Eleanor Norton Bennett of Chilmark died peacefully at home on Sept. 10, surrounded by her family and friends. She was 86 years old, one week shy of her 87th birthday.

A lifelong educator, Eleanor taught sixth grade at the Ridge Road School in North Haven, Conn., for 30 years before retiring in 1989 to the family home her great-uncle had built in Chilmark.

Eleanor was born Sept. 16, 1918, in Springfield, the daughter of Horatio Gates Norton and Belle Alice Walker. She received a bachelor's degree in chemistry from American International College in 1940 and a master's degree in elementary education from Southern Connecticut State College in 1968. She participated in a wide variety of continuing education programs throughout her life.

Eleanor was particularly interested in and involved in science education. She started and directed the outdoor education program at the Ridge Road School for eight years. She taught other teachers at PIMMS, the Project to Increase Mastery in Math and Science, at Wesleyan University from 1985 to 2002. And after retiring, she worked as a guide for school groups at the NOAA aquarium in Woods Hole.

Eleanor also served on the board of directors for the Connecticut Science Teachers Association, the Stevens Woods Ecumenical Elderly Housing, the Massachusetts Association of Science Teachers and the Coalition for the Advancement of Science Education in Massachusetts.

Eleanor is survived by her four children, Carol French of Chilmark, Patricia Lynch of West Tisbury, Dennis Bennett of North Haven, Conn., and Molly Bennett of Cambridge, and seven grandchildren, Cecil, Rob and Molly French, Liza and Pete Lynch and Kate and Caroline Bennett.

A service will be held in her memory at the West Tisbury Congregational Church on Oct. 2 at noon, after the regular Sunday morning service.

Donations in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society.