Chris Abrams of West Tisbury died painlessly and peacefully on Dec. 8. In her final days she was surrounded by family, friends and the wonderful caregivers who selflessly guided her through the last stages of her long struggle with brain cancer. She was 69.

She was an early childhood educator who had a special way with children; some called her a kid whisperer. She taught preschoolers and teachers for 30 years and was the founding director of the Chilmark Preschool in 2005 until she retired in 2010 after the onset of her illness. On the preschool website it says: “It was her vision, wisdom, and philosophy that built the foundation for the high quality program that evolved.” During her career she touched the lives of countless children and families, taught many teachers, and was a strong advocate for Island early childhood education.

Many parents attribute their most important child-rearing learning to Chris. When asked about her uncanny way of connecting with children she would say, “Well, I don’t really know, I guess it’s just that I never lost my child’s eyes. I still see what they see.” For her, school was just life. Her children and their friends always thought of her as a particularly creative and imaginative mom who was fun to be around and let them make mistakes and tend to the consequences without intervention (except when necessary).

Her other passion and professional pursuit was music. Her musical interests were diverse. She played the piano and accordion and for many years played recorder and harpsichord in the Island Consort. Later, she was the accompanist for the Vineyard elementary school string program. The director at the time, Diane Crane, said: “She was the accompanist, but she was my colleague/collaborator and the champion of every child. I always thought of her as the musician’s musician. Upon reflection, teacher’s teacher is a good summation.”

Chris was just as happy playing in a church (she was the organist at the Chilmark Community Church for years), in a club (accompanying Jemima James), or at home with friends. She was devoted to her first piano teacher, Ada Esser in New York, but her decades-long friendship and student relationship with her Vineyard teacher Lisa Rohn meant the world to her. She listened to everything from classical to hiphop, and somehow she always kept up with whatever music young people were listening to.

Along with children, education and music, she also loved nature, laughter, family, friends, the recovery community, pets, horses, psychology, anthropology, history, pop culture, baking, the Red Sox, and skiing (which, having taken up late in life, she never really mastered, but somehow that didn’t seem to matter — she loved it anyway). In fact, she was insatiably curious about nearly everything (except maybe football and flag-waving). The breadth of her knowledge combined with her piercing intellect and easy pattern recognition allowed her to do the New York Times crossword puzzles lickety-split, day after day, even in the last days of her life when she needed a scribe to fill in the blanks.

Her memory was extraordinary. There was no reason to ever ask Chris, “Do you remember . . . ?” She did for certain, whatever it was. She could even recall what she ate for a particular lunch at a particular diner on the road somewhere in Saskatchewan in 1970. Friends said she remembered things in their lives that they themselves had forgotten; she would remind them of these things, and their significance.

Her remarkably wide circle of friends came from across the geographical and cultural landscape. She gathered them from the various parts of her life, nurtured the relationships and kept them. During the last year of her life many visited; storytelling and laughter was the stuff of these visits. Her relentless self-reflection and deep sense of humility gave her an uncommon ability to connect and empathize. People were attracted to her unflinching honesty, razor-sharp wit, fierce sense of justice, and love of conversation . . . and banter. “We made reminiscing into an Olympic event,” her sister Pam said. “I would remember all the truly crazy stuff, and she was the Bob Costas of interpretation, analysis, and commentary.” Her ability to communicate verbally transferred brilliantly to texting; in her last years it was her preferred method of communicating. She was the emoji queen — an artist through and through, building and maintaining her community near and far.

Her style was always her own, never influenced by the trendy or fashionable. Status meant nothing to her; she was more attracted to street people than stars. She cleared her own path and fearlessly (and fearfully too) navigated the twists and turns and ups and downs, of which there were many. Chris was fiercely loyal, but she demanded that those she associated with valued excellence, resilience, and modesty. She made it reasonable to expect more from oneself. All of this doesn’t intend to gloss over the difficult parts; it was not uncomplicated to be a part of her life.

Christine Iannone Hudson was born in 1948 in Queens. Her parents, Anthony Iannone and Martha MacGuffie, were both in medical school so she was raised in the early days by her Italian grandmother, Antoinette Iannone. Her parents divorced when she was three and her mother moved her sister Martha and her to Rockland County to live with her stepfather, Perry Hudson, and his daughter Harriet. In subsequent years two more sisters and three brothers were born.

She left high school when she was 16, spent much of a year in France, came home and studied the piano intensively, and then went to Marlboro College in Vermont, where she met John Abrams. They married in 1969 and began a six year back-to-the-land/hippie odyssey. From Vermont to Northern California to Berkeley, Ca., where son Pinto was born in 1970, they went onward to Oregon, British Columbia, back to Vermont, and finally to the Vineyard in 1975. After working with her husband’s company, South Mountain, for a few years, she commuted to Boston to get her master’s degree at Wheelock College in early childhood education and began her teaching career. In 1984 daughter Sophie was born.

Chris is survived by her husband John and her beloved family: her son Pinto and his wife Jessica Benjamin, her daughter Sophie Abrams Mazza and her husband John Mazza; her three grandchildren Kalib, Silas, and Axel; four sisters, Harriet, Martha, Pam, and Jane; and one brother, William. She was predeceased by two brothers, Rob and Reid.

Her life was improved immeasurably by her caregivers: her longtime friend and soulmate Lisa Nichols, her new friend Remonia Doctor, the spirited Libby Green, and her daughter’s friend Georgia Maroni and caring hospice professionals June Miller and Jill DeLaHunt. Her childhood friend Tory Ettlinger often came to take care of her too.

It’s hard to imagine life without Chris. She was a force. A service to celebrate her life will be held in the spring of next year, details to be announced.

Memorial donations in her memory may be made to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1748, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568.