Donald H. Lyons of West Tisbury died at his home on August 24. He was 94.

He was born in Greenfield on July 15, 1927 and grew up in Floral Park, N.Y. His school activities were highlighted by music and baseball.

While studying at Bowdoin College, he celebrated his lifelong delight in music by becoming a member of the a capella double quartet the Meddiebempsters; he eventually directed the group.

Don joined the U.S. Marines just at the end of World War II. After being stationed in China, he returned to Bowdoin and received his bachelor’s degree.

He married Helen Herrick and they became the parents of Mark and Laurie. Helen died after the birth of their second child. Don and Hope Dixon married a year later and welcomed children Christopher, Naomi, and Beth.

He received his master’s degree at Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge. His initial parish was in New Hampshire before he became canon of the Cathedral of St. Paul in Boston and archdeacon of the Diocese of New Hampshire.

Don and his family moved to the Vineyard in 1966. He served for nearly two decades as rector of Grace Episcopal Church, providing gentle and forward-thinking leadership. He was a proponent for change and didn’t hesitate to take on things that might challenge “the way it’s always been.” As an activist, he was deeply involved in the civil rights and peace movements.

His innovations at Grace Church included writing, producing and directing biblical musicals for the church school and welcoming Island Theatre Workshop’s newly-established Children’s Theatre to sing, dance and create in the church hall.

Not only was Don a kind and compassionate pastor but he was gifted with a lovely singing voice and natural acting talent. He provided decades of entertainment to Vineyard audiences. He was also a gleeful addition to any ensemble and a wonderful support to the cast and crew in the wings.

After decades as a church leader, he retired and became the sports editor for the Martha’s Vineyard Times, which he wrote for until retiring at 85.

In 1991, Don married Joni Merry. Their warmth and joy in each other, their casual playfulness, and compatible senses of humor have been palpable and infectious.

As a pastor, friend, and compassionate and caring advisor, Don provided discreet assistance and gentle kindness to many in need. He supported the Island’s recovery community and served on several boards of directors, including Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Island Theatre Workshop and Camp Jabberwocky. A round window created by Barney Zeitz was set at Grace Church in honor of his dedication and work.

Don aged gracefully. Even with only Joni, his beloved nurse Fiona, and the cat as an audience, he continued singing to the very end.

He is survived by his wife, Joni Merry; his children: Mark Lyons and his partner Cindy Walker of New Hampshire; Laurie and her husband Russ Redgate of Marstons Mills; Christopher Lyons of Florida; Naomi Lyons of Arizona; Beth Lyons of Maryland; Jennifer and her husband Howie Marlin of Vineyard Haven; Jessica Williamson and her husband Alex Czarowicz of Cambridge; Greg and his wife Leslie Williamson of Vineyard Haven; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

He is also survived by Fiona Kaweesa, his ever-present nurse. She was assisted by the VNA Hospice of Cape and Islands.

He was predeceased by his sister, Alice Eckhardt, and his brothers, Charlie and Eddie Lyons.

Donations can be made to missions and outreach at Grace Episcopal Church in Vineyard Haven.

A funeral service will be held at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Masks are mandatory.