Siew (David) Poh Ong died peacefully on May 26 at Cape Cod Hospital after complications from an August 2019 brain aneurysm. He was 62.

Siew left his homeland in Malaysia as a young man, determined to increase his knowledge of the world. As an international student and tutor at Queen Mary College at the University of London, his memberships included the International Youth Hostel Federation and BUNAC (British Universities North America Club). Before washing ashore on the Vineyard, he traveled to Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Finding employment at the Oyster Bar in Oak Bluffs, he managed the hiring of summer employees. Earnestly, he responded and thanked each potential applicant. At the end of the season, many employees received typed recommendations to add to their resume.

He was generous, gentle, gregarious and always a gentleman, kind, diligent and creative. A self starter, he was a give-the-shirt-off-his back kind of guy. He was a jack of all trades, home improvement remodeler, painter, feral cat lover, fisherman, excellent cook and more.

Siew was a true Island icon. Everyone recognized him in his trademark paint-splattered plaid jacket. His Island career was diverse. He was no stranger to the hard work of all aspects of home construction. Many houses in the Oak Bluffs historical district have benefited from his talented caretaking skills.

To Siew, his clients were family. Being frugal, he especially loved a bargain, yet one Christmas, he extravagantly bestowed lobsters as gifts. He often bragged about how he could grow an unending supply of tomatoes from just one trash barrel-sized pot. He participated and contributed wholeheartedly to the current buzz of Island life. Off-Island, he loved playing baccarat at casinos.

Since the autumn of 2019, he had resided at a Cape Cod nursing home, where he survived Covid. He asked to be called David and often stated his intentions to the staff that he would travel to Australia.

He was a compassionate man and always there for his friends. Throughout the years, he helped many Islanders when they were down on their luck. Those who knew and cherished this unique man can find solace in that he is at peace and happily painting, ordering online and playing baccarat at the Australian casino in the sky. The world, and the Island in particular, are missing this humble man’s giant shadow.