Mark London, the former executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, died Saturday night in Boston.

Mr. London had been battling a rare form of leukemia for a number of years, and had recently had a stem cell transplant.

He held the top post at the commission from 2002 until his retirement in 2015.

“It’s a sad day for all of us in the commission family,” commission executive director Adam Turner said in a statement Sunday. “He devoted a good part of his life to keeping the Vineyard the Vineyard,” he added.

“He’s going to be sorely missed in the commission community,” said MVC chairman Jim Vercruysse. “He was a mentor and a real good friend. I was on the committee that hired him.” Mr. Vercruysse described Mr. London as talented planner who loved the Vineyard. “He had a great vision for how to preserve and maintain character of the Island . . . He had a really dry sense of humor. He was witty and really underplayed his statements,” he said.

“Mark was a true gentleman and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever met. He was as devoted to the Island as anyone I know,” said commissioner Doug Sederholm.

“He was totally devoted to the Island and to the commission. He was a workaholic,” said commissioner Joan Malkin. “Working with him, you never doubted that his intent was pure. He was never corrupted by interests. He was true to his beliefs about development.”
Mr. London came to the Vineyard from Montreal where he had worked as a city planner for some 31 years. He had previously been a summer visitor to the Island.

He took the helm at the commission during a time of internal turmoil.

“This is the people’s commission doing the people’s business . . . I hope we can get over reasonably quickly the current divisiveness,” he said just before he took the job.

Mr. London presided over a period when planning work outweighed high-profile development reviews at the MVC. Among other things he led the Island Plan, a 50-year comprehensive plan that was two years in the making and completed in December 2009.

He lived in Chilmark with his wife Linda Thompson. An obituary appears online.