On December 20, 2021, Paul R Marte, Sr. died peacefully at home, exactly as he wished, on his beloved Block Island. He was 94 years old. He is survived by Sally, his wife of 61 years, their children Paul (Matthew Alland), Peter (Rochelle), and Susan (Bryan Sweet), and grandchildren Hannah and Cooper. He is predeceased by his parents and sister Marjorie.
Paul was born in 1927 in Manchester, CT to Louis and Gladys (Rising) Marte. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1945, he served in the Navy towards the end of World War II. Post-war, he attended Trinity College in Hartford for his undergraduate degree and then attended law school at Boston University. He completed his law degree in 1954 and proudly passed the bar on his first attempt. After a post-college tour through Europe, he started a small law firm in Manchester in 1955. He continued at that practice, growing it over the years, until his retirement in the last 1990s. Prior to retirement, he returned to school to attain his certification as a Master Gardner from the University of Connecticut. After he retired, he and Sally moved full time to their island home on Block Island.
He was active in the communities where he lived. He was a member of Rotary, holding the position of president for many years. He was a Mason. He was a member of the American Legion on Block Island. He was on numerous boards over the years, both in CT and on BI. He was active in the library, the BI Gardeners, the Shellfish Commission and Harbor Baptist Church on BI and at Center Congregational Church in Manchester. A last honor bestowed upon him was being the recipient of the Boston Post Cane award, a century-old tradition which is given to the oldest resident in the community. He enjoyed the recognition, and appreciated the honor, even though it was in his final days.
Paul loved his garden, his family (most especially his wife), reading, talking, church, martinis and singing. He was forever quizzical and interested in a range of subjects (though gardening was always at the top of that list). He could find the funny side of anything, and he was always keen to share his inside take on things.
He had an obsession with his blueberry bushes. Not so much the bushes themselves but the number of blueberries picked annually. Anyone helping themselves to the berries was free to do so as long as they kept a tally and reported it to him. He recorded the numbers in his little book, year in, year out. He would tell anyone interested, and even those who weren’t, the running total and how it compared to previous years’ harvests.
He was a counsellor and enjoyed connecting with people. He had dozens of good friends over the years, many who have predeceased him, but some were still part of his life up until his passing. The telephone was a lifeline to him, and even in his last week he was making calls each day to people important to him. His mind remained sharp and his interest still keen.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations made to the Block Island Rescue Squad, the BI Medical Center, or Block Island Harbor Baptist Church. There will be a memorial service when the weather is warmer, and the flowers are in bloom. Details will be provided closer to the time.
Paul lived well, laughed often, and loved deeply. He will be missed by his family and his many friends. Godspeed and may the gin flow freely and the blueberries be plentiful.