Edith Graham Blake, photographer, writer, tennis and croquet player, sailor, conservationist, animal lover and devoted Edgartonian died Feb. 25 at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. She was 97.

Edie, as she was known to her friends, was born Sept. 13, 1925 in Morristown, N.J. She was the only daughter of Eleanor Degener Graham and Philip Sands Graham, a New York architect.

Her Island roots ran deep as her father’s parents and both sets of his grandparents, the Graham and Sands families, were Edgartown summer residents. But it was not until the summer of 1935, when Edie was 10, that she first came to the Vineyard.

Beginning that year her mother and her second of four step-fathers, Thomas Jefferson Gaines, rented the Stuart Avery house on Pease’s Point Way. After that marriage failed, her third stepfather, Ernest B Burton, would buy the Huxford house on South Water street. It was this house that would remain their summer home until 1965 when her mother and fourth stepfather, F Gordon Brown, sold it and purchased The Boathouse on North Water street.

It was during those early summers that the family joined the Edgartown Yacht Club and Tennis Club and Edie developed her love for and skill at both sailing and tennis.

When she turned 13, she was given a movie camera that she used to document the damage in Edgartown from the 1938 hurricane. It was a harbinger of the photography and photojournalism that was to come. In time, she would become a photographer for the Vineyard Gazette, and would chronicle the making of the movie Jaws.

Her childhood was an interesting one, as one would expect with a mother who married five times. Divorce trips to Reno, Nev. were shockingly regular occurrences. Those jaunts out west notwithstanding, her winters were largely spent in New York city, where she attended Miss Hewitt’s School, and later Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Conn.

In 1945 she married Robert Howard Blake, a dashing young Navy man she had known from dances, whose uncle invented the process for condensing soup, ultimately becoming the president of the Campbell Soup Company, and who’s father was the U.S. General Manager of the Cunard-White Star Line.

The young couple moved to Tuxedo Park, N.Y. and continued to summer in Edgartown. She and Bob divorced in 1954. Edie and their only daughter — also Edith but nicknamed Sandy — continued to spend summers on South Water street and winters in Coconut Grove, Fla. The warm climate gave Edie a chance to focus on tennis and she started playing on the Florida circuit.

Twice a year she and Sandy made the drive in a pale blue station wagon between Edgartown and Florida with all their pets: a golden retriever, two cats, an Amazon parrot, a lizard and a Javanese rice bird.

In the summer of 1965, Elizabeth Bowie Hough, who, alongside Henry Beetle Hough, had been co-editors and publishers of the Gazette for decades, died. Edie had been covering tennis for the paper in summer and taking pictures. She always hated leaving the Island every fall and said as much to Henry who told her she should stay. She was hired full-time at the Gazette, and found living arrangements as a caretaker for various friends’ summer houses, including at her mother’s North Water street boathouse.

In 1968 Henry Hough sold the paper to James (Scotty) Reston. Henry continued writing editorials for the Gazette and offering advice to its new owners, but now had more free time and he spent a lot of it with Edie. They would take long dog walks together, and he would be her escort at cocktail parties. Though she was 30 years younger than he was, he enjoyed her ebullient personality and she loved his mind.

Their shared passion for animals, the environment, preservation and their respective talents created a strong friendship. When she wanted to write a book about the filming of Jaws, Henry encouraged her, edited it for her, and helped with the publicity.

By 1971, Henry thought she needed a permanent place to live. He still owned land that he planned to give to Sheriff’s Meadow, but never had. He gave it to Edie. It was there that she had a house built from a sketch she had drawn on scratch paper, no doubt tapping into the architectural talent of her father.

She built a cheery, two-bedroom house with big windows overlooking Sheriff’s Pond and the Vineyard Sound. It was her first permanent residence that was all hers. She named it Greenfeathers.

This new house also had the benefit of being just across the lane from Henry’s house. Their age difference notwithstanding, Henry asked her to marry him — more than once — and in 1979, she said yes. They continued, however, to live in their separate houses since he thrived on disorder and Edie on neatness. But they ate dinner together every night ending it with negotiations as to who would walk whom home, usually sweetly parting ways near the halfway point.

Henry died in 1985.

Edie’s love of tennis never wavered. Until the Tennis Center opened at the airport, she could be found, even on the coldest of days, shoveling snow off the Yacht Club courts so that play could commence. Her final game of tennis took place when she was 90. And as tennis grew more difficult she turned to playing croquet and was active in starting Edgartown’s Croquet Club.

Always involved in Edgartown Yacht Club life, she served on many committees, including the Tennis and Winter Entertainment Committees. She was a sailor from her earliest Edgartown days, sometimes racing her own boat, sometimes crewing for others. Though never a golfer, she was also a member of the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown and enjoyed inviting friends to join her on its deck overlooking the course for lunch on warm summer days. She was forever creating new groups for social gatherings: ladies’ lunches, widows groups, Sunday Suppers and monthly dinners, primarily in the off-season when social activities were scarce.

Knowing she longed to travel, Henry made it possible for her to go on her first trip to Egypt, a place she had studied and desperately wanted to see in person. From that point until the late 1990’s there was an exotic trip every year. In her kitchen there still sits a miniature globe speckled with pins marking the places she had visited. She was very proud of the fact that she had been to every continent, including Antarctica.

Naturally, she photographed these trips and created beautiful and informative slide shows that she would present at the Old Whaling Church. Some of her greatest trips were taken to Egypt, Southeast Asia, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Australia, New Zealand, Peru, the Galapagos, and, of course, Antarctica. And wherever she went, there were always animals. She rode an elephant with her granddaughter in Thailand, and camels in Egypt; she spotted lemurs in Madagascar and blue footed boobies in Ecuador; she cuddled a koala in Australia and watched a kea (a species of parrot) carefully dismantle a Jeep in New Zealand. An elephant she had been feeding tasty fruit on one trip, followed her as she was leaving, putting forth his trunk for one last gift of fruit.

At home in Edgartown there were always animals too. After Henry’s last Blue Merle Collie, Killiecrankie, died, Edie decided to continue the Blue Merle tradition and found her best dog, Ghillie, who quite literally swept her off her feet by knocking her over and attacking her with kisses when he arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

There were two more rescue collies, Lady Dundee and Mimi. And there were her parrots: Madeleine, Coco and her companion until the end, Gonzo, an elderly blue-fronted amazon parrot.

She is survived by her daughter, Edith (Sandy) Blake Meinfelder of Kimberton, Pa; her granddaughter, Elizabeth (Lisa) Anderson Wolff of North Andover, and two great-grandsons, Graham Robert Wolff and Henry Sands Wolff, also of North Andover, and by her parrot, Gonzo and countless friends.

A celebration in her honor will be held at the Edgartown Yacht Club in early summer.