Betsy McKie Macdonald, formerly a longtime Island resident, died on Sept. 25 after a battle with frontotemporal dementia. She was 74.

She was loved by many and known for her gentle, caring, sensitive and attentive nature.

She was born on March 20, 1948 in Winsted, Conn. to Roger and Barbara Colt McKie. She graduated from The Gilbert School and then attended Vesper George School of Art in Boston. There she met Donald Combra Macdonald. They both transferred to Southeastern Massachusetts University in South Dartmouth and graduated with bachelors of arts in art education.

Betsy and Don married in Winsted, Conn. on Sept. 7, 1969. They settled on Martha’s Vineyard to be near Don’s mother Ginnie.

She taught in elementary school and met many new lifelong friends. She ultimately left teaching to help her husband run a series of shops around the Island, including a pet store in Oak Bluffs called The Glass Menagerie.

For a notable 33 years, she and Don ran The Scrimshander in Edgartown. Evening walkers would stop on the sidewalk after catching a glimpse of her, studiously etching scrimshaw, through the uniquely-designed front window display. She specialized in scrimshaw flowers and developed a technique for creating unusual full-color designs that attracted curious visitors and Islanders alike. She maintained this artistic passion throughout her life creating custom signs and small designs for friends and family.

As retirement loomed, her eldest son Chris encouraged Betsy to become an EMT and volunteer with the Tri-Town Ambulance Service. She served Islanders with contentment for many years. She took great pride in her call sign, Charlie 98. When no longer running calls herself, she shifted her enthusiasm to the new generations of EMTs by bringing her energy and lots of treats to training classes.

She was an avid supporter of nature and animals throughout her lifetime and supported all kinds of rescue and rehabilitation organizations. She cared for a multitude of stray and injured critters, many times to the dismay of her own pets who didn’t always share the same sentiment. Her connection with these creatures was an example of her true self, trusting demeanor and unrelenting desire to make the world a better place.

Betsy spent the last two years of her life in Walla Walla, Wash. near her son Chris and his family, whom she loved very much. They provided her with care and support as her disease progressed.

Her final days were passed by resting peacefully surrounded by her two sons, daughters in law, grandchildren and family pets — including two cats, eleven chickens and a loving German shepherd who, much to the entire family’s comfort, stayed dutifully by her side.

Betsy is survived by her sons, Chris Macdonald of Walla Walla, Wash. and Jared Macdonald of San Jose, Calif., daughters in law Emily and Elise, grandchildren Cooper and Daphne and her older brother Dick McKie.

She was predeceased by Don, her husband of 49 years, and her brother Bob McKie.

On and off the Island, Betsy leaves behind lifelong friends and colleagues who will remember her for her caring and hopeful nature.

An informal celebration of her life will be held on the Island at a time in the future when her family can gather here, probably next spring.

Memorial contributions can be made to your favorite animal sanctuary, rescue or rehabilitation center. She would want people to step outside their front door to find peace and beauty in the world.