Shirley Walling Mayhew ’48

Shirley Walling Mayhew ’48, of West Tisbury, Mass.; Aug. 21. She served on the West Tisbury School Board, was the children’s librarian in the Music Street Library for a year, volunteered at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the West Tisbury Library, was active in the NAACP and civil rights movement in the 1960s, and served a year as Sunday School superintendent in the West Tisbury Congregational Church. Having left Brown before completing her degree, while her children were still young, she returned to college in 1963 and after two years earned her bachelor’s degree. From that experience she published Seasons of a Vineyard Pond: A Journal in 1973. From 1966 to 1986 she taught junior high language arts at the Edgartown School. Along the way she also completed a master’s degree, writing a thesis on the age group she was teaching. She began traveling in 1968 and by 2004 had visited 14 states and 25 foreign countries, and she had taken 11 trips to six Caribbean islands. She made repeat visits to a tiny mountain village in Peru, where she became a benefactor, raising money each year for the village school. She also taught herself photography and began dabbling in watercolor painting in her 80s, selling some of her paintings at artisan fairs. Beginning in 1992 and continuing through her last week of life at 94, Shirley published numerous essays and photographs in many island and off-island publications. In 2014 she self-published a memoir, Looking Back: My Long Life on Martha’s Vineyard, which was highlighted in the January/February ’15 BAM article, “Island Life.” She had appeared another time in BAM in the January/February ’09 BAM article “A Pembroke Romance.” She later self-published four additional books. She is survived by two daughters, including Deborah Mayhew ’73; son John Mayhew III ’71; a daughter-in-law; three grandchildren; three great-grandchildren; and a sister.

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Class of 1948

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