Eugene W. Baer (Gene) died on June 24 at his home in Vineyard Haven. He was 92.

Gene grew up in New Castle, Pa., and drew and published his first cartoons in high school.

Drafted into the Army in 1945, he completed basic training at Fort McClellan where he drew weekly comics for the camp newspaper.

Deployed to occupied Germany at the end of World War II, he was employed as an artist for the Information and Education Department in Amberg, Germany. While in Germany, he attended the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals Goering, Hess and Jodl.

Upon his return, he attended both the Museum School and Mass Art in Boston. During summers he worked as a camp counselor at the Saint Pierre School in Vineyard Haven, a role he would reprise in the 1970s as the camp’s director.

Gene married Islander and fellow artist Jackie Lair in 1954. They moved to Martha’s Vineyard year-round in 1959. He taught art full-time for 30 years in the public schools, initially dividing his time as the Island’s only art teacher between all three down-island elementary schools and the high school. Eventually he settled into a position at the Tisbury School, from which he retired in 1990.

He was a dedicated family man who loved to play and spend time with his children.

Gene was a warm and masterful entertainer of children, achieved through his sleight-of-hand artistry, musical talents and playful and contagious sense of humor.

He was also a professional piano player known for his boogie woogie style of playing and singing. He performed publicly for many years with Seth Thomas, Eddie Larkosh, and many other local musicians, and enjoyed playing as a solo artist at several Island venues, as well as for weddings, parties and in his living room.

Gene’s interests included wild mushrooms and other foraged foods, snorkeling for lobsters and spearfishing for tautog and flounder. He could be found boomeranging at Legion Field and bicycling around town.

Gene published many art instruction and children’s books. His most successful book was Thump, Thump, Rat-a-Tat-Tat which made Boston Globe’s 1989 list of best childrens books of the year and remained in print for over twenty years.

He was a prolific writer and reader with interest and efforts in a wide range of genres, with a deep appreciation for language play.

Gene’s early paintings were often compared to the work of Max Beckman. Later, in his role as an art teacher, he became a master paper-folder. He loved kites and paper airplanes, mobius strips and hexahexaflexagons, curvilinear perspective and optical illusions, comics, pop-up books and Edwin Abbott’s Flatland.

Among his last works were dozens of faces he sculpted from Meals on Wheels trays, exhibited in a special art show at the Chicken Alley thrift shop in 2017.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Jacqueline Baer of Vineyard Haven; their four children, Justin Baer of Silver Spring, Md., Jon Baer of Vineyard Haven, Gretchen Baer of Bisbee, Ariz., and Chris Baer of Oak Bluffs; brother John Baer of Annapolis, Md., and sister Rosemary Buetens of Orono, Me., as well as four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service is being planned for a later date.