Laurence A. Mercier died at his home in Edgartown on Sunday, Nov. 21. He was 81.

He was born on the Vineyard on August 10, 1940 to Herbert Mercier Sr. and Veronica (Vera) Schultz Mercier. He grew up and attended school in Edgartown, becoming part of the last class to graduate from the town’s high school in 1958.

In 1962, at the age of 21, he purchased the Chappaquiddick Ferry business. He was then drafted into the Army. He was discharged and, upon the death of his father in 1964, returned to the Vineyard for good.

In 1965, he met Doris McNeil, who was working as an X-ray technician at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. They had dinner dates on the Chappy Ferry as Larry piloted it back and forth across Edgartown harbor. They married during a snowstorm in January 1966.

Also in 1966, he sold the ferry and purchased Connor’s Market in Edgartown, continuing the family grocery business started by his father. Larry, who saved everything from his wedding announcement to every single one of his children’s report cards, scrapbooked articles about the sale and his expansions of the business. He later purchased the IGA in Vineyard Haven before getting out of the grocery business in 1976.

Over the years he held many public service positions in Edgartown, including selectman, planning board member, assessor, refuse district committee member (whose gatherings he colloquially referred to as “garbage meetings”) and tree warden.

He served as Edgartown’s highway superintendent for 21 years. He was especially proud of expanding the town’s public bike paths and rebuilding the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick.

After retiring in 2003, he kept busy with his favorite hobbies of building, gardening and fishing, while also serving as a member of the board of directors at the Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank and as a committee member on the Edgartown Library building project.

Larry loved nothing more than a good story and a family favorite was about when he caught a derby-winning bluefish on the last day of competition. His family, who were off-Island for the weekend, the better to let him fish in peace, scrambled home to surprise him at the awards ceremony. He passed his love of fishing on to his children and grandchildren.

He also loved a good diner breakfast and political debate, both of which he indulged in every Friday with friends and debate partners including Lenny Jason, Arthur Smadbeck, Ron Rappaport, the late Ted Morgan, Peter Bettencourt and many others over the years.

One of his favorite sayings was that someone “could talk a dog off a meatwagon,” which also accurately described him. Strangers sat next to Larry and would be best friends with him 20 minutes later.

He is survived by Doris, his wife of 55 years; his four children: Andy Mercier and his wife Tina, Michelle Mercier and her husband Mark Kotche, Lyette Mercier and her husband John Spiros, and Elaine Graves and her husband Joel; and eight grandchildren: Alexander, Kelsie, and Audrey Pappadia, Maria and John Mercier, Connor and Elias Graves, and Genevieve Spiros.

He was predeceased by his older brother Herbert Mercier Jr.

A public graveside memorial service will be held on Monday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m. at the New Westside Cemetery in Edgartown.

Donations can be sent to Hospice and Palliative Care of Martha’s Vineyard, or P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.