After 30 years of serving the town of Edgartown, John Lovewell attended his last meeting as a water commissioner on Tuesday. The staff and fellow commissioners presented Mr. Lovewell with a clock and a model fire hydrant to thank him for his service.

“It’s against the town bylaws to get you a real one,” joked water commissioner chairman James Kelleher.

Water has been a family business, Mr. Lovewell said. His grandfather, Julien W. Vose, was one of the founding members of the water company that served Edgartown before the water system became town operated. Mr. Lovewell owned 15 shares in that company, which he donated to the town. The framed stock certificate hangs in the water department office. After retiring as an engineer and moving to the Vineyard in 1983, Mr. Lovewell served three terms as a wastewater commissioner, and in 1992, when the town took over operations of the water company, he ran for the position of water commissioner, which he has held for 24 years.

“I guess it was in my blood to pursue an engineering interest, so I took to a water commissioner,” Mr. Lovewell said, comfortably seated in a leather armchair in his Edgartown home. He said he enjoyed the problem solving that came with the job the most.

Town celebrates Mr. Lovewell's 30 years of service. — Mark Lovewell

At age 94, Mr. Lovewell’s hearing is going but his wit remains sharp. In his first years as water commissioner, Mr. Lovewell alongside Robert Burnham and William Erickson strengthened the water distribution system which suffered from weak pumps and a small standpipe. Halfway through his tenure, he helped install Quenomica well. In his last year, he advocated for painting the standpipe a soft off-white, the color of clouds.

“The Oak Bluffs tank is too white for me. I like to see it being more of a fog color, blend with clouds. We certainly don’t want to make it red or make it stand out,” he said.

Not everybody always realized the commitment water commissioners have. Mr. Lovewell recalled traveling to Boston to testify in a court case in his capacity as wastewater commissioner.

“The judge looked at me and said, ‘well, you’re only a volunteer,’” he said, with a laugh. “That put me in my place, but I think wastewater commissioners are dedicated volunteers.”

Mr. Lovewell has a great passion for water, but noted that the subject isn’t always on people’s minds, despite how much they rely on it. He said he has followed the Flint, Mich. water crisis with great interest.

“We kind of take water for granted, you turn on the faucet in the morning and the water comes out...It’s always there,” he said.

And although he may be retiring from the commission, Mr. Lovewell will not be retiring his strong opinions.

“I was never in favor of fluoridation,” he said. “I think the water department is only responsible for delivering a potable water and if they want to start putting stuff in water to make your hair grow or something — it’s enough for the people at the water department to add the chemicals to make the water potable rather than have to put in fluoride.”

Mr. Lovewell said he will continue to follow the department with interest in his retirement. In his free time he will turn to his crossword puzzles, filling in the answers in pen, and following sports teams, especially baseball.

“I listen to the Yankees game on the radio and I’m happy when they lose,” he said.

And when asked about his contributions to the town, he remains humble.

“Surviving is my main achievement,” he said.