Paul Mann Chase of Oak Bluffs died peacefully at home on Nov. 9, attended by family and those who loved him. He was 95.

He was born on October 19, 1927 in Clinton to George and Eloise Lord Chase. He was raised as the fourth-generation owner of the Wesley House, a Victorian hotel on the Oak Bluffs harborfront.

Born into the Great Depression when the Vineyard’s tourism virtually dried up, he came of age during World War II when hired help was in short supply. By his teens, he knew every aspect of the business, from the kitchen to the front desk, from accounting to plumbing. He developed a work ethic of self-reliance, independent thought, adaptability and stoic endurance. Most knew him as a flawlessly cheerful gentleman, the embodiment of his generation.

He attended Bates College and then Endicott College, graduating with a degree in accounting. He was drafted into the Army in 1951. While in basic training at Fort Dix, he proved to be a naturally ambidextrous marksman and he was recruited into the Counter Intelligence Corps. He rarely talked about his service years but bits and pieces emerged late in life, such as assignments that ranged from Ethiopia to the Philippines to Korea. A parachuting accident damaged a knee and never fully healed, relegating him to a domestic undercover role.

Paul met Esther Ann Schubert in 1950. They married in 1953 and soon settled permanently in Oak Bluffs where their three sons were born.

In 1956 he began a career as a reading teacher, briefly in Vineyard Haven and then in Edgartown grammar schools. He was a voracious reader himself, reading four to five books a week until the last two weeks of his life, and teaching reading was a calling he loved. He often told his students that if you can read, you can do anything. He retired in 1985, the same year that he sold the Wesley House.

He was deeply devoted to the Masonic Lodge, where he held various high offices. He was also active in the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club. Perhaps his greatest personal enjoyment was hunting “up north” with his friends Kenny Dietz, Cooper Gilkes Sr. and Ed Tyra. To the family’s recollection, they never returned with any game.

Paul was predeceased by his wife Ann in 2021. He is survived by his sons Whitney, Dana and Thomas and his daughters in law Catherine Chase and Nittaya Pengsuma.

He was grateful to many in the community who helped him in his last years, such as the kind professionals at the Oak Bluffs Public Library who sustained his book supply even when he could no longer drive. He was close to Sandra Corr-Dolby and Rachel Perry of Horizons Geriatrics, Kate Kane, and especially Gertrude Ahey, Paul and Ann’s beloved caregiver who became more like a daughter.

Memorial contributions can be made to the organizations to which the family is grateful: VNA Hospice, 445 State Rd. PMB 301, Vineyard Haven MA 02568 or to the Oak Bluffs Public Library.

Memorial services for both Paul and Ann will be planned for around May 23, 2023, their anniversary.