Martha Agricola, 79

Thu, 09/13/2018 - 11:00pm

Martha Dorothy Decker Agricola of Block Island, R.I., and Bonita Springs, Florida, died on Sept. 3, 2018, after a long illness. She was born on Sept. 14, 1938. Martha’s father was the weatherman on Block Island during most of the 1940s and the family resided year-round in the Weather Bureau. She attended the Block Island School until eighth grade. There were only three students in her class and the number dropped to one when she and her cousin, Wendy, moved off the island to attend high school in Stratford, Conn.

Martha is survived by her husband of 61 years, Bob, her daughters Robin Calvert, Bambi Agricola Poppick, Kim and Amy Agricola; her son Peter Agricola; her cousin Wendy Bradley; sons-in-law Mike Barta and Brian Calvert; daughter-in-law Melanie Manning and 11 terrific grandchildren. Her grandson, Drew, brother William, and sister Jane predeceased her. 

Prior to her illness, Martha was a person of great energy. She went to college full-time while raising five young children and still found time to knit, sew and garden. Her daughters remember her staying up late at night sewing prom dresses and many of her friends treasure the handmade Christmas stockings and ornaments they received from her as gifts.

Martha graduated as a nurse from Jefferson Community College in Watertown, N.Y. and as a Nurse Practitioner from Albany Medical Center. She volunteered and worked at Planned Parenthood and lobbied for a woman's right to choose. She was always a good medical detective and was noted for her kindness and her diagnostic skills. One of her patients was so impressed with her skills that he offered to pay her way through medical school. Alas, she had three of her own children in college at the time so it was not possible for her to accept the offer.

Martha and her family first started coming for summer vacations on Block Island in 1965. The family bought a cottage in Sheeps Meadow in 1982 and came for some part of the summer thereafter. She and Bob moved to the island full-time in 1997. They lived in their island home six months a year at the time of her death.

The family will have a private remembrance at a later date. Should friends desire, contributions may be made in her memory to the Block Island Health Services, P.O. Box 919, Block Island, R.I. 02807 or the Block Island Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 214, Block Island, RI 02807, two organizations that allowed her to remain on her beloved island.