Richard S. Knight Jr. died on June 24 at his longtime home on Chappaquiddick. He was 73 and had lived year-round on Chappy for more than five decades where his family roots ran deep. The cause was a massive heart attack.

He was a longtime builder and was active in civic affairs both on Chappy and in Edgartown, where his wide-ranging interests were grounded in a love of small-town life.

Dick was born in Boston on Nov. 17, 1946. Chappaquiddick was always part of his life. His grandparents first came to Chappy in the 1920s as summer residents, and he grew up spending summers on the Island’s island along with his mother Jane Turnbull’s extended family clan. Those early summers established the foundation of three lifelong loves for Dick: fine carpentry, sailing and a commitment to community.

He started his carpentry career at age 13 when he and other family members helped his father build the Knight homestead on Cape Pogue. His second building project was at age 16 when he and his cousin, Barton Jones and friend Robert Kloumann decided they needed their own space and built the infamous A-frame on a wooded piece of family land off the Chappaquiddick Road.

Dick met his future wife Daryl Masker in the fall of 1966. Daryl had been hired to captain a 52-foot Alden ketch to the Bahamas, and she hired Dick as crew. They spent the winter sailing in the Bahamas, and were married on Oct. 7, 1967.

Sailing and the Bahamas would always be lifelong loves.

After Dick did a stint in the army, he and Daryl helped finish Daryl’s father’s 48-foot yawl and sailed her to the Virgin Islands for the winter. In 1972 they returned to Chappy and began their life there. In 1978 their son Benjamin was born, followed by daughter Gabrielle in 1981. Along the way, the A-frame had gradually been expanded and turned into a family home.

Dick had a generous heart, a notorious dry sense of humor, and was committed to his family, friends and community. He loved a good practical joke, and over the years there were many. A shrewd judge of character, he was also a person who made things happen. He had an enduringly positive outlook on life and never put off doing the things that meant so much to him. He lived his life to the fullest, and will be missed by many.

He began his construction business in 1976, and in the late 1990s formed a partnership with Mike Zadeh. Over the decades, he built and renovated many houses large and small, both on Chappy and on the main Island. He had a keen eye for fine carpentry and workmanship, born in his early years of working as a ship’s carpenter.

In 1989 Dick and Daryl and small group of family friends pooled their resources to buy an unspoiled hilltop property in South Woodstock, Vt. With Dick in charge, they built a simple cabin on the Gates Lot, sharing its use among family and friends for the next three-plus decades. Dick fell in love with Vermont, as he had the Vineyard half a lifetime earlier, and he happily toggled back and forth between the Island and the Green Mountain state. He dubbed it surf and turf — in his view, the best of both worlds.

In 2002 Dick and Daryl bought Aquila, a 32-foot sloop. Dick spent many winter hours making improvements, and in the summer loved cruising locally and up in Maine.

Active in the Chappaquiddick and Edgartown community, he was a founding member and the contractor for the Chappaquiddick Community Center, and was a long-serving member of the Chappaquiddick Open Space Committee. At the time of his death he was an elected member of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission, a position he had held previously for 10 years, and was an appointed member of the Edgartown zoning board of appeals, a position he had held for more than 30 years. He brought the skills he had honed as part of the MV Mediation program to all aspects of his life. He also served on the Edgartown Library building committee.

Dick benefited from and was deeply influenced by the many relationships he forged in his different roles over the years, both through his civic work and on the job site with clients and co-workers.

He believed in conservation and worried about the human landscape of the Island. “There’s the land, and then there’s the people,” he told the Gazette in a 2006 interview. “The land bank and other conservation groups have done a remarkable job protecting the land and looking after it. But the other part is the people — and that’s a much harder thing to get a hold of.”

One of his last community projects was completed last year when he and Peter Wells raised a flagpole at the Chappy Point. The pole had been taken down at Memorial Wharf during a renovation project, and Dick had the idea to rescue and re-purpose it.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, his son Benjamin and daughter Gabrielle; three sisters, Margaret, Dorothy and Laura and two brothers, Robin and Michael as well as a granddaughter, Molly Carey Knight.

A celebration of his life is being planned for June of 2021.

Donations can be made to the Sheriff’s Meadow Chappy Fund or the Chappaquiddick Community Center.