John Rodes Helm died Nov. 29 in Montclair, N.J. He first came to the Vineyard as an infant in 1931 with his parents, Mary Rodes and Harold H. Helm. He returned to Chilmark every summer of his life, except for the time he served in Korea in 1953 and 1954.

In his teen years during World War II, John worked in summer at the old Chilmark Store when it was operated by Rex and Alice Weeks. Later he worked on Chilmark roads with Bill Smith Sr. Still later, John was one of the founding board members of the Vineyard Conservation Society. He read and loved Vineyard history, especially Chilmark history.

He took pleasure in the lore of his parents’ Quitsa Lane house, formerly the home of the feminist leader of the 1890s, Alice Stone Blackwell, daughter of Lucy Stone. John graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and Princeton, class of 1952. Then he worked in publishing for Doubleday, Praeger and MIT Press. He loved books and collected them.

A resident of Montclair since 1971, John provided leadership for many community boards there and for Central Presbyterian Church. He gave 93 pints of blood through the Montclair chapter of the American Red Cross up until 2003, and then he gave platelets for the next 10 years.

John was preceded in death by his partner Roberta Steiner. He is survived by a sister, Eleanor Helm Ketcham, and her husband John of Aquinnah and Elon, N.C., and by nephews and nieces Jim Ketcham and his wife Dana, Cliff Ketcham and his partner James Moudy, Mary Sterner and her husband David and five great-nephews and nieces. He is also survived by his close cousin, Louise Helm Bessire and her sons Paul and Mark.

A memorial service was held in Montclair in early December, and interment will be later in a family gravesite in Bowling Green, Ky. The family suggests contributions in John’s memory to the Vineyard Conservation Society or to the Permanent Endowment Fund for Martha’s Vineyard with a note indicating the Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Fund.