Mike Levitas, a longtime Aquinnah seasonal resident and former editor of the New York Times Book Review, the Week in Review and the Op Ed Page, died June 22 at his home in New Marlborough. The cause was Alzheimer’s disease complicated by pneumonia. He was 89.

He first came to Martha’s Vineyard in 1950, the summer after his marriage to Gloria Barach. They spent several summers renting at Menemsha before having an A-frame style house built for them in Chilmark. Controversial at the time, the house was designed by noted New York architect Andrew Geller, who was known for his beach house constructions. In 1961 the Levitases built another Geller house on a five-acre waterfront lot in Aquinnah. It became known locally as the Wounded Gull house after a second-story deck collapsed during a renovation in 1964, causing several injuries and considerable publicity.

Mitchel Ramsay Levitas was born Dec. 1, 1929, in the Bronx, N.Y., a son of Samuel and Esther (Zilborg) Levitas, Jewish immigrants who had fled Russia after the Bolshevik revolution. His parents began coming to the Vineyard in the 1930s. His father was executive editor of the social democratic political literary publication The New Leader, and at the time Chilmark was popular with Socialist intellectuals. Though many of them lived at the Barn House, the Levitases rented for many years from Clarence and Mary Morgan in a house overlooking Menemsha harbor.

Mike was a graduate of Brooklyn Technical High School and Brooklyn College, 1951. He met his wife, Gloria at college, where he was editor of the student newspaper, which was shut down by the college president for being too radically leftist.

After graduation, he joined the Russian desk at the Voice of America. Two years later, he was hired as a reporter for the New York Post He won the prestigious Polk Award for a series of articles he wrote on how labor racketeers exploited Puerto Rican workers. In 1958-1959, he was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard and then went to work for Time magazine as an assistant editor. In 1965, he joined the staff of the New York Times. He retired 37 years later, but ever indefatigable, in 2002 he took a job as editorial director of book development for the paper. He continued to work as a consultant in book development until 2014.

On the Vineyard Mike was a welcoming host and loved to talked politics with his many guests. He didn’t care for swimming, although he liked to float in the water and was so expert at it that he alarmed a neighbor one day who saw him in a prolonged float and feared he was deceased. He took long beach walks, picking up buoys, battered wooden lobster pots and old rope which he used to decorate the roads to and around the house and a small camp the family had built nearby. One summer he used some of the collected beach rope to tie a bed to the top of the car he was driving back to New York. The weathered rope did not hold and snapped, letting the bed fly off the top of the car. Happily, no one was hurt and the bed was rescued.

He is survived by his wife, Gloria (Barach) Levitas, a writer, editor and anthropologist who wrote her doctoral thesis on the Vineyard Wampanoags; sons Daniel of Decatur, Ga., and Anthony, of Providence, R.I.; four granddaughters, two step-granddaughters and two great grandchildren

A memorial service is planned for Nov. 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Century Association in New York.