her career began at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She worked in the emergency room, operating room (her favorite), maternity, acute care, and the last 13 years in Windemere. Her co-workers described her as feisty, a firecracker, and old school — something she was proud of. Her career lasted 59 years, ending in February 2010. State Rep. Timothy Madden presented her with a citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives for her “selfless dedication to the care and rehabilitation of generations of Vineyarders.”

Family and friends were important to Gladys. She called every holiday to wish them a happy day and catch up. She always had a smile and well wish, sharing her sense of fun and quick wit with a strong hint of mischief, as often as she could. She hosted and attended many parties and there was always a funny story to tell the next day. Three years ago, Gladys and Lillian Colligan were getting picked up by a taxi to go to the firemen’s Christmas party. When they went to get in the car, the door fell off. They laughed and continued on to the party.

Her family is thankful for friends and Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard nurse Jackie for the help and support they gave during this difficult time. All are grateful to have had her sense of fun, generosity, duty, and service instilled in them, something they shared with their brother Neil.

She was predeceased by her husband, Neil A. Welch, her son Neil A. Welch Jr. (Apple), sisters Dorothy Maseda and Jane Maseda. She is survived by her children Diane and her sons Nathan Costa and Matthew Look and Darren, his wife Amanda and their dogs Mya and Goose; her brothers Charlie and Warren Combra and numerous nieces, nephews, their children and cousins. She enjoyed keeping in touch with many. A graveside service for Gladys and reception for Gladys and Neil Jr. will be held at a later date.

Donations can be made to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, (, and the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital), or the hospital CNA program to help CNA’s continue their career in nursing, indicate CNA Program on the donation form (