Constance May (Collier) Shanor, writer, health worker and traveler, died on Feb. 19 at her home on Pierce Lane in Edgartown after a long illness. She was 88.

With her husband Donald she had been a year-round Edgartown resident since 1985 and seasonal resident since 1973. In 1975 they also — with their own hands — built their summer house at Wasque on Chappaquiddick.

Connie was born in New York city on Oct. 9, 1929, a daughter of Raymond and Elsie (Cain) Collier. The family soon moved to Lakewood, Ohio, where she graduated from high school. She was a 1951 graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., and spent her junior year studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Just after her return, she met her husband to-be.

As the story goes, she was initially attracted to him because he was wearing a sweater knitted in Scottish colors, and she was still longing for Scotland and thought he might be a Scot. Though he wasn’t and in fact came from a Michigan chicken farm, they struck up an acquaintance and were married a few months after their 1951 graduation. They spent their first few months together in Chicago, where Connie worked as an editor of the Rotarian Magazine and Don was a reporter for the Oil Daily. But both were eager to travel, and when they learned of a freight boat that carried passengers from Boston to Liverpool, England, they took it and lived abroad for the next 16 years.

For a time, their home was on a houseboat on the Thames River in London; then in Wimbledon. In England, Don worked for United Press International. Later they lived in Frankfurt and Bonn in Germany and in Vienna, Austria, while Don served as a foreign correspondent covering Eastern Europe for the Chicago Daily News. Their three children were born abroad. In addition to caring for the children, Connie helped write and edit a German-English language magazine called Made in Europe. In 1958 and 1959 she served as a stringer for Radio Liberty, an American radio station in Munich, providing information about the West to Eastern Europe to counter Communist propaganda.

In 1959 the Shanors returned to the United States, settling in Demarest, N.J. and then in Manhattan, where Don taught journalism at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and Connie was an editor and writer for American Heart Association publications and for the National Kidney Foundation Newsletter.

Intrigued by working with scientists, she studied for her master’s degree in public health at the Columbia University Graduate School of Public Health, receiving her degree in 1981. She was able to put some of her knowledge to good use at their home on Pierce Lane in Edgartown when the septic systems were overflowing. She quickly became a leader in efforts to have homeowners on the street connect to the town sewer.

In 1984 and 1985, the Shanors lived abroad again when Don was invited to China to teach journalism in Beijing and Connie became a consultant to the Chinese National News Agency. At the end of their stint there, they collaborated on the book China Today: How Population Control, Human Rights, Government Repression, Hong Kong, and Democratic Reform Affect Life in China and Will Shape World Events into the New Century.

In 2004, she and Don collaborated on another book titled After the Russians: Eastern Europe Joins the West, based on their years in Europe. Later Connie began work on another book, on the role of an early advocate for women’s rights, but illness interrupted the project.

Though she kept busy with writing projects there was always time, whether at home or abroad, for hospitably welcoming old friends and colleagues from around the world, baking a corn pudding or preparing a Chinese hot pot for them. As she cooked, read or wrote, classical music would be playing. During her illness, she continued to enjoy watching ballet performances on television. In her teenage years, she had enthusiastically studied ballet with a Russian emigre.

A great devotee of the outdoors, Connie Shanor enjoyed tennis, cycling on Chappaquiddick (and in Beijing and Manhattan), Katama Bay swimming and Chappaquiddick canoeing. But she especially loved the flowers and birds around her house. She always kept the Pierce Lane bird feeder full and would watch each season’s avian arrivals with delight. Though her backyard garden was small, she was an expert gardener and filled it with flowers in spring, summer and fall. She was a dog and cat lover as well, and there was nearly always a cat or a Chesapeake in residence at the Shanor home.

The house they bought in 1973 had been moved to the site a century earlier from the Edgartown harbor where it had been a fish house. At the time of her death, Connie Shanor was watching a cardinal outside her window.

In addition to her husband of 66 years, she is survived by two daughters, Lisa Shanor of Oak Bluffs and Rebecca Shanor of New York city; a granddaughter, Zoe Mae Shanor of Oak Bluffs; and a sister, Marguerite Leavy of Clearwater, Fla. She was predeceased by her son, Donald Jr., and a sister, Virginia Barkdull.

Contributions in her name can be sent to Massachusetts Audubon at the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, P.O. Box 494, Vineyard Haven 02568.