Mari Brainerd Harman, a lifelong resident of Edgartown, died Thursday, July 20 at her home on the harbor with her children and loving caregivers at her side. She was 95.

Having spent every summer of her life on the Vineyard, she returned to year-round residency a year ago. Mari was at least the third generation of Brainerds to inhabit the Island, a legacy that has continued through three more generations of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Island was always home to her.

Born in Montreal, Canada on Jan. 24, 1922, Mari was the youngest child and only daughter of Elizabeth McLennan and Winthrop Brainerd. The Brainerds built a summer house in Green Hollow, Edgartown in 1916 and would spend part of every summer on the Island. Mari learned to sail as a child on the Vineyard, engendering a lifelong love of sailing which led to summers spent cruising the Eastern seaboard including parts of Canada aboard numerous boats, especially Nanuk and Nanuk II.

Educated at Netherwood School in New Brunswick and Miss Edgar’s and Miss Cramp’s School in Montreal, she attended McGill University for one year before leaving school to drive ambulances for the Canadian Red Cross during World War II.

She met her future husband, Archer, in Edgartown. His family bought a house on Starbuck’s Neck, moving later to one on Tower Hill that abutted the Brainerd property. It was from the porch of a rented house in 1938 that Archer first spotted the girl who would become his wife, and who for the next 70 years would be his constant, delighted companion. Growing up together on the Vineyard, Mari and Archer shared many mutual friends and a passion for sailing. They were married in 1944 when Archer was a senior at Yale University and about to head off to the Pacific theatre in World War II as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy.

Mari and Archer raised four children and eventually welcomed six grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. All the “greats” came to know her well and loved spending time with her on and off the Island. The family knew her as Bamum and remained extremely close to her until her death.

While her husband, Archer, was a highly respected, life-long educator —he was headmaster of many schools most notably Peck School in Morristown, N.J. and St. George’s School in Newport, R.I. — Mari assumed the important role of headmaster’s wife and was at Archer’s side throughout his career, providing support, guidance, and advice. Many former students, teachers and colleagues cite her influence as being vitally important in their own lives.

One head of school wrote: “Nobody I have ever known could match Mari for her transparent and enthusiastic pleasure at being in the presence of students in a [school] community. Her energy and humor were contagious. It was simply not possible to remain dour and self-absorbed in her presence.”

Another said: “Your mother was an original and an inspiration to those of us in the (school) business.”

Her family will remember Mari for her indomitable spirit, her irrepressible good cheer, her fearlessness in the face of convention and preconceived expectations, her boundless energy and enthusiasm, and her ability to find joy in such things as the daily wonders of her bird feeders, cards and creations from her “greats,” swimming (well into her 80s and usually without a suit), and her large circle of family and friends. She had a particular love of underdogs, be they human or animal, always holding a soft spot for “the naughty ones.” Her family notes they will not miss her exceptionally sparsely stocked refrigerator or her adamant refusal that “no one needs dessert after dinner.”

In her retirement years, she was anything but retiring. She was a passionate volunteer at the Edgartown library and Edgartown school, and for Head Start. She loved winter, always heading north to New Hampshire and Canada, and was an avid cross-country skier.

She leaves four children: Jane Harman Brewer of Franconia, N.H., Archer Harman 3rd of Tiverton, R.I., David Brainerd Harman of Newcastle, Me., and John William Harman of Brookline; six grandchildren: Elizabeth, Brett, Ted, Margaret, Katherine, and Jill; and 13 great-grandchildren: Thomas, Carter, Nathaniel, Aram, Travis, Cal, Peter, Jed, Lila, Wenonah, Montana, Noelle, and Marcus. She also adored the in laws of every generation.

Her final years were happy in large part due to the tireless, loving care provided by Elise and Tom Thomas and Remonia Doctor. The Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, especially Chantale Duguay and Trudy Carter, made her final days peaceful and comfortable.

A celebration of her life will be held on Tuesday, August 1 at 11 a.m. at the Tower Hill cemetery in Edgartown, where Mari specified only “bright colors would be allowed.” The service will be followed by a reception down the hill at 189 Katama Road.

Donations in Mari’s name can be made to the Mari and Archer Harman Scholarship at St. George’s School, 372 Purgatory Road, Middletown, R.I. 02842 or the Edgartown Library, P.O. Box 5249, Edgartown, MA 02539.

Arrangements are under the care of the Chapman, Cole and Gleason Funeral Home in Oak Bluffs.