Dexter P. Nerney of Oak Bluffs died Sept. 11 of natural causes on Nashawena island. Marilyn, his loving wife of 52 years, was by his side. He was 74.

He was born on Feb. 25, 1947 in Attleboro, the son of William and Ruth Nerney. He graduated from Attleboro High School in 1965, where he played soccer and was captain of the swim team.

In 1969, he graduated from New England College in Henniker, N.H. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Along with his brother Nick, he ran the family’s ad-specialty business Knobby Krafters in Attleboro for the majority of his career. He retired in 2020.

Dexter was active in the Attleboro community. He was a member of the Second Congregational Church, a board member of the North Purchase Crematory, a board member of the Attleboro Chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a member of the United Way of Greater Attleboro and a member of the Attleboro Tri-Boro Community Lions Club.

He was also active with the Martha’s Vineyard community, including the East Chop Beach Club, East Chop Yacht Club, East Chop Tennis Club, East Chop Association and Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

He was also a proud member of the Pilgrim John Howland Society and the Pioneering Parmenters.

He had a passion for boating, fishing, clamming and working with his hands. He was especially creative with artwork and crafts, which usually combined jewelry and the skins of striped bass. His entrepreneurial side shined brightly with each of his pieces but his sales were much more about personal connections and relationships.

He was soft spoken, with a great sense of humor, always eager to listen, help and never judgmental.

He had a gift for making everyone comfortable. Whether making and serving his incredible breakfasts and other meals, fishing, or anything else, Dexter was always willing to lend a hand if it could help lighten their load.

If there was a fish within 25 nautical miles, he could sense and locate it, not with sonar but by watching the birds and by scent. He taught many people how to fish and love the ocean, especially around the Vineyard. He was always eager to take out family and friends. It was never just about fishing but the experience — and especially making people happy.

He is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart, Marilyn Gilson Nerney, also of Oak Bluffs; son Matthew Nerney and daughter in law Laura Fogarty of Needham; daughter Katherine Mahony and son in law Colin Mahony of Lexington; four grandchildren, William and Jack Nerney, and Ella and Charlotte Mahony; and his brother, Nicholas Nerney of Oak Bluffs.

A memorial service in celebration of his life will be held Sunday, Oct. 10 at 3 p.m. at the East Chop Beach Club. All are welcome.

Donations can be made to the East Chop Association for the Crystal Lake Fund, P.O. Box 1916, Oak Bluffs MA 02557. Preserving and saving Crystal Lake is a cause that was near and dear to Dexter’s heart.