Myrtle Case died quietly in her new home in Vermont, with her husband and daughter at her side.
Born and raised in Scotland, Myrtle loved being outdoors, and spent many happy times with her family enjoying the beaches and hills, forests and lochs of the western islands and Highlands. After raising her two daughters, and seeing them marry and move to other countries, Myrtle dispersed her possessions, condensing her life into two large cases, and flew to America to begin a new chapter. She eventually settled on Martha’s Vineyard, where she lived for nearly 25 years. Here she became widely recognized around Vineyard Haven’s downtown shops and waterfront, touching many people’s lives.
Myrtle always kept busy, and was always willing to try something new. She had a variety of jobs throughout her life, but around 1995, she set herself up as a seamstress in a tiny studio at Five Corners, and ran her little business there for the next 20 years. She always said she never could have dreamed of being a seamstress, but she loved the work, and she loved the dozens upon dozens of people she met. For her, the work was less about running a business, and more about helping people with whatever skills she could offer. Where many businesses might charge extra for quick turnarounds, Myrtle often offered to do a quick repair job or alteration for free, if only the client would wait a few minutes while she did the work!
Myrtle loved trees. She reveled in their beauty and variety, and felt a close bond. She developed her own style of sculpture, imitating the bonsai trees she loved to grow by winding thin copper wire strands into little “wire trees” that mimicked full-size living specimens. Over the years she produced untold numbers of these trees, modeled after many different tree varieties. Some were sold in art galleries and craft markets; but many were simply given away. She always had a number on display, and to admire them would inevitably lead to an offer to “take one home”; many people did. For her, it was always the planning and doing that was important. Whatever financial gain might come was only a secondary consideration. She was full of ideas, and there was hardly a problem for which she was at a loss to come up with some suggestion.
In 2002 she and her husband launched the boat that they had built together. For the next dozen years, the Emma Morgan was a fixture of the Vineyard Haven waterfront, and a center of Myrtle’s life. She was frequently recognized rowing her dog and cat from boat to shore and back again. Some boaters will remember the notes of her button accordion as she enjoyed summer evenings in the cockpit, playing through some of the hundred or so tunes that she had learned.
She enjoyed having her grandchildren come to visit, and this became a regular and frequent occurrence that lasted all the time she lived here. Those kids hold their visits to the Island as highlights in their own lives. Myrtle was dedicated to her church, and held just about every position available in the governance and operation of the church. She always had a exuberant and happy greeting for any one she met, however slightly she knew them.
There will be no services or memorials for Myrtle Case, who was convinced that life does not end; that what seems to be a death is really but a transition to a new consciousness and experience. Always ready for a new adventure, she was certain that her zest for life, as it has been, would continue in new ways that we, as yet, cannot see. Her family asks that those who wish to remember her do so in their hearts, and by gathering in twos, threes, and fours to honor this remarkable woman.
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