Shirley Walling Mayhew, a longtime West Tisbury resident, writer, teacher, naturalist and traveler, died August 19 at her home in West Tisbury. She was 94.

Shirley was born on April 27, 1926 in the Bronx in New York to Ethel Piner Walling and Clifton L. Walling. She and her sister Marian Walling Mohr were raised in Crestwood, N.Y.

She attended Pembroke College at Brown University in Providence, R.I. for three years, where she met Islander John W. Mayhew. He had recently returned to complete his degree at Brown, which had been interrupted by his service as a fighter pilot in the Pacific in World War II John brought Shirley home to visit his family on the Vineyard and proposed in a duck blind, where he had brought her to teach her to hunt. They were married in 1947 and settled in West Tisbury where they spent the rest of their lives, most of it in a home they built on Look’s Pond off Music street.

Shirley and John had three children — a son Jack and a daughter Deborah, who both live in West Tisbury, and a daughter, Sarah, who lives in Davis, Calif. but spends Christmas and summers in West Tisbury.

Shirley served on the West Tisbury school board, was children’s librarian in the Music street library for a year, volunteered at the MV Museum and the West Tisbury library when it was an adjunct to the new library, was active in the NAACP and civil rights movement in the 1960s, and served a year as Sunday school superintendent in the West Tisbury Congregational Church.

In 1963, while her children were still young, she returned to college and after two years earned her BA from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt. From that experience she published a book, Seasons of a Vineyard Pond. She loved to joke that she still has many hundreds of copies of that book because the publisher did an initial run of 5,000 copies, even though there probably were not that many people on the Island at the time.

From 1966 to 1986 she taught junior high language arts at the Edgartown School. Along the way she also completed a master’s degree, writing a thesis on that age group.

She developed a yen for travel once her children were mostly grown. She began traveling in 1968 and by 2004 had visited 14 states and 25 foreign countries, and gone on 11 trips to six Caribbean Islands. She made repeat visits to a tiny mountain village in Peru, where she became a beloved benefactor, raising money each year for the village school.

She taught herself photography — which in those days required a darkroom and development skills — and hired herself out as a children’s portrait photographer. She began dabbling in watercolor painting in her 80s, and sold some of her paintings at artisan fairs.

Shirley and John Mayhew.

Beginning in 1992 and continuing through her last week of life at 94, Shirley published numerous essays and photographs in many Island and off-Island publications. In 2014 she self-published a memoir, Looking Back — My Long Life on Martha’s Vineyard. She has since self-published four additional books.

One highlight late in life was being invited to tell a story at a live performance of The Moth Radio Hour at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs, in August 2013 at the age of 87, in front of an audience of nearly 2,000 people.

She was blessed with three granddaughters — Caroline, Lucy and Katie (aka Siren) — whose lives she participated in from birth to adulthood.

Her husband John entered Windemere in 2008 and died in 2012, after 64 years of marriage. That year she moved out of her beloved Pond House off Music street into an addition she built onto daughter Deborah’s home on Panhandle Road in West Tisbury. She was proud to be a member of a four-generation household for the last two years. It was her role as wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and community member that was most important and most satisfying during her long life in her beloved West Tisbury.

She was predeceased by her husband John Wesley Mayhew, and is survived by her son Jack and wife Betsey; daughter Deborah; daughter Sarah and her partner Bob Boys; a sister Marion Walling Mohr; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Donations can be made to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital where all her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were born, or the West Tisbury Library.