Donald Arthur (Don) Brown, a summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard for nearly 50 years, died on March 6 at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The cause was cancer. He was 90.

Don was born in Washington D.C., on Feb. 1, 1929. His mother was active in Jewish and civic organizations, and he was an early, vocal advocate of gun control after his father was fatally shot during a 1964 robbery of the family’s liquor store.

After serving in the Navy, he went on to co-found the Washington real estate development investment company JBG.

He summered for several decades on Hatch Road in Vineyard Haven before moving to Chilmark. He and his wife of more than 60 years, Ann Winkelman Brown, threw clambakes on the beach and won mixed doubles championships at the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club, where he taught his two children and four grandchildren to ride bikes, sail and cook lobsters.

His own favorite recreational activity may have been incessantly ringing the bell on the counter of John’s Fish Market during his weekly shopping expeditions.

He and Ann were generous supporters of many cultural and institutions in D.C., Florida and on the Vineyard, including Arena Stage, the National Symphony Orchestra, more than a dozen schools, and, in Florida, Dramaworks, whose Don and Ann Brown Theater reflects his commitment to increasing access to the arts for children of all socio-economic levels.

On the Island the couple supported Camp Jabberwocky and the Possible Dreams auction. Don assisted his friend Jim Graham in starting a chocolate store, Cameron’s Chocolates, modeled after Chilmark Chocolates by providing training and employment for individuals with disabilities.

He also had strong ties to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where he attended early morning open AA meetings in support of his daughters when they were first getting sober. His daughter Laura Rodgers remembers that “he would always introduce himself at meetings, and share his gratitude, even though he, himself wasn’t an alcoholic.”

Of course, with two growing girls and later four grandchildren, many a summer included a trip to the emergency room, perhaps most memorably when his oldest daughter developed food poisoning during her first pregnancy.

He taught real property at the Harvard Business School, the Yale School of Management and George Washington University’s graduate business school.

In all his interactions, as a husband, father, businessman, educator and philanthropist, he was committed to ethical treatment of everyone.

His wife of more than 60 years described him as “a person who respected women way before it was fashionable to. When we married, he always knew I was going to work. When I was home having children, he said ‘Why don’t you go to law school?’” And nothing made him happier than when Ann Brown was named chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission under President Bill Clinton.

Don is remembered by many for his charm, humor, generosity and his strong commitment to friendships of all kinds, which culminated in a much-discussed presentation on the importance of friendship among men that he delivered to his men’s group on Martha’s Vineyard.

A memorial service will be held on Sept. 18 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington, D.C.

Survivors include his wife Ann, his two daughters, Cathy Brown of Austin, Tex. and Laura Rodgers of Norwood, N.J., four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.