Timothy Gilson Foote, editor, author, former Time-Life foreign correspondent and longtime Aquinnah and Chilmark seasonal resident, died Dec. 21 in Beaverkill, N.Y. He was 89 and recently had fallen ill with mesothelioma, acquired when he was a Naval Reserve radio operator on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific in World War II.

He was born in London, England, on May 3, 1926, a son of John and Jessica Florence (Todhunter) Foote, but came to the United States as a child. He attended Friends Academy in New York city, where he met Audrey Chamberlain, whom he would later marry. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 1949. There, he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the recipient of the university’s Bowdoin Prize, one of the highest academic commendations the university gives. He later received his master’s degree from Harvard.

Tim Foote joined the staff of Life magazine as a reporter in 1949 and five years later became a foreign correspondent for Time-Life in Paris. Among his overseas assignments was coverage of the Hungarian Revolt against the USSR in 1956, during which he was shot through a finger. Other assignments included the French war in Algeria, Nasser’s takeover of the Suez Canal in Egypt and a trip Nikita Krushchev took to Yugoslavia — the first trip Krushchev took outside the Soviet Union. Tim also traveled to Israel with the late Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt of New York and the Vineyard.

On Tim’s return to the United States, he became an editor at Life, then the book reviewer at Time. In 1982 he retired from Time as a senior editor. He had also been a senior editor at Life and the Smithsonian magazine. At the time of his death, he was still a member of the board of editors of the Smithsonian.

During his long career of writing, editing and teaching, Tim Foote also served as European editor of the International Book Society in Paris., fiction judge for the National Book Awards, a visiting lecturer in English composition at Yale and Stanford Universities, on the executive board of the National Book Critics Circle, on the advisory board of Sea History magazine, and as a member of the selection committee of the National Medal for Literature. He had also been a Time Fellow at Duke University.

Timothy and Audrey Foote.

An author as well as a journalist, he wrote The World of Peter Bruegel about the life and work of the 16th-century Flemish artist. He was also the author of the Vineyard-inspired children’s book, The Great Ringtail Garbage Caper. The story had its start in the rattling of garbage trucks on Flanders Lane in Menemsha. Its heroes were a group of daring, hijacking raccoons enjoying such fancy leavings of wealthy summer visitors as brie cheese. He also edited the Time-Life book Hungary’s Fight for Freedom and two books of stories written by his father, John Taintor Foote, A Wedding Gift and Other Stories and Dumb-Bell of Brookfield, Pocono Shot and Other Great Dog Stories.

Tim Foote first came to the Vineyard, to East Chop with his bride, Audrey Chamberlain Foote, in the summer of 1948. Both knew they wanted to return, and in the early 1960s that became a possibility. Then their friends, the late Joe and Suzanne Roddy, suggested they look for an up-Island rental.

They found one at the Cove Cottage on Chalker’s Lane in Chilmark. The following summer they were in Gay Head at the East Pasture home of the late Margaret Webster. There Tim, long enamored of sailing, seriously took up Sailfish sailing. Then the family returned to Paris for some years. When they next came to the Vineyard in 1966, Tim bought a white Sunfish, and each Wednesday and Saturday after that during the family’s July vacation he would be out on Menemsha Pond. Francophile that he was, he named the Sunfish Tricouleur, and saw to it that there was red and blue at the peak of the sail so that with its white foot it bore the three colors of the French flag. He always raced with great success, rarely failing to come in lower than second place, much to the despair of much younger race contenders.

When he was not racing, he was still likely to be sailing. He made one notable Sunfish trip alone from Menemsha Bight to Cuttyhunk and back. As recently as two years ago, an unexpected gust capsized his Sunfish on Menemsha Pond and it was half an hour before he could right the boat again. He sadly remarked to his children that he feared — at 87 — that he was aging.

Other summer rentals were in the Brigham house on Flanders Lane. There a favorite pastime was taking an early morning swim in the estuary below the house with Pamela, the golden retriever that he called “the Marilyn Monroe of retrievers,” or with one of her canine predecessors or successors. At the Ryerson house on Chalker’s Lane, he happily kept his Sunfish on Short Beach. In recent years, that house — away from it all — was the ideal summer vacation spot for the Foote family. Far off the main road, it was a perfect place for the dogs and cats that were always part of the household.

After their four children were grown, Tim and Audrey became foster parents to more than 75 puppies in their winter home in Washington, D.C., readying the dogs for adoption. Of course, wherever the Footes summered, there were always typewriters on the kitchen table — ready to be used by Tim or Audrey to write book reviews or articles.

Although sailing was Tim’s favorite summer activity, there were sometimes family beach excursions to Stonewall Beach or Lobsterville, the West Basin or Gay Head. On such excursions, seeking a private spot, Tim, bearing the beach umbrella and family beach towels, would march ahead of Audrey and their four children until he was far from other beachgoers. In time, to assure such privacy, he and Audrey and their friends, the Roddys and the late Robert Stanges, bought a piece of Gay Head beach for themselves.

Although a charming host (for years, the Footes had annual Bastille Day picnics at West Basin for their friends), Tim Foote relished being alone with nature on the Vineyard. The only companions he wanted on long Island walks were a pet dog or a family member. His son, Andrew, recalled one such special time when he was 13.

“It was well after dark under an early full moon. The wind was light, but steady and nothing else moved on the pond. We were both calm and happy and we got along well during the sail. The moonlight followed us, stirred by the wake of the rudder and we spoke very little. It was one of those near-perfect times with a father,” he said.

Although Tim Foote had grown up in beautiful, wooded countryside at Beaverkill in the Catskills in New York state, had lived overlooking the Hudson River on Nyack, N.Y., in Paris and Washington, D.C. and had traveled in much of the world, the happiest times of his life, he recently told his children, were the summers he had spent on the Vineyard.

He is survived by his four children, Colin Foote of Beaverkill, N.Y., Victoria Blackman of Falls Church, Va., and her daughter, Antonia, Valerie Foote of Silver Spring, Md., and her daughter, Harshada, and Andrew Todhunter of Stanford, Calif., and his children, Julia, William and Nicholas. He was predeceased by his wife, Audrey Chamberlain Foote, in 2012.

A memorial service will be held in Beaverkill at the end of July and ashes will be brought to the Vineyard later in the summer for distribution on the Island that brought him so much delight.