Walter Gordon Thompson died surrounded by his family at his home in Vineyard Haven on June 19. He was 83.

Hilly, as he was known to friends and family, was born on May 23, 1938, the son of Lewis Steenrod Thompson Jr. and Loulie Gordon Thompson. His family lived in Washington D.C. and Albany, Ga. Before attending Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, Hilly attended Aiken Prep in Aiken, S.C., where he entered as a boarding student beginning in first grade at the age of seven.

He was a serial entrepreneur whose love of the outdoors was a central pillar of his life. He greeted every morning at his north shore home with a walk down the hedged path to the ocean and a ritual skinny dip. An avid fisherman, he regularly combed the beach, trailed by at least one of his beloved dogs, on the lookout for striped bass and bluefish.

He was a founder of Cambridge-based AOBiome Therapeutics, a life sciences and consumer products company focused on treating inflammation and related to the health benefits of nitric oxide. He stepped down from the board before a two-year struggle with cancer.

After obtaining his master’s degree at Columbia University, he worked for the International Basic Economy Corporation, a company founded by former vice president Nelson Rockefeller to develop agribusiness and housing in Latin America. During his time with IBEC, he lived in Brazil and Chile. Later he was president of Separation Technologies, a company that processes fly ash produced by coal-burning power plants. In addition, he was an investor in commercial real estate.

While he loved to fish, his greatest passion was quail hunting at his family farm in Georgia. Gillionville Plantation has been in his family since shortly after the Civil War. He spent several weeks there each year and it was almost always a family affair, including children and grandchildren. Gillionville also operated as a hunting club for more than 35 years with a small but influential group of members and guests that included U.S. presidents and corporate CEOs over the years.

Athletics were always an important part of Hilly’s life. He swam competitively during his high school years at Exeter and played lacrosse for Washington & Lee University in Virginia. He was a member of a team of college lacrosse athletes representing the U.S. that toured Australia in 1959 and he served in the Marine Corps Reserves after completing USMC officer training school.

More recently, he was a regular on the tennis courts of the Dedham Club near his home in Dover, and at the West Chop Club. He continued to play tennis into his 80s. He spent one of his final days lying in the sun in a lawn chair as grandchildren and a half-dozen dogs ran around him, playing. He sipped rum and ate chocolate cake as he looked out at the Vineyard Sound, enjoying the kind of weather he often referred to as a “bluebird day.”

Hilly is survived by his wife Nancy and four children; his daughter from a previous marriage Bettina T. Stern, Christopher (Critter) G. Thompson, Cortney T. Rowan and Benjamin R. Thompson; and nine grandchildren.

Donations can be made to Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, 111 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 or the Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, N.Y. 10460.