Susan Elizabeth May of Chatham, N.J., and Chilmark, died peacefully in her sleep Dec. 24 of natural causes. She was 68.

She was born on June 6, 1952, and spent most of her life in Summit and Chatham, N.J., and Chilmark. At her very core, Sue May was a kindhearted, giving person who would always have a freshly baked pie or batch of cookies on offer any time friends or family would come to visit. She was notorious for her gourmet cooking and her hand-knit hats which she traditionally gave to her siblings, nieces and nephews each Christmas. Frequently, she would also knit beautiful sweaters for family members as well. She always made sure each person had a gift.

She was a passionate and prolific artist who began each day in the very early hours with a new watercolor design. Her family members and friends are fortunate to have many of her paintings displayed on their walls. She sold them each summer, along with her original Mr. Mole books for children published by her niece Dede, at the Chilmark Flea Market.

Though she experienced serious health challenges, she was always resolute to overcome them, and she lived her life with optimism and determination. She will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved her. She will long be remembered by her two brothers and sisters-in-law, four cousins, six nieces, four nephews, four grand-nieces, nine grand-nephews, two great-grand-nephews, and numerous friends.

After graduating from Summit High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree in nutrition from the University of Vermont and her master’s in nutrition education from Teachers’ College at Columbia University. She worked at Headstart in Lambertville, N.J., and for the Wesley Center Preschool in Summit. Her background in art came from studying at the University of Vermont, the Art Students League in New York city, the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the Ducret School of Art in Plainfield, N.J., and the New Jersey Center for the Visual Arts in Summit.

She was a summer resident of Martha’s Vineyard all her life, beginning at the age of six weeks. As a teenager, she worked at Humphrey’s Bakery in West Tisbury. Later in life, she captured the unique beauty of the Island in hundreds of watercolor paintings. Her Mr. Mole book series teaches good nutrition to preschoolers.

In her younger years, she was an accomplished horsewoman and figure skater, and she sang in Howard Vogel’s choir at Calvary Church in Summit. In her later years she cared for her father, Ernie M. May, and then her mother, Betty May. Some of her happiest years were spent doing art with Nura Petrov in New Hope, Pa. Her favorite musician was Bob Dylan.

She is survived by her brother Ernest D. May and his wife Mary of Amherst; her brother James N. May and his wife Russell of Walnut Creek, Calif.; nieces Elizabeth May Goodell of West Tisbury, Katherine Mayhew May-Waite and her husband Sean of Falmouth, Caroline May of Philadelphia, Pa., Abigail Robles and her husband Luis of Reston, Va., Deirdre Maitre and her husband Roosevelt of Havertown, Pa.; Mehera McCusker and her husband Brian of Rancho Cordova, Calif.); numerous nephews, cousins, grand nieces and nephews and great-grand nieces and nephews; and many lifelong friends, mainly from Summit, Chatham, and Martha’s Vineyard.

Arrangements are under the care of the Bradley, Brough & Dangler Funeral Home in Summit, N.J.

A memorial service and interment are planned for summer 2021 in Chilmark.

Donations can be made to Featherstone Center for the Arts on Martha’s Vineyard (