Shirley Carter died peacefully at Massachusetts General Hospital on Sept. 26 after suffering a massive stroke. She was 89.

A private person, she was an individualist, elegant, graceful, strong-willed and independent. She loved travel, good food and had a keen sense of style and fashion. She was a friend to nature and animals, and a member of the Audubon Society.

She traveled the world as the wife of a colonel and thoracic surgeon in the military, undertaking all the duties and responsibilities that that entailed.

Two decades ago, Shirley returned home to her New England roots and settled on Martha’s Vineyard. Bishop John Burgess and his wife Esther, who were her cousins by marriage, were a wonderful support to her and were a great part of her transition to living on the Island. She loved the Vineyard and the many warm and supportive friends she met here over the years. She always had a smile for everyone she encountered.

Shirley was a talented artist who preferred Impressionism. She studied under renowned Russian artist Sergei Bongart, and always enjoyed the time she spent at Featherstone and at the Field Gallery. She was also an avid gardener and spent many gorgeous Vineyard days planting beautiful flowers in her 50-year-old perennial garden. She loved nature, and feeding the beautiful birds on the Island.

She was the mother of five children: Scott, Craig, Mark, Donna and Judy. She was loved by all who knew her.