Karen A. Kukolich of Edgartown died peacefully at home on Oct. 26. She was 75 and had fought a long, valiant and painful battle with cancer.

Her wish to spend her last days in her home was made possible with the compassionate and skilled support of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard.

She was born on Oct. 6, 1944, in Vicksburg, Mich., and later graduated from Ithaca college with a degree in physical therapy. She arrived on the Vineyard in 1978 when she accepted a job at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Five years later she opened her own private physical therapy practice in Edgartown. She retired in April 2010.

While managing her successful business she also volunteered and assisted as a certified EMT for seven years.

Active in the Island community, she participated in many Island organizations over the years, including the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Surfcasters Association, which recently celebrated her 75th birthday at Wasque where she was toasted with her favorite scotch. She also served on the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank town advisory board, as well as the boards for the Rod and Gun Club and Island Health Care.

Karen’s love for fishing and boating was well known on and off the Island. She liked nothing better than to captain her boat, the Tippet, through Vineyard waters. She belonged to the International Game Fish Association and held world flyfishing records with her Pacific Jack Crevalle and Rooster Fish catches in 1996 and 2000 respectively. Her love for saltwater flyfishing took her to many far flung and interesting parts of the world, but she was always happiest when returning to her Island home she cherished.

She fished enthusiastically in both conventional and flyfishing derby events, winning first place for a bluefish caught from a boat in 2001. She enjoyed her membership on the derby committee and especially loved to volunteer as one of the fillet masters.

She served as director and treasurer on the board of the International Woman Flyfishers for many years, and hosted one of the annual international fly fishing events on the Vineyard.

Karen participated and excelled in many recreational activities and was an enthusiastic sportswoman. She was a member of the Vineyard Golf Club and enjoyed playing in Island golf tournaments. She competed in skeet shooting events, loved weekly games with the Tuesday ladies Mah Johng group and bridge games with close friends. She regularly attended plays and concerts both on and off Island.

She loved all animals and enjoyed the companionship of both dogs and cats throughout her adult life.

She is survived by her older brother, Stephen Kukolich of Tucson, Ariz., and sister Mary Kukolich of Fort Worth, Tex.; two nephews, a niece, four great-nieces and a great-nephew.

It was Karen’s wish to be cremated. Her longtime close friend Ursula Kreskey is planning a celebration of her life for late spring 2020 when her ashes will be scattered on her beloved Vineyard Sound.

Donations can be made to the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 1829, Edgartown, MA 02539.