Vernon Russell Tisdale

Vernon Russell Tisdale of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, Mass., formerly of Westwood, died peacefully on Jan. 25, 2020, surrounded by his family at Brigham and Women’s Hospital after a 23-year battle with cancer.

Born in Jamaica, N.Y., to Joseph and Doris Tisdale, the family moved to Keene when Vernon was 12. Vern was a basketball letterman at Keene High School, where he met the love of his life, Ann Schultz. She was two years his junior and a cheerleader for his basketball team. The two married in 1969 and recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with many friends and family. The love they shared was one of a kind.

Vern attended Nasson College in Springvale, Maine, where he played both basketball and golf and graduated cum laude with a degree in chemistry. While at Nasson, Vern traveled to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) representing the school as part of the Experiment in International Living. This experience instilled in him a love of travel and different cultures. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Purdue University, graduating in 1976 and moving to Chicago for his first job with Sherwin-Williams.

Vern had a long and successful career in sales and marketing with cutting-edge scientific instrumentation companies including PerSeptive Biosystems in Cambridge and Framingham and Waters Corp. in Milford, Mass. During his career he was able to rekindle his love of travel while working extensively throughout Europe and Asia promoting strategic partnerships. Ann was able to join him on many of his trips, sharing these adventures. Vern retired from Waters Corp. in 2017. He was a very involved dad, supporting his children in their many sports and activities like learning father-daughter dances, coaching baseball and basketball, assisting with science projects and teaching Sunday school. His support continued for his grandchildren, attending school and sports events and sharing a love of his hobbies with them.

Vern was an avid boater, enjoying the peace and quiet of a boat under sail. His love of sailing began as a young man in Keene, sailing on Spofford Lake. This love became a lifelong passion for all things boats — searching, buying, collecting, selling and sometime restoring. His favorite boat was his beloved Butterfly, a boat designed and built in Mattapoisett, which he moored there for nearly 30 years. It was this boat that lead to his discovery of the seaside towns of Mattapoisett and Fairhaven that he loved so much. In addition to boating, Vern loved golfing with his son and friends, antique homes, vintage woodworking tools, gardening, his Honda Element, and a good German beer.

During his long battle with cancer, Vern continued to remain positive, upbeat and hopeful to the very end. His faith in the science of medicine (“Better living through chemistry,” was what he always said) helped keep him optimistic about the future. Even his many doctors commented on his positive outlook and his interest in the science behind his myriad treatments. Ann continued to be his cheerleader throughout his illnesses and hospitalizations, buoying his spirits if they ever did start to dip. His strength and courage will be remembered by us all.

He was the loving husband of Ann (Schultz) Tisdale; brother to Donald and Sheila Tisdale of Walpole, Robert and Dianne Tisdale of Keene and June and David Kanter of Lebanon, Conn; brother-in-law to Susan and Thomas Wyman of Keene. Vern will be cherished and remembered always by his three children and their spouses, Lindsay and Jarlath Forde of Dover, Mass., Tracy and Joshua Orr of Cambridge, Mass., and Nathan Tisdale of Fairhaven, Mass. He will forever be a loving Papa to William, Marin, Caroline, Hugh, Amelia and Katie, and a favorite uncle of his many nieces and nephews.

Donations may be made in Vern’s memory to the Mattapoisett Community Sailing Association, P.O. Box 947, Mattapoisett, Mass. 02739.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend visiting hours in the Holden, Dunn and Lawler Funeral Home, 55 High Rock St., Westwood on Thursday, Feb. 6, from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral service will be celebrated at the First Parish of Westwood United Church, 252 Nahatan St., Westwood, on Friday, Feb. 7, at 11 a.m. Interment will be private. Holden-Dunn-Lawler is assisting with arrangements. (www.hdlfuneralhome.net)