Richard James (Dick) Walton died unexpectedly on June 1. He was 74.

Dick was a local attorney who started his practice in Oak Bluffs in 1973. He was attracted to the profession by being able to help local people. He was diplomatic and genuine, a straight talker with a great sense of humor and a kind heart.

He was born on Feb. 25, 1946, in Romansville, Pa. He was a 1964 graduate of Downingtown High School, where he played the tuba in the marching band. He was also a gifted accordion player, an instrument which he began playing at the age of five. During his teenage years, Richard and his family traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard visiting historic places and putting on square dances with their family friend, Christian Sanderson, a well-known Chester County historian and fiddler. Richard and his brother played accordions at the dances while their sister led the dances and Mr. Sanderson was the caller who played the fiddle. Mr. Sanderson instilled a love of history and geography in Richard — an interest that stayed with him all his life.

He graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1968 with a degree in political science. At university he played the tuba and sousaphone in the Vanderbilt Marching Band and the Peabody Wind Ensemble. He went on to study law and received his degree from Syracuse University College of Law in 1972. While in law school, he met his wife, Carole, who was also a student at Syracuse. They married in 1972. Carole’s family owned a summer cottage in the Oak Bluffs Camp Ground, and the Vineyard felt like a natural place for them to live after getting married.

Music continued to be a constant in Richard’s life while living on Martha’s Vineyard. He played the accordion in a three-piece Island band called The Vintage throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He also played the tuba in the Vineyard Haven Band for a number of years. Aside from the occasional birthday and family gathering, in more recent years — and much to his delight — Richard would bring out his instruments and play for his grandchildren, hoping to instill a love for music much like his own.

In the late 1980s, Richard and Carole bought a 150-year-old farmhouse on 50 acres in Freedom, Me. Restoring it became a favorite family pastime, as well as a source for some classic family stories. Maine was one of Richard’s favorite places to be and he and Carole were in the midst of their long-talked-about major renovation (of which he designed and drew the plans) at the time of his death.

He was a longtime member of the United Methodist Church of Martha’s Vineyard, and in the summertime he also enjoyed attending services at the Tabernacle. He valued religion. His father died unexpectedly at the age of 52, and each year he lived beyond that age he considered a gift.

In addition to his wife of 48 years, he is survived by his children, James Walton and his wife Rachel of Halland, England; Anna Walton of New Orleans, La.; and Catherine Walton and her partner Kyle Anderson of Oak Bluffs; five grandchildren; a sister, Jane Pusey and her partner Steve Benner; two sisters in law, a brother in law and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He was predeceased by his parents Sara and Francis Walton, and a brother, John Walton.

Donations can be made to the United Methodist Church of Martha’s Vineyard, P.O. Box 2580, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557, or the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, P.O. Box 1685, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.