Dr. Heinz-Helmer Puetthoff died Oct. 24 at the Martha’s Hospital after an intense battle with leukemia. He was 74.

He was born in Hemer, Germany, the first child of Heinz and Ursula Puetthoff. After high school he began his pursuit of a law degree, studying at the universities of Marburg, Speyer, and Freiburg. His main course of study brought him to Muenster, where he passed the German bar exam and began work on his doctorate degree. In 1971 that pursuit took him to Columbia University in New York city, traveling by ship across the Atlantic. On board he met a girl from Martha’s Vineyard, with whom he would spend the rest of his life. In the summer of 1974 he married Jane Cunningham, and they returned to Germany to spend the next 20 years building a career at VEBA, a family, and a large circle of dedicated friends.

In 1994 he was transferred to New York city to become president of the U.S. holdings of the company, soon to be renamed E.ON. He was active on the board of St. Paul’s Church in Manhattan, the Deutsche Verein, and the Leo Beck Institute. In 2000 he retired to the Island. He was always proud to be a “washashore,” loving the Vineyard intensely. The family owned three sailboats along the way, the most recent a cruising boat Frisia, named in honor of his maternal East Frisian heritage, of which he was especially proud. He was an active member of the sailing group CANE, where he had many friends.

Helmer was a highly intelligent man with a quick wit. He loved to discuss European politics with anyone, and his knowledge of German history was extraordinary.

He was a loyal husband, a proud and devoted dad to Jan, Niels, and Carolin, a generous and supportive big brother to Regine and Maike. He is also survived by cousins, nieces, nephews and two grandchildren who are devastated by the loss.

The family would like to thank the nursing staff of MGH for their help along the way, and although the stay at Vineyard hospital was short, the dedication, patience, and respect and dignity shown by the staff to Helmer and his family was extraordinary.

A special thank you to the night nurse Zoe and her assistants, and to Dr. Bello, for his kindness and understanding at this difficult time.

A funeral service was held on Thursday at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven.

Interment will be private.

Donations can be made to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, PO Box 1477, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557 or the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, 151 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568; www.mvmuseum.org.