Miles Stahl Carpenter, 90, a founder of Machine and Marine who was deeply involved in Tisbury town affairs for more than 50 years, died May 24 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital.

A 60-year resident of Vineyard Haven, he was born in the rural town of Waverly, Va., on August 28, 1916, where he spent much of his youth roaming the adjacent fields and woods.

His passion for the mariner's life was exhibited early on as he spent much time constructing model boats from wood scraps scavenged from his father's sawmill. At the age of 16, he graduated from high school and soon thereafter attended Virginia Tech, earning a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering in 1937.

After his matriculation, he moved to Rahway, N.J., where he landed a job with General Motors working as a welding engineer for several years. He then transferred to Grumman Aircraft to assist in constructing aircraft for the war effort. In his spare time he learned to sail on the local waters of Barnegat Bay.

A few years after moving to New Jersey, he met Janet Wyckoff in a blinding snowstorm. After a short courtship, they were married Dec. 21, 1940. In 1943 they became the proud parents of E. Star Carpenter.

In 1945, while on a summer cruise to Nantucket on his second sailboat, the schooner Escape II, the family spent five fogbound days in Edgartown exploring the Vineyard. He immediately fell in love the place. Within a year, with the encouragement of his friend and eventual business partner, John Painter, he and the family moved to the Vineyard.

He and John established the Beach Road Corporation, the current site of Benjamin & Gannon Shipyard, which was quickly renamed Machine and Marine Corporation. They initially made their living teaching sailing, renting sailboats, doing some marine work and retreading tires. Gradually the business evolved into a marina and the first machine and welding repair shop on the Island. Miles and John bought adjacent property on Hines Point in Tisbury overlooking Lagoon Pond where both families established residency.

In 1948, another child, Miles (Chip) Carpenter, was born on June 10 at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital. In 1954, Machine and Marine moved down the street to the current site of West Marine. The business gradually flourished and soon the marina, known as The Pilot House, gained a first-rate reputation in the boating world along the East Coast.

In 1978, a few years after his partner retired, he sold the business to pursue his lifelong dream of sailing. When in 2005 he sold his last boat Escape IV, he was proud to say he had made 28 trips up and down the Intercoastal Waterway.

In 1983, his wife Janet became ill while in the Florida Keys and died rather unexpectedly. Miles eventually was remarried to Margaret Wolontis on Nov. 13, 1988 with whom he spent his remaining years.

Miles, a man with high social conscience, cared much about town affairs for more than 50 years. He served on many boards and committees including harbor management, wastewater planning, personnel board and the site plan review board. Much respected, he could be counted on to bring clarity to many issues of importance.

Miles had a reputation of having impeccable character. He had an affable sense of humor and loved to chat at length with customers and friends. His stories were numerous and interesting. His knowledge of boats, the sea and weather were legendary and his recall of details was phenomenal. He had a deep religious faith throughout his life and was influential in establishing the Lambert's Cove Christian Church.

Survivors include his wife; his daughter, E. Star Carpenter and her husband Chuck Harris of Gardnerville, Nev.; his son Miles (Chip) Carpenter and wife Sarah of Solon, Me., his stepdaughters, Nikki Wolontis and husband Jack of California and Margie Wood and husband Randy of Iowa; and two step-grandchildren, Ben and Eric.

A memorial service with reception to follow will be held Sunday, June 17 at 1 p.m. at Owen Park in Vineyard Haven, weather permitting. In case of rain, the service will be held at the Katharine Cornell Theatre.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Tisbury Waterways, Inc., P.O. Box 4375, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.