Martha Lois (Howes) Doane, 81, a longtime Vineyard resident, died on August 21 after a short hospitalization, surrounded by her family. She was 81.
Born in 1930 in New Bedford to Theodore C. (Finn) Howes and Nellie (Johnson Conklin) Howes, she grew up on Skiff avenue in Vineyard Haven, the fourth of six children. She attended school in Vineyard Haven until her senior year, when she moved to St. Louis, Mo., to pursue a singing career. She graduated from Clayton High School there in 1948. After graduation, she returned to the Vineyard where soon after she met the love of her life, Richard L. Doane. They were married in 1951 and began their life together in the family home in West Tisbury. Their first son, Steven, was born during this time.
In 1954 the small family left the Vineyard to pursue a living. After living for short periods in California and New York, they settled in Tucson, Ariz. Two more children were added to the family, Deborah and David. Martha was busy as a homemaker raising her three children while her husband worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory. She became an accomplished artist working in china and oil painting, needlework, jewelry-making and sewing. She kept extensive journals throughout her life and enjoyed writing poetry and short stories. In addition, she enjoyed bowling, golf and participating in the Homemaker’s Club of Tucson. She entered her award-winning art and handwork often in the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Fair and volunteered her time each year to the fair.
She and her husband built two homes together; one was a cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona and the second was a home on family lands off New Lane in West Tisbury. In 1988, they returned to the Vineyard after her husband’s retirement. In recent years, they spent winters in Tucson where they have a small home.
In her final days, Martha stated that she had been married 61 years to the love of her life, that she had three wonderful, successful children of whom she was extremely proud and that she had four wonderful grandchildren, of whom she was also very proud. She stated that she had done her job as wife and mother well. If this was her time, she was ready. She fought well for her life, however, and died peacefully and contentedly on her own terms.
Martha is survived by her husband, Richard L. Doane; her son Steven C. Doane and his wife, Roseanne, of Sylva, N.C.; her daughter Deborah S. Douthitt and her husband, J. Scott Douthitt, of Oro Valley, Ariz., and her son David C. Doane and his wife, Kathleen, of Chandler, Ariz. She leaves four grandchildren: Lieut. Nathaniel Doane, USN and his wife, Eileen, of Port Orchard, Wash.; Laura Douthitt of Oro Valley, Ariz.; Richanna Steffen and her husband, Adam, of Bozeman, Mont., and Christopher Doane of Chandler, Ariz. In addition, she is survived by her sister, Theodora (Dora) Edwards; sisters in law Ann Howes, Rosemary Howes and Muriel Bye; brother in law Lou Bourgault, brother in law Robert Doane and his wife RoseMarie Doane; and numerous nephews, nieces, and cousins.
She was predeceased by her parents, her brothers, Robert (Bob) Howes, Richard (Dick) Howes and Theodore (Ted) Howes, and a sister, Mary Howes Bourgault.
Martha was interred in the West Tisbury Cemetery on August 25 amid her loving family and close friends.
In lieu of flowers and memorials, donations can be made to Howes House of West Tisbury, Massachusetts (Up-Island Council on Aging, PO Box 3174, West Tisbury, MA, 02515). Martha was the grand-niece of Joseph Howes, for whom the house is named.