Lillian Strauss Kellman, noted storyteller and longtime Chilmark resident, died last week. She was 89.

Lillian was born May 8, 1926 to Sophie and Joseph Strauss and grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her brother Elliot. She fell in love with Ray Kellman as a high school girl and married him in 1945 at age 19, while Ray was a pilot in the Air Corps just before World War II ended. Their marriage continued to grow and deepen over the more than 70 years that they shared together.

As a high school student Lillian worked in a settlement house in the Lower East side of Manhattan. In 1947, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Brooklyn College. Her first job was at the Institute for International Education, where she was in charge of the French student exchange program.

Lillian had three children, Christine, Peter, and Lisa, who well remember the many hours she spent reading to them. This opened her up to the world of children’s literature, which led her to become a children’s librarian. She went back to school and earned her master’s degree in library science from C.W. Post College, writing a thesis on Yugoslavian children’s literature, before becoming a school librarian at the Locust Valley Elementary School on Long Island for 15 years.

After retiring in 1980 to live full time on Martha’s Vineyard, she began a second career as a storyteller. For two years her program, Once There Was and Will Always Be Story, ran on Sunday mornings on WMVY to an enthusiastic audience. Over the course of 25 years she told stories regularly in the Chilmark and Oak Bluffs schools and had a weekly program at the Chilmark library. Many students remember her annual telling of Stone Soup on the day before Thanksgiving.

Lillian delighted in knowing her former students as they grew to be adults and in telling stories to their children. With her great love of books and literature she formed a book group with her close friend Liz Gude that lasted many years. As a member of the board of trustees of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber Music Society she worked to bring music to the community.

Lillian and Ray travelled extensively and made many lasting friends in their travels. They lived 40 wonderful years on the Vineyard. Lillian’s vibrant personality and caring nature led to long lasting friendships. She had a strong spirit and loved to express herself through dance, taking classes throughout her later life. She was known to jump up after dinner and spontaneously dance to whatever music, was playing to the amusement of her husband Ray.

She will be sorely missed by her friends and her family, her beloved husband Ray, her daughter Chrissie, her son Peter and his wife Kim, her daughter Lisa and her partner Dino, and her grandchildren Michael and Matthew.

A memorial service is planned for this summer. Lillian would appreciate any gifts to be made in her name to the Chilmark Free Public Library.