Norman Ethier, a longtime resident of Oak Bluffs, passed away peacefully on April 5, 2016 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. He was 84 years old. Norman was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He developed his interests in music and dancing early in life. He also loved to travel, working at jobs that took him all over the United States as a salesman for Proctor and Gamble, then as a dance instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studios. He was a graceful dancer, and became a top instructor in the east! Never one to sit still, Norman then ventured into fabric sales for Cooley, Inc., which had NASA as a client. He became a manager at the company and travelled to Italy, Jamaica and Bermuda for work collecting many treasured items along the way.
Norman had traveled to the Vineyard for summer vacations. When a beautiful old house in Oak Bluffs, the Pennacook House next to Our Lady Star of the Sea Church, caught his eye, he decided to buy it. Using his skills as a salesman he was able to secure the house with a mere $100.00 downpayment! He was 40 years old and had made the island his home. Norman and his friend ran the home as a bed and breakfast. They soon became business partners when they bought and managed Metell's 5&10 on Circuit Ave., where Basics is today.
After the death of his partner Norman sold his house and made Woodside Village his home. He was very involved in community life there, serving as president of the Woodside Tenants Association for 17 years. He organized many social opportunities for the residents during that time, including three annual cookouts on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. Norman led an interesting, well-traveled, happy life. Services will be private. Donations in Norman’s memory may be made to an island charity of one’s choice.