Katherine (Kitty) McMillan Burke died peacefully Sunday, Dec. 3 at her home on Cape Cod. She was 78.

She was a remarkably independent, creative and enterprising woman. She brought all of these qualities to her roles in real estate, fashion, retail and photography, and as an inspired philanthropist. She will be deeply missed.

Kitty was born on Nov. 2, 1945 in Stamford, Conn., the only child of Donald and Louise McMillan. As a child, she went to the Low-Heywood School for Girls in Stamford and then graduated from The Thomas School in Rowayton, Conn.

In the early 1950s, her family moved to a house on Scott’s Cove in Noroton, Conn. where Kitty grew to love life on Long Island Sound. There she met Duncan G. Burke who lived just across the water. In 1966, they married and went on to have four children.

After their divorce in 1972, Kitty stayed in Darien to raise her family with the support of nearby friends and extended family. During those years, she also studied photography in New York City, became an accomplished aerial photographer and coached her daughter’s soccer teams in the early days of the emergence of that sport for girls.

In 1980, Kitty’s adventurous spirit took her to the island of Nevis in the West Indies where she was hired to take images of Zetland Plantation hotel from the air. Falling in love with the island, she decided to move there and designed and built a house in Morning Star Pasture on Mount Nevis. During this tremendously creative time in her life, she opened a boutique in Charlestown called The Sandbox Tree and started Cinnamon Hill Fabrics, a hand-silkscreen printing workshop at her home that produced beautiful textiles and clothing.

Kitty returned to the United States in the mid-1990s and took up residence on Martha’s Vineyard. She opened Sherlock & Bare, a clothing store in Edgartown.

In the early 2000s, she created the Turkey Land Cove Foundation, a working residency where motivated women could pursue their professional, educational and artistic goals. This was one of her proudest accomplishments. In the years to follow, she supported WCAI Cape and Islands Public Radio and helped bring the storytelling series The Moth to Martha’s Vineyard in 2011.

During the past decade, she spent her winters on the Bahamian island of Long Island, where she created a Secret Santa gifting program to benefit the children there.

Throughout her life, Kitty took great pleasure in creative pursuits, enjoying needlepoint and painting canvases that were sold all over the country. She designed beautiful gardens and interior spaces at her homes on Martha’s Vineyard, in the Bahamas and on the Cape, where she moved more recently. She loved her four-footed friends dearly and was an excellent cook and gracious host.

Kitty is survived by her daughters and their spouses: Marnie and René, Ali and Warren and their daughters Anna and Evy, as well as Adrian and Adrian’s son Felix; her Kitty's son Sean and his sons Nathaniel and Colin; her cousin Audrey and Audrey’s children Susan and Michael; and her McMillan nephews and niece, Andy, Jim, Peter, and Barbara.

She was predeceased by her half-brother Hugh and half-sister Shirley.

Kitty’s extraordinary life and positive contributions will be remembered in a memorial celebration this coming summer, when flowers are blooming again. Her family and those dearest to her so appreciate the help and guidance of all those who supported her over the years.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Cahoon Museum for American Art at cahoonmuseum.org, the Bourne Conservation Trust at bourneconservationtrust.org and Martha’s Vineyard Community Services at mvcommunityservices.org.

Condolences, memories and photos may be shared on the tribute wall of Kitty’s obituary page on the Chapman Funerals website at chapmanfuneral.com.