Kin Ping Lee, the former longtime proprietor of a women’s clothing boutique on Main street Edgartown and resident of West Tisbury, died June 14 at her home on Beacon Hill in Boston. She was 92 and had led a vibrant life in which she was a witness to history and fashion entrepreneur.

She and her husband bought land in West Tisbury in 1965 after Kin Ping climbed a tree, ascertaining that there was an ocean view. She later designed and built a home on the site, with a wall of windows facing the ocean.

She also bought an old captain’s house in Edgartown in the spring of 1974 at a bank auction. She ran Kin Ping’s boutique in the building for nearly three decades and was a familiar face and friend to many on the Island.

She came to the U.S. from Shanghai in 1948, two days after her wedding.

She was born in Suzhou, the heart of silk industry in China, the daughter of a textile merchant, whose success led the family to relocate to a stately mansion in the French Concession of Shanghai. She came of age in the thick of World War II, and one of her earlier memories was huddling under the family dining table while Japanese bombers attacked Shanghai in 1937 — a sound that would come back to her in 2013 when she stood a block from the Boston Marathon bombing on Boylston street.

She had a privileged childhood and recalled playing with IM Pei, one of her neighbors and a family friend. But she also remembered seeing the bodies of people who had frozen to death after every cold night as she was driven to school. Seeing that kind of inequity instilled in her a lifelong passion for politics in China and the U.S. She canvassed door to door for Barack Obama while in her 80s and kept his portrait and a framed newspaper front page from his 2008 election on her dining room wall.

While she was a teenager in Shanghai, her father arranged a marriage between her and the son of a wealthy shipping tycoon. But when she met Thomas H. Lee — an engineering student who she thought was smart and exciting — she broke off her engagement. She married Lee, and they came to the U.S. for a planned two-year period of education and training. He went on to develop the vacuum circuit breaker while working at General Electric, earn the Philip Sporn Professorship of Energy Processing at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and become a pioneer in the development of modern management techniques.

Due to turmoil after the 1949 revolution in China, the couple decided to remain in the United States. They raised their three sons in the U.S.: William, an intellectual property lawyer at WilmerHale and senior fellow of the Harvard Corporation, Thomas Jr., a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and chief medical officer at Press Ganey, and Richard, professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and professor of stem cell and regenerative biology at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

In the 1960s, Mrs. Lee attended the Philadelphia College of Art before accepting a job as a fashion illustrator, drawing women’s clothing ads for newspapers and magazines. Ultimately, her talents led her to start her own stores. 

She had an eye for promising young designers and forged relationships before they were famous. Her stores were among the first to carry the work of designers such as Betsy Johnson, Norma Kamali and Perry Ellis. She opened the first of her stores, Kin Ping’s Boutique, in Media, Pa., and then others in Westport, Conn., and at Faneuil Hall in Boston, and in Edgartown.

After her husband’s death in 2001, she closed her business and devoted her time and energy to her family.

She loved walking Lambert’s Cove beach with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, and gardening in her West Tisbury home. She believed that the best two things in the world were flowers and children. She enjoyed both at Lambert’s Cove.

In addition to her three sons and their spouses, she is survived by eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.