Category Archives: Deaths

Wilber Pena Benefit

An El Salvadoran landscaper, 21-year-old Wilber Pena, drowned in Sesachacha Pond last Sunday. There will be a benefit on Friday, August 15th, at El Rincon from 5:30 until 9 PM to defray the estimated $10,000 cost to fly Wilber’s body home. The price for the dinner at El Rincon is $12, and then as the spirit moves those who attend to donate above that dinner price. Thanks to Marcos Tejada, the owner, for his help.

There is also a fund set up (and slowly growing) at the Methodist Church, PO Box 264, Nantucket 02554; your donation will be tax deductible. Please indicate “For Wilber” on your check to the Methodist Church.

Thanks is also due Maryanne Worth of Nantucket Human Services who navigated the arcane logistics to get Wilber’s body back to El Salvador, and to Family and Children’s Services working with the two young men who were in the boat with Wilber and survived.

Inquirer and Mirror story
Nantucket Independent story
Mahon About Town Restaurant Review of El Rincon

John Billings Memorial Service

In Memoriam

Florence M. ‘Marie’ Giffin, owner and publisher of The Inquirer and Mirror from 1970-1990, died Monday, April 28, 2008 on Nantucket after a long illness. She was 77. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, Thomas H.C. Giffin of Nantucket; a daughter, Marianne R. Stanton and her husband John; a son, James R. Giffin and his wife Corinne, all of Nantucket. A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 3 at 11 a.m. at the Methodist Church, 2 Centre St. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Nantucket Cottage Hospital, Home Health Care Visiting Nurses, 57 Prospect St., Nantucket, MA 02554. I&M Story.

In Memoriam

Ben Murphy died on Monday, January 14, 2008 at the age of 56. A memorial service will be held today (Friday, January 18th) at 2 pm at the Madaket Admiralty Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Marla Lamb Fund.

Albert Brock died on Saturday, January 12, 2008 at the age of 88. The wake will be at the First Congregational Church, Friday (18th) from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. The funeral service will be at the First Congregational Church on Saturday (19th) at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations in Mr. Brock’s name may be made to the First Congregational Church of Nantucket or the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. More about Al Brock at the Independent and the I&M.

Alan Brown died at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital on Tuesday, January 8th, 2008 at the age of 82. More about Alan Brown at the Independent.

Florence E. Clifford died on Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at the age of 88. Services will be held at the Congregational Church on Wednesday, January 23rd at 10:30 am.

Alan Newhouse died Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at the age of 88. For more on the life of Alan Newhouse: Independent and I&M.

In Memoriam

Rachel Parrotto Budzynski passed away on the night of Monday, October 29th, after a one year battle with a rare form of cancer. With her were her family and friends at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Rachel, wife to Paul and mother to Isabella, was 37. A service will be held at 1:30 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church on Saturday, Nov. 3rd.

The island came together for a fundraiser in June to help the family with travel back and forth to Boston, raising over $100,000. The photos of Rachel below were taken at that benefit. She was strong and positive and inspiring and happy and grateful and luminescently beautiful and fully at peace that day.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Family and Children’s Services with a reference on the check to Rachel Budzynski. The donations, which are to assist Mrs. Budzynski’s husband and daughter with living expenses, may be mailed to Arlene O’Reilly at 43 Miacomet Ave.

More in the Independent by Mary Lancaster.

A Tribute to David Halberstam

This from my oldest and best friend, Larry Hatab, known to many as “Arab”.

I was not a close friend of David Halberstam. We met on Nantucket when I was living there in the mid 1970s. Gene and I came to know him through our mutual friends, Frank and Maggie Conroy. David also frequented the Company of the Cauldron, where I worked in its inaugural season in 1976, the year I left Nantucket in the Fall to teach philosophy at Old Dominion University. David’s renown as a writer was of course well known, but on Nantucket I think he enjoyed the intimately relaxed attitude, where the spirit of the Island was the common bond among all sorts of people and personalities. With David, you engaged a very interesting person who happened to be a world-famous journalist. And he seemed to take an interest in people on their own terms. I suppose he was taken by the fact that I was a philosopher who happened to be a waiter. We had several discussions about intellectual matters, especially the state of higher education in America. One of the reasons why David was such a great journalist and writer was the quality, depth, and range of his mind, which I got to see up close.

When I left the Island, summer visits were my life-line, and I would often see David out and about, but the best times involved Third World Softball games. For the record, Andy Malcolm and I invented the name, which stood for the utter absence of bravado or a skill requirement for players. Anyone could participate, young and old, male and female, able and unable. One summer, my girlfriend at the time was encouraged to join in even though she had never played softball before. She had a very unusual batting technique: When the pitch came she would move toward the plate and flail away at the ball, basically trying to swat it away from her. I walked over to her and said: ‘Remember, this is softball, not dodge-ball. The idea is to hit the ball onto the field, not defend yourself against the pitch.” She was cheered on with great enthusiasm.

The Third World spirit was much in evidence when David came to plate against Frank Conroy, a pitcher of legend. Let’s just say that David was no Joe Dimaggio, and Frank was barely mobile (he needed a pinch runner when he batted). But this match-up was always elevated by the group into an epic Battle of the Author-Titans, often with arcane literary references shouted out as “pepper” by the crowd. David did not usually fare well against Frank, mostly because he was a sucker for Frank’s worst pitch, a moon-shot arc that would just plop down on the plate, almost perpendicular to it. We would yell: “David, don’t swing at that shit!” But it was hard for him to resist. Perhaps there was a touch of literary bravado involved, and Frank would always relish his triumph. We called it the Best and the Brightest playing the Worst and the Dullest baseball. And we loved every minute of it.

As time went on, I no longer spent full summers on Nantucket, only an occasional vacation visit. A few times I would run into David and it was always pleasant and interesting. As I said, we were not close friends, and for about 15 years we barely saw each other. Then, as it happened, David was invited by my university to speak at its President’s Lecture Series, a prestigious public event in the Virginia region. When I learned of this I wrote David a letter to remind him that I taught at Old Dominion and to suggest that we get together for a drink after the lecture, if possible. I hadn’t told anyone that I knew David, and I wasn’t sure if the setting or schedule would allow us to meet up, but I was hoping we could. One feature of the Series was a banquet at the President’s home just prior to the lecture, with 30 or 40 people from the university and community joining to honor the speaker. There was no cause for anyone to think of inviting me to the banquet.

I arrived at the auditorium about 15 minutes before the lecture was to start. It was already packed and I was looking for a seat. All of a sudden the President and other university officials rushed toward me with frantic looks on their faces. Yikes, what was this about? The President said: “We were trying to get in touch with you! Mr. Halberstam was very upset that you weren’t at the banquet. Why didn’t you tell us that you two were friends!” I was amazed at this. I was told that David was in a room by himself getting ready and that I should go to see him immediately. When I walked into the room, David gave me a warm hug and we talked a little, just as if we had run into each other in a bar on Nantucket. We agreed that going for a drink afterwards would be great. After the lecture, I moved toward him amidst a crowd of admirers. I told one of the organizers that David and I were planning to meet and that perhaps some others from the university might want to come. He said: “Oh no, that’s all right. I’m sure you and David would rather be alone.” He assumed that we were close friends. I drove David to his hotel and we spent about 90 minutes together in the bar, having a wonderful conversation about all sorts of things, and Nantucket in particular.

This episode at the lecture was startling to me at first. What had David said at the banquet that got people so embarrassed about my not being there? (One thing related to me was that David made much about our playing softball together on Nantucket.) I came to think of this episode as revealing two things about David: First of all, what a sweet and generous person he was. Secondly, how much he valued Nantucket and the people he knew there. Although we were not close, in an off-Island setting there must have been something quite intimate for him about seeing me and drinking in the spirit of the Island again.

David Halberstam’s New York Service

Jean and Julia Halberstam asked me to pass this along:

There will be a memorial service for David Halberstam in New York City on Tuesday, June 12th, 4 pm, at the Riverside Church, Riverside Drive and 121st Street. Julia and Jean will receive friends across the street in Riverside Park after the service. There will not be a service in Nantucket.

“David loved those days of “Third World Softball.” Frank Conroy will be pleased that Billy Taylor will be at the piano, playing as people enter the church. What a full and rich life he had. For the last decade or longer, he would say to all of us – walking friends to a taxi after a dinner party here or leaving a restaurant or just the 2 of us – “aren’t we lucky!” So Julia and I have bought a bench on Literary Walk in Central Park saying exactly that. His is a few benches away from George Plimpton’s (which says “When there is no wind, row), and Jim Henson’s is nearby. Good company.”

In Memoriam

Bob Echele passed away this past week in Palm Beach of a brain tumor. Bob was married to Bob Gease by Rev. Jenifer Brooks at the Unitarian Church last fall, and together they underwrote the Alvin Ailey performance at the High School. No memorial service is planned on Nantucket.

A bit more information about Joel Anapol: Joel died at the age of 75 in Palm Beach. He is survived by his wife Irma Anapol, and his children Hillary Anapol, Susan, and Jonathan Anapol. There will be services on Nantucket in June.

In Memoriam

Word just reached me that longtime Nantucket resident Joel Anapol, husband to Irma Anapol, has passed away. I’ll have more in the next issue.

Coming Up on Nantucket

This Week on Nantucket

Just a few additions to the restaurant information for this weekend: American Seasons will be open for Easter Sunday Dinner from 3 to 7. Faregrounds on Easter Sunday is serving their full menu or buffet. Cambridge Street is open for Dinner from 5 – 10pm on Easter Sunday.

The celebration of Les Saunders’ life will be on Tuesday April 10, 4 – 6 P.M. at The Atlantic Cafe. Please bring any pictures you have of Les.

A very slow week coming up on the social scene, although the slew of restaurant openings fills in the void.

Theater Workshop continues its run of two Pinter plays: “A Kind of Alaska” and “The Dumb Waiter”. Wednesday through Saturday nights at 8 p.m. until April 14 at the Performance Center of the Methodist Church, 2 Centre St.

Memoirs of a Geisha will be shown as a part of the Books to Film Series presented by the Nantucket Arts Council and the Nantucket Atheneum. Free. Great Hall, Saturday, April 7th, 7:00 pm.

The Artists Association Student Faculty Show Opening Reception takes place next Friday (13th) between 5 and 7:00 pm at the Artists Association Gallery.

Applications are now being accepted for the second annual Canine Couture Fashion Show benefitting the Nantucket MSPCA homeless animal program, to be held August 8th, 2007, at 21 Crooked Lane. Applications are available at the MSPCA, Geronimo’s at 119 Pleasant Street, or Nantucket Visitor Services at 25 Federal Street – the deadline is May 15th. Information at 508-825-2287.

You can register now for the 27th annual Big Brothers Big Sisters Iron Teams Relay slated for Sunday, June 3. Deja vu: Tom First and Tom Scott are again presenting sponsors. In the past it was through Nantucket Nectars; now it will be through O Water and Plum TV. Both teams and individuals can participate in various categories of this six leg race that includes beach and road running, a paddle, a swim and a 19 mile bike ride. The race will culminate at the Chicken Box with an after party and awards ceremony. For participation information and registration, see the website. Registration is due by 5/20/07, via mail or fax, or by 6/02/07 in person. You can register in person at the new Big Brothers Big Sisters office located at 2 Sanford Road. Volunteers and sponsors needed. If you would like to be involved, email Kerry Carven, or 508-325-6423.

The Rose & Crown is offering 20% off all food all day long this week for Mahon About Town subscribers. Just mention Mahon About Town.