Nathaniel Firestone, of Fort Lee, N.J., and Oak Bluffs, died on Nov. 16 at the age of 81.

Known as Nat to colleagues, Nuti to family and friends and Nonno to his grandchildren, he was born in Czernowitz, Romania in 1926. Orphaned at age 15, he survived the German occupation and subsequent Russian “liberation” of his hometown. He managed to escape and eventually made his way to Italy in 1945. He studied architecture at the University of Torino and in 1949 emigrated to the United States. Nat graduated from the Yale School of Architecture in 1951 and married Marina Zaccaro later that year.

Nat worked as an architect in New York City and Houston. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany from 1954 to 1955. From 1964 to 1966 Nat and his family lived in Tunisia where he was a supervisor of Peace Corps volunteers.

Nat was extremely proud of his work for the University of Texas Health Science Center, from which he retired in 1991, and he continued to serve the center as a volunteer during his retirement, for which service he received numerous honors.

Nat and his family purchased The Ark, a gingerbread cottage in the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, in 1971 and began what was to become a 35-year-long loving restoration of the cottage. Nat was an active member of the Oak Bluffs Senior Center during his summers on the Vineyard and he attended meetings of the prostate cancer support Group. He also served on the Camp Meeting Association’s architectural review board.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Marina, daughter Louise, son John, their spouses, Joseph Pizzurro and Sandra Miller, and grandchildren Katie, Claire, Andrew and Gregory.

The family is planning a memorial service in the Tabernacle during the summer of 2008. Gifts in his memory may be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, P.O. Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or the charity of your choice.