The Vineyard Gazette – Martha’s Vineyard News

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Neither the thunder, nor the pouring rain nor the Red Sox-Yankees series could stop the celebration of the 50th wedding of the favorite couple from Oak Bluffs. Debbie and Lewis Duane Jackson!

About 45 friends and family conspired with Duane and event planner Barbara Edelin to surprise Debbie, who was stunned as she entered the Garde East restaurant last Saturday evening to the cheers and screams of her friends.

Duane and Debbie met at Hampton University and, like so many young couples, came to Boston for their graduate studies and made it their home. Diane Patrick, the former first lady of Massachusetts, spoke about meeting Duane at Andrew Jackson High School in Queens, New York and how close she and her husband have been to the Jackson’s over the years.

I attended Richmond Hill, a rival high school. Both schools had competitive basketball teams. Since those beginnings, basketball has been an integral part of Duane’s life. He, Flash Wiley, Hassell McClellan, Milton Benjamin, John Jenkins, Ronald Carroll and Robert Phane all remembered playing basketball at Williams School in Vineyard Haven for the legendary Soul Cup over the past summers.

The event was a total surprise for Debbie! Her sister, brother, and the classmates who introduced her to Duane all conspired to convince her that she was going to have a leisurely dinner with her family.

The vineyard was the perfect place for the celebration. Duane’s mother had owned a cottage on Narragansett since he was a child. Eventually, he and Debbie got their own accommodation overlooking the harbor at Vineyard Haven. Working remotely on the island during the Covid pandemic, both have spent a lot of time here with their grandchildren Willa, Austin and Hudson.

Their mutual love and dedication was evident to all. Debbie cried as she spoke, calling Duane her warrior for all seasons.

On Sunday morning, several of the party stopped by for champagne and brunch, closing a spectacular weekend of friendship, love and camaraderie. Debbie was always asking how many knew about the ruse!

Upon entering the Mink Meadows clubhouse last Friday, I saw a sign on the door saying “William McLaurin scored a hole in one hit on Monday, September 20.” The shot was seen by painter, poet and frequent golfer Harry Seymour! Bill’s favorite club was a five-wood.

In the world of golf etiquette, the golfer with this kind of skill should purchase a round of drinks for everyone in the clubhouse. Colleagues missed the treat and Bill saved some money because Mink doesn’t have a bar.

Friends and family will come together to celebrate the life of beloved winemaker Alton Hardaway Jr., who passed away on August 9. The PA Club will be open to everyone on Friday October 8 after 6 p.m. Sunday October 10 at Waban Park.

Alton was extremely popular and always had a smile or kind words for everyone. He has been a highly respected entrepreneur and builder on the island for decades. It looks like it was yesterday when he arrived from Boston shortly after his father passed away and sold the family Shell gas station in Jackson Square. His unexpected passing left many empty hearts.

Heaven on earth is living the Vineyard experience. Take advantage of it because life is fleeting!


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