Thomas Ellis Rivers Jr. of Chilmark died peacefully at home on Jan. 1, 2015, with Barbara, his wife of 65 years, by his side. He was 89.

Tom was born in New York city on August 9, 1925 the son of Thomas Ellis Rivers and Ruth Harris Rivers of Bronxville, N.Y., where he grew up. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Lehigh University where he was a member of Chi Psi fraternity. He was also an alumnus of the graduate school of banking at Rutgers University and the graduate school of mortgage banking at Northwestern University.

He began his business career at the Chase National Bank in New York, where he was an officer for many years. After a period as a member of senior management of the Old Stone Bank in Providence, R.I., he concluded his career as chief executive of Massachusetts Business Development Corporation in Boston, during which time he served as a director of several moderate-sized corporations and as a commissioner on the Boston Economic Development Commission.

Tom and his high school sweetheart, Barbara Ball Rivers, were married in April of 1949. They started their family in New Canaan, Conn., and for many years lived in Wayland, Mass., where he was a financial trustee of the First Parish Church.

During World War II, he served in the Navy as a meteorologist in the Pacific theatre. He was discharged from the reserve as a lieutenant junior grade. In the 1950s he learned to fly and over the years accumulated nearly 1,900 hours in light planes. Tom gave one of his grandsons his first flying lesson in the summer of 2011 from the Martha’s Vineyard airport. He and his family, plus cat and dog, frequently flew to the Vineyard from wherever they were living.

Tom had two passions — birding and travel. He was first introduced to birds at the age of nine by his maternal grandmother, and was nurtured by the late Dick Pough of Chilmark and the Museum of Natural History in New York. This early interest became a hobby that carried him to the far corners of the globe. He and his wife Barbara traveled extensively, including three trips around the world. Together they went to every continent, all the oceans and many of the seas, most by small expedition-type ships or freighters.

Barbara and Tom moved to the Vineyard to her family home, Gaymark, in 1980 where, when not birding or traveling, he could be found happily puttering or out fishing on his boat, the Barbara B.

He served as director, treasurer and vice president of the Vineyard Conservation Society for many years. He served two terms as a member of the Chilmark finance advisory committee and at the time of his death, was a member of the board of trustees of the Felix Neck Wildlife Trust. He was a member of the First Congregational Church in West Tisbury, where he served on the endowment fund committee.

Tom is survived by his loving wife Barbara, his daughter Diane Dow Rivers of Sarasota, Fla., his daughter in law Ricky Vider Rivers, his brother in law John F. O’Brien of Harrison, N.Y., two grandsons, two nephews and one niece. He was predeceased by his son, David Ellis Rivers, who was killed in the World Trade Center attack on Sept. 11, 2001.

Donations in his memory may be made to the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary or to the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury.

A memorial service will take place later this spring or summer.