Serena Calabi Modigliani of Chilmark and Cambridge died on Wednesday, Sept. 24, at the age of 91. She was born in Bologna, Italy in 1917, the daughter of Giulio and Dina Vita Calabi. In 1939 she married the love of her life, Franco Modigliani, of Rome, who went on to win the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1985. They were married for 64 years before Franco died in 2003.

Together with Serena’s family, the couple escaped Mussolini’s fascist Italy via Paris, leaving on the last boat to the United States before the outbreak of World War II. They moved around the country, following Franco’s academic career, landing at MIT for good in 1962.

They first came to the Vineyard in 1950 and soon found a summer home on North Road. Serena was active in progressive politics, most notably with the League of Women Voters, and an outspoken believer in participatory democracy. Her granddaughter Leah said, “Not many people have a 91-year-old grandmother who leaves a message saying ‘Condoleeza Rice finally did something right; you need to call the state department and tell them. Here’s the number.’ ”

She was a nurturer of all things: plants and flowers (she knew every Latin name), birds and blueberries (her jam was a prized gift).

She is survived by her children, Sergio of Brookline and Chilmark, and Andre of Ann Arbor, Mich.; grandchildren, Leah, of New York, Julia of Belmont, David of Austin, Tex., and Amelia of Washington, D.C.; and great-grandchildren Michaela, Sophia, Serena and Chiara.

All of them fell in love with the Vineyard, as she did, and are forever grateful to her for the joy and peace she shared with them here.

A memorial gathering to celebrate her life was held in Cambridge last week, where friends and family shared memories of a special woman.