Paul Joseph (Zeke) Wilkins of Fort Ann, N.Y. died peacefully at home in the Adirondacks with family at his side on Jan. 19. He was 65.

He was born on July 10, 1956 in Glens Falls, N.Y. and grew up in Comstock, N.Y. After leaving school early he joined the Navy, married, had two children and returned to school to obtain his high school diploma.

His sense of adventure led to loading up his dog and buying a teepee. He traveled to Colorado for a season to work ski patrol before returning to the East Coast and joining the Squid Row rafting team in Maine. His love of the water, fishing and a weekend sailing trip on Lake George eventually landed him on Martha’s Vineyard — teepee, dog and all.

Paul introduced himself to the Island as Zeke, a childhood nickname acquired while rocking out to The Stooges. He found work as a carpenter and quickly became an important part of the community, getting involved with the Agricultural Fair, the Chilmark fire department, and becoming an EMT. He loved people and always saw good in them. His distinctive voice can be remembered by many: he announced the draft horses at the fair and bellowed at the firefighters auction. Most significant of all was his “ho-ho-ho” as Santa arrived at Christmastime.

In 1983 he married Linda Alley of West Tisbury. They were married for 10 years and remained lifelong friends. He became a contractor specializing in woodstoves and chimneys, and was self-employed so he could always leave if a call for help came in.

At age 38, he was blessed with a beautiful son, Thomas R. Wilkins Jr. of Oak Bluffs, whom he cherished more than life itself.

He met his wife Tracey Jones of West Tisbury in 2007 and they became partners on the ambulance and in life. They journeyed together through paramedic school, with his son Thomas playing a crucial part in helping him study with the aid of rap music. He became the chief of the Tri-Town ambulance service, caring for the up-Island communities and eventually handling the EMS detail for the President of the United States.

Paul and Tracy began building a home in the Adirondacks, commuting from the Island to Fort Ann. He took his time and was determined to do it all himself.

He was predeceased by his sister Christeen Martucci in March of 2018. Three years later, he discovered that he too had cancer. As determined as he was to fight it through surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, his illness progressed. Paul and Tracey left the Island and headed to the Adirondacks. With the help of good friends and family, John Mayhew and Dez Jones, Paul oversaw the completion of their home. He died peacefully knowing that he had come home and could finally hang up his hat.

He is survived by his parents Thomas R. Wilkins and Mary Louise Smith Wilkins; his wife Tracey Jones of West Tisbury; sister Sally Paduch and her husband Jeffery Paduch of Wareham; sister Susan Leonbruno and her partner Yogi Potter of Glens Falls; his sons Jason P. Wilkins and Matthew P. Wilkins of Argyle, and Thomas R. Wilkins Jr. of Oak Bluffs; nieces Heyley and Brie; and nephews Matthew and Joseph.

A celebration of life will be held at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Hall on Saturday on May 14 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Donations can be made to The Code Green Campaign at