Jonathan (Jon) H. Harris of West Tisbury died peacefully with his daughter by his side on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Massachusetts General Hospital after an accidental fall down a staircase, which caused a traumatic brain injury. He was 75.

Jon was the son of the late Hattie Harris and Sam Harris, and brother of the late Susan Cell of Old Lyme, Conn.

He was born in Old Lyme, Conn. on Oct. 10, 1942. He attended Brandeis University, Harvard School of Design, and Boston University School of Education. He moved to Martha’s Vineyard in 1970 and began teaching at the Chilmark School. He then moved to Florida and lived on the Kashi Ashram for several years. He married Kathy Stillo in 1995 in New Jersey. They moved to Old Lyme, Conn. and had a daughter, Nina, in 1997. Soon after Nina’s birth the family settled back into a home in West Tisbury that remained Jon’s long time residence. Over the decades, Jon was a farmer, a landlord to an amazing community of people, a tutor, a healer, a mentor, a friend, a father, an extraordinary human and always a teacher.

He was an avid lover of music, with a particular fondness for piano and jazz. Whether it was in the classroom, at Windemere Nursing Home, or Deon’s restaurant, the venue didn’t matter. It was the joy of music, playing music, and sharing music, that moved him to play.

As a teacher, Jon was a favorite of many. He taught students about community and friendship, writing and long division, learning geography through the song Route 66, and teaching how to heal and be in the “now.” His idea of a timeline was kids bringing in cut-out pictures of watches and clocks and putting them in a line on the wall. He was brilliant, funny, caring, and insightful, and taught his students to never take life too seriously. He interwove music, play, math, writing and English seamlessly. He made school and learning a fun experience, rather than a dreaded chore. He gave his students a safe and caring space to learn, express themselves, and explore new ideas.

He is survived by his beloved daughter, Nina Harris, currently a student at Tulane University.

There will be a memorial service on Thursday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. at the new Agricultural Hall. Everyone is welcome to join Nina and friends for a potluck celebration of Jon’s life. There will be food, live music, and friends sharing memories of a wonderful man. Attire is casual; Jon would have loved to see everyone celebrating him in jeans.