Michael Graham Mendlovitz of Montclair, N.J., died on Oct. 18 at St. Joseph’s Hospital hospice in Wayne, N.J. The son of Roberta Mendlovitz of Vineyard Haven, he was 51 and had been diagnosed with malignant melanoma five years ago.

He was born in Montclair, N.J., on May 9, 1957. In his early years he spent many summers and vacations on the Vineyard, his mother’s birthplace. He learned to swim at Menemsha Beach and especially loved up-Island solitude. He was planning to spend the winter with his mother on the Vineyard before his cancer became incurable. His childhood was spent in Cohasset with his family where he was educated at Derby Academy in Hingham, the Fessenden School in Newton and Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.

Music of all kinds, and reading and writing his own thoughts were the passions of his life. While attending Rutgers University, many of his happiest years were spent managing a music store in Montclair. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became a world traveler and accomplished his childhood goal to one day stand on the Great Wall of China. Other travels took him to England, Spain, Poland, Germany, Sweden, Iceland, Laos, Cambodia, Viet Nam, India and for much of his life to Thailand where he owned a bookstore in the village of Pi near the Burmese border. There he spent wonderful years learning the arts of massage and Eastern healing. His bookstore became a famous attraction for English-speaking tourists over a period of 10 years.

Michael was a dear and loving person who saw life through sensitive and kind eyes. He will be sorely missed by his grieving family and friends. When his cancer progressed in April, 2008, he left Thailand and came home to Montclair.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his father, Saul Mendlovitz, a professor of international law at Rutgers University Law School; sisters Jessica Dibb of Owings Mills, Md., and her son Joshua, and Martha Matt of Swarthmore, Pa., and her son Samuel; brother John of Montclair, N.J.; an uncle, Albert Mendlovitz and his family of New York; two dear aunts and many cousins. He was predeceased by his sister Jamie Bradford in 1995.

He leaves his family with the sound of music that he loved. From Bo Diddley to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and Deborah Harry to Sinatra and Bach, his wide love and knowledge of music defined him, as did his writings and his gentle, unforgettable, free and loving spirit.

A private funeral service was held for family and friends in Owings Mills, Md. at the home of his sister Jessica. Interment was at Gunpowder Friends Meetinghouse Cemetery in Sparks, Md. on a beautiful autumn day, Oct. 20, beside his sister Jamie who died of breast cancer 13 years to the very day Michael was buried.

Gifts in his memory may be made to a charity of one’s choice.