Roy Gundersen, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully at his Edgartown home on Nov. 25, 2020. He was 89.

Roy grew up in a close-knit Norwegian community in East Hartland, Conn., and his first language was Norwegian. In his youth, he spent many hours with his dog Lucky exploring the beautiful woods. When he was 10, his sister Diane came into his life, and together they created a lifetime of fun and loving memories. In Hartland, he was surrounded by tantes, uncles, cousins and friends who often gathered at the fields for ball games, or at the Pedersen Farm or the Luther Church. At the farm Roy often played with his cousins, drove tractors and bailed hay. Tante Aasine was always busy serving food, baking breads and pies. Roy returned each year to the town of his youth, staying in touch with the Gundersens, Pedersens, Dalenes, Haags and friends.

During the Korean War, he served as bosun mate aboard the destroyer USS Newman K Perry. He developed a deep love of the sea, and during this time met and married his first love Lorraine Jacobsen. He experienced great loss at 29 when she died. In 1962 he met Dorothy Pierce; they married in 1963 and honeymooned in Paris, skied in Zermat Switzerland, and spend time with family and friends in Norway. After six weeks of marriage, Dorothy battled a raging fever for weeks and was hospitalized with an unknown illness. While driving home one evening from the hospital Roy heard a broadcast about a typhoid fever epidemic in the small village they had skied in Switzerland. He called the doctors, and Dorothy was treated and recovered.

In 1965 Gert and Al Lilliendahl introduced the Gundersen family to the Vineyard. In 1966 they returned with their son Kevin, infant son Jeffrey and his father Mathias, known to all as Pop. Roy embraced the Vineyard community, which became his paradise. He joined the Edgartown fire department, was head of civil defense, coached baseball, served on the board of the council on aging and volunteered at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.

Roy and Pop worked as carpenters side by side, starting and ending their day together. Roy had a passion for building, from the study of architectural drawings to the delivery of a stack of lumber. When the last rafter was hung and a decorated wreath hung the gable end, family, neighbors, friends and contractors would be invited to make a toast with Aquavit and sign the drawings, followed by an abundance of food.

With his friend Glenn Provost, Roy spent 10 years building the 42-foot ketch Northern Lights. More than 40 people showed up one day to pour the hull. When the boat was completed and rigged, Captain Gunner, first mate Dottie, father Mathias, engineer Kevin, navigator Jeffrey, Lucky the beagle and Horatio Hornblower the cat set sail on an adventurous voyage to the Caribbean.

Always a dreamer, Roy loved to draw, carve, paint and write stories. He enjoyed skiing, sailing and bringing others together. He celebrated 50th birthday for 40 years. All were memorable occasions.

Taking first place while racing model sailboats in Owen Park put a twinkle in his eye. Fridays he would meet with friends near the harbor. He loved attending his grandchildren’s lacrosse and ice hockey games. He shared his personal philosophy and practiced meditation. His smile was genuine and infectious, and he will be long remembered for his laughter, kindness and generosity.

In addition to his wife of 57 years, he is survived by his son Kevin and his wife Pia, and son Jeffrey and his partner Jill Brockley; grandchildren Jacob, Elias and Ingrid; sister Diane and her husband Dr. Richard Lindgren; sister in law Elizabeth and her husband William Richter; brother in law James Pierce and his wife Patricia; nephews Stephen Skelly, Pastor Kurt Skelly, Christopher Richter, Jeffy Riker and Leo Riker.

A celebration of life is planned for next fall.

The family expresses deep appreciation for the care and support given by the nurses of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.

Donations can be made to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.