James (Jack) Preston Williamson Jr., 84, of Dacula, Ga., died on Jan. 5 in the comfort of his home. The love of his life and wife of 29 years, Carole Lee Williamson, was by his side.

His cousin, Bobby (Mildred) Merritt had a house in Edgartown, and invited him to visit for the first time in 1975. He rented a house on Chappaquiddick that summer, tooled around the harbor on a Laser, and sailed on his cousin’s yacht, the “Bellatrix”. He was hooked. He and his family would spend most of the next 25 summers on the Island.

He owned two homes in Edgartown, one across the street from Dr. Nevins’ old place, and later another at the top of Main street. His daughter, Katherine, worked in the classified ads division of the Vineyard Gazette under the kind supervision of Jody Reston, the summer of 1979. She remembers meeting Henry Beetle Hough, and loved working alongside the great writers and photographers on the paper.

Jack was friends with Fred Messersmith, and a loyal supporter of the Old Sculpin Gallery. Old time residents of the Island may also remember the 75’ Chinese junk, the Intrepid Dragon, he moored in Edgartown harbor the summer of 1977.

The Edgartown Yacht Club forgave the flashy Georgian his Ted-Turneresque intrusion into their traditional New England world, and offered him a membership. He cherished that affiliation, and his time on the Vineyard for the rest of his life.

A true bon vivant, Jack packed a lot of living into his 84 years. He was a pilot, a poet, a sailor, an artist, a musician, a bibliophile, an audiophile, a motorcyclist, a car collector, a photographer, a philosopher, a student of history, and realtor, the most honest grading contractor in Atlanta, a cook, a raconteur of jokes, limericks and tales, and a published author (Frozen Lightening).

Finally, at the age of 70, he discovered his true professional calling and became a flight instructor. He was by all accounts a patient, wise, and gifted teacher devoted to the art and craft of flying and to his students.