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Lincoln Pope was "Mr. Tennis" at Oak Bluffs.

Lincoln Pope Dies at His Boston Home

On Wednesday morning, Jan. 10, Lincoln Pope, who knew the Island all the summers of his life, died in his Boston home. His illness was not of long duration, and his death was a quiet passage out of pain. It was on the Island, the summer he returned from serving in World War II, that he met Gloria Downing, whose parents, Dr. and Mrs. Lylburn Downing of Roanoke, Va., had become cottage owners, and within a year they were married. They had three sons, Lincoln Pope 3rd, Lance, and Leland. Young Lincoln and his wife, Patsy, whose home is now Texas, are the parents of Lincoln Pope 4th, who was born last spring. The baby's new grandfather felt great pride that his name was passed on to the fourth generation.

Lincoln Pope was born in Everett 62 years ago to Lincoln and Lily Shearer Pope. He attended Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, and was a graduate of Boston University. He was the first black state senator in Massachusetts, and served from 1957 to 1964. For the past 15 years he was legislative assistant to the sergeant at arms of the state legislature.

He was many things more. He was a man of exceptional charm, who grew more handsome as the years added character and kindness to his unlined face. He was one of the founders of the Oak Bluffs Tennis Club, and he, as well as his wife, was an excellent player, who took his sons out on the court as soon as they could hold a racquet, and could not have been more patient.

He, as are his sisters, Mrs. Elizabeth White and Mrs. Doris Jackson, was part of the Shearer clan, a close-knit family of brothers and sisters and cousins, and their children and grandchildren, whose Island ties were firmly secured five generations back by great-great-grandfather Charles Shearer, who bought a cottage in the Highlands, which has remained in the family since the eighteen nineties. Though all the Shearer descendants who summer here have splendid cottages of their own, the more sentimental among them, including the late Lincoln Pope, could not bring themselves to putting Shearer Cottage up for sale. It and its adjoining buildings have been converted to utility apartments. But the outward appearance is the same. And childhood memories show traces everywhere.

There are many friends who, with Lincoln Pope's loss, will lose many shared walks and talks, many shared joys and sober reflections. But the pleasure of having known him will long outlive the grief.

At Riley's Funeral Home in Roxbury visiting hours will be from 7 to 9 this Friday evening. Services will be held at the People's Baptist Church in Boston at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday. At 2 p.m. on Saturday interment will be at Oak Grove Cemetery in Oak Bluffs.

In lieu of flowers the family requests that any contributions be made in Mr. Pope's name to the Martha's Vineyard Community Services.

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