Cynthia Hamlin Walsh, treasured matriarch and former New York city restaurateur who was devoted to her family and friends, her dogs, the New York Giants, the Democratic Party and the Island of Martha’s Vineyard, died peacefully at her longtime home in West Tisbury on Oct. 10, one week shy of her 80th birthday. The cause was cancer.

Born in Larchmont, N.Y. to James and Virginia (O’Sullivan) Hamlin, Cynthia was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Conn. and the University of Michigan, where she studied journalism and met her husband, Jerome K. Walsh, a law student from Kansas City, Mo. They would later divorce.

The family moved to New York city, where Cynthia raised her three children while taking on writing jobs, including editing the Parents League Journal for private schools in the city and co-editing The Cooks’ Catalogue with James Beard. In 1976 Cynthia became a partner in Summerhouse, a popular restaurant on the Upper East Side, and Juanita’s, one of the first Tex-Mex restaurants in the city.

Cynthia fell in love with the Vineyard during a yachting trip with her father in the 1950s and spent her first summer on the Island in 1959 as a young wife and mother. Two years later, she bought the house and 13 acres of land in West Tisbury, a corner of the world that came to be cherished by her and her loved ones. Every summer the Walshes would decamp to their Vineyard home, where the big backyard and the hammock would get a mighty workout when the kids weren’t at the beach or in a pond.

For nearly 55 years Cynthia, or Cyna as she was known to those who loved her, filled her farmhouse with love, wit, and gourmet cooking as she brought together her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and close friends. She was fiercely loyal, a boon companion and trusted confidante to many. A slim, beautiful redhead with boundless energy and a hearty laugh, she loved a good story, especially about Island life or foolish Republicans.

In 1990, Cynthia moved full-time to the Vineyard and threw herself into Island life, becoming a docent and board member of the Polly Hill Arboretum, a member of the Nightingales organization supporting the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and writing the weekly Please Adopt Us column in the Vineyard Gazette for the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard. As her children married and had their own families, they would frequently return to the house on Old County Road to gather in the kitchen or on the back porch to talk and laugh with Mom, Cyna, Grammy. Her home became one of those places that is a character itself in a great novel.

Cynthia is survived by her daughters, Lawler Walsh Parker and Katherine Bowen Walsh; sisters Diana Hamlin Cotter and Virginia Jaime Hamlin; daughter-in-law Colette DuMont; sons-in-law Bruce Fernie and Terry Parker; adored grandchildren Maddie and Aidan Parker, Bowen, Avery and Dana Fernie, and Ella Claire, Henri and Audrey Walsh; nephews Duncan, Alexander, Nicholas and MacAleer Schilcher, and nieces Cynthia Walsh, Megan Cotter and Michaela Santen. Her son, James Anthony Hamlin Walsh, predeceased her.

A celebration of her life will be held at the West Tisbury Grange Hall on Saturday, Nov. 28 with details to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation for a brick in her name to the West Tisbury Library or the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard, or a contribution to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.