Jonathan Revere, a longtime West Tisbury resident and member of the finance committee in that town, died Jan. 19 at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The cause was complications from a heart attack and stroke, a close friend said. He was 74.

Mr. Revere wore many hats but was best known for his role as a self-appointed watchdog of Island politics, especially in his home town.

He ran for office unsuccessfully many times before being elected to the finance committee.

“Some people said they won’t vote for me because they think I do a good job doing what I do now. But you can only go so far as a gadfly,” he told the Gazette in a 2006 interview when he ran unsuccessfully for assessor. “Ultimately, you have to work from the inside as well as the outside,” he said. “You have to be unafraid of losing in order to be able to win.”

A descendant of Paul Revere, he was the son of a journalist and his mother was one of the first women in the world to own an electron microscope. He graduated from Harvard University in 1960 as class poet. He worked as a summer reporter at the Gazette in 1958.

He grew up in Manhattan and first visited the Vineyard as a teenager in 1952. Three years later his mother bought a home in Seven Gates Farm. He moved there permanently in 1984.

In the 2006 Gazette interview he recalled that when he first moved to the Island, he had no interest in town politics.

“I used to be the most apolitical guy on the face of the earth,” he said. “I did a lot of theatre work out here and I was happy.”

“The Island is poorer for his loss. He was very close to being one of a kind, if not unique,” wrote Richard Knabel, a West Tisbury selectman and friend, in an email to the Gazette Monday.

An obituary will appear in a later edition of the Gazette.