Cheryl B. Stark, an iconic Island artisan and co-founder of C.B. Stark. News of her death received more than 70 comments on the Gazette website. "You touched so many lives, not just as a master of your trade but as a loyal and wonderful friend," one person wrote. Alison Shaw

Thursday, December 28, 2017

In 2017 the Vineyard said goodbye to beloved Islanders.

Among them were Island characters and well-known members of the community, including Cheryl B. Stark, 70, the artisan jeweler whose store has been a Main street fixture in Vineyard Haven for five decades; Nelson Smith, 92, captain, fisherman, legendary storyteller and descendant of the first colonial settlers of the Island; Gerald Jeffers, 84, a Chappaquiddick native and fixture who traced his Island Wampanoag roots back more than 200 years; Lynn Murphy, 88, longtime Chilmark resident and salty Menemsha character who helped inspire the character Quint played by Robert Shaw in the movie Jaws; and Dr. Howard Attebery, 94, whose courtship of Island author Cynthia Riggs after 62 years apart, and their subsequent marriage, made news around the world.

Others left lasting legacies in the causes they championed. AnnaBell (ABell) Washburn, 90, was a celebrated pioneer in the animal rights movement known as Martha’s Vineyard’s cat lady; she helped open what is now the Animal Shelter of Martha's Vineyard. Francine Kelly, 77, was executive director of Featherstone Center for the Arts during a period of growth for the Island institution. Brandon (Brandy) Wight, 100, was a pioneering Island art dealer who co-founded the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury who gave countless Island artists starts to their careers. Chris Abrams, 69, was an early childhood educator with a special way with children; she taught preschoolers and teachers for 30 years.

Tony Lombardi, 59, the former director of Alex’s Place at the YMCA, left a lasting impact with Island youth he mentored. The Rev. Alden Besse, 93, a retired Episcopal pastor and president of the Martha’s Vineyard Peace Council, will be remembered annually at the Vineyard Crop Walk, which he helped to start.

Many remember "ta ta and apple pie," the familiar saying from Charles H. (Cee Jay) Jones, a longtime volunteer at the Oak Bluffs visitor information booth and well-known summer resident. He also received a Congressional Gold Medal for his military service. Mr. Jones died on Oct. 9 in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was 100.

More from 2017 on the Vineyard:

The Year in Review

The Year in Nature and Science

The Year in Food

Most Read Stories of the Year

Most Popular Photos of the Year

The Year in Photos

The Year in Arts

Photos from the Year in Nature and Science

Comments (2)

Will, South Africa
RIP Alden
December 30, 2017 - 3:23pm
Tricia Bennett, CHILMARK
What a beautiful retrospective. Thank you.
December 31, 2017 - 4:39pm

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