Members of the Vineyard recovery community are mourning the death of Dennis Redican, an Island recovery stalwart and friend to many.

Mr. Redican died Jan. 27 at the age of 74.

“Larger than life” was the phrase many used to describe the affable Oak Bluffs arborist, sometimes nicknamed Grand Slam, who became known for his unstinting support of struggling addicts and alcoholics in early sobriety.

“Dennis, in many ways, was a giant,” Mocha Mott’s owner Tim Dobel told the Gazette Friday. “There’s a big hole where his love and wild energy walked.”

“He was a big, generous, joyful, childlike, one-of-a-kind person,” said Mr. Redican’s longtime friend Deirdre Brown of Oak Bluffs.

“He attacked his sobriety .. with as much gusto as he did his misadventures, which are equally legendary.”

Those misadventures included more than two years in federal prison after a 1986 DEA marijuana sting in Nevada. Mr. Redican was freed in early 1989, but there would be more tough times to come before he finally hit bottom, his friends recalled.

“We used [drugs], and he saw me get clean,” said John Potter of Oak Bluffs, a friend for more than 30 years. “I told him, ‘When you’re ready [to quit], let me know.”

When Mr. Redican finally resolved to get sober, more than 10 years ago, he committed himself to recovery.

“He put the life jacket on and said ‘What do I do? I will do anything.’ He did what he needed to do to get clean and have a better life,” said Mr. Potter.

“Once he put it down, bang, that was it,” recalled Trip Barnes of Vineyard Haven.

As part of his recovery Mr. Redican moved to Vineyard House, the Island’s only sober living facility, and became a fixture at early-morning 12-step meetings.

“He had instant joy in being sober,” Ms. Brown said. “He never looked back.”

Mr. Redican would go to any lengths to help people in early-stage recovery, his friends said.

“If you reached out and asked for help, Dennis would be there for you, whether it was four in the morning or four in the afternoon. He walked the talk,” said Mr. Dobel.

“Watching Dennis transform and become a mentor and a guiding light for so many people was quite amazing to behold,” said Tristan Israel of Vineyard Haven.

Mr. Redican was generous with his money as well as his time, friends said, and also hired many struggling addicts and alcoholics at the company he founded, Tabor Tree Service (now Tabor Tree & Land).

“You could barely say your own name, and . . . he’d drag you out there to pick up tree branches and earn enough money to eat,” Mr. Dobel said. “He was a man of huge heart.”

“He just gave and gave and gave and gave and gave,” Ms. Brown said. “He was just so joyful to be not using and to be helping people.”

Visiting hours for Mr. Redican were held Saturday at the Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.

“He’s going to be forever missed,” Mr. Potter said.