Helen Hulbert Bowring died suddenly but peacefully at her beloved winter home in Barbados on March 17. She was 94.

Helen was born on Feb. 1, 1922 while her parents, Mary and William Hulbert, were visiting Aiken, S.C.

Helen was brought up with her three siblings, Catherine, William and Elizabeth, at Stonehedge Farm in Middleburg, Va. Their childhood was filled with ponies, dogs, fox hunting, polo, roaring ‘20s house parties and the frequent visits of bootleggers in their sinister black trucks. The children were apparently often called upon to crawl up to the attic and siphon off more of the “good stuff” for the parties down below. Along with the tall tales of their father and the stories of their mother, they were raised by their indomitable and impressive governess, Miss Sparks.

During World War II, Helen and her sister Lizzie escaped the farm for the bright lights of New York city. While Lizzie went to school, Helen worked for the British Ministry of War. One weekend on the train back from Long Island, Helen met a young Naval lieutenant who became the love of her life, E. Bonner Bowring.

When they were married on May 10, 1947 in Middleburg, Va., Helen gained a stepdaughter, Shirley, and an introduction to Martha’s Vineyard and the town of Edgartown, where they would spend every summer until 1969, when she and Bonner moved there full time.

Summers were filled with sailing and tennis at the Edgartown Yacht Club, swimming at the Chappaquiddick Beach Club and Cracktuxet Beach and tootling around Edgartown Harbor in her old scallop boat Abigail, which looked like a mini tug boat.

One fateful Fourth of July in 1974, Helen broke her ankle and was unable to do any of the summer activities she so loved. To fill her days, she took her first art class ever with Mrs. Mead at the Old Sculpin Gallery. From then on art was the focus of her life right until the end. She was a committed student, mastering watercolor, oils, pastels and acrylics. For years she would have a show every year at the Old Sculpin Gallery.

In 1996, she became one of the founding members of what would become Featherstone Center for the Arts. At age 93 she was still taking classes there, and in 2015, she had her own one-woman retrospective which was a great thrill for her.

Helen was always a fiercely independent and original woman who believed in the importance of exercise. She walked almost every day of her life, swam when she could, and was still working out several days a week at the Be Strong Gym.

Helen was predeceased by her husband Bonner, her brother William, her sister Catherine, and her half sister Marie Louise. She is survived by her daughter Pamela and her husband Morris Flam, her stepdaughter Shirley and her husband Dennis Kluesener, her three granddaughters Anna, Emily and Molly Flam, her sister Elizabeth and her husband Russel Gray, her stepsister Natie Kaye and her nine nieces and nephews.

There will be a memorial service in the beginning of June, with more information to be announced soon.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Featherstone Center for the Arts, Family Planning of Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Community Services or the charity of your choice.