AnnaBell (ABell) Leinbach Washburn, a longtime Edgartown seasonal resident whose devotion to saving animals earned her many citations and awards including from a U.S. President, died in New York city on August 12. She was 90.

She had founded P.A.W.S., the Vineyard’s Pet Adoption and Welfare Service Inc., and had an outstanding record as a rescuer of hundreds of homeless Island dogs and cats.

In 1991 she was honored by President George Bush with a Presidential Citation for community service. The year before that, the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy had presented her with its Distinguished Service Award for having made a significant difference in the lives of animals.

Through dramatic advertising that she initiated during her tenure as P.A.W.S. president, Mrs. Washburn saved the lives of more cats and dogs through adoption than were saved at any other shelter in the commonwealth, according to the materials endorsing her that were sent to President Bush.

Mrs. Washburn, through fundraising and her own gifts, was responsible for the construction of the MSPCA shelter in Edgartown that is now the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard. With the late Katherine Tweed of Vineyard Haven, she began distributing coupons to Island pet owners to reduce the owners’ costs when having their pet cats and dogs spayed or neutered. She also founded a program on the Island to trap and neuter and then release feral cats.

Sometimes referred to as the cat lady of Martha’s Vineyard, ABell Washburn could often be seen in her aging silver Mercedes Benz with the license plate FELINE, outside the Washburns’ 19th-century South Water street home and elsewhere around the Island.

Her work saving animals was not confined to the Vineyard. At her vacation home on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands, when she learned that the island was overpopulated with strays, she began a spay-and-release program there for feral cats. At her winter home in New York, she supported the animal charities BARC (Brooklyn Animal Resource Coalition), Alley Cat Allies (Support for Feral Cats), the Animal Medical Center and NYSAVE (Save Animals in Veterinary Emergency).

She was born in Reading, Pa., on Feb. 22, 1927, a daughter of Dr. Howard M. Leinbach, an orthopedic surgeon, and Gertrude (Hyndeman) Leinbach. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of Pennsylvania in 1948 and a master’s degree in speech pathology at Teachers’ College at Columbia University.

She worked briefly as a speech therapist in Reading, before moving to New York city to teach speech and poise to students at the John Robert Powers Modeling School. She later initiated the flight attendant training program at Pan American World Airways. There she met Stanley Washburn Jr., the director of promotions for the airline. Stan’s work with Pan Am took him to 67 countries and three continents, and often ABell would accompany him — especially to such destinations as Africa, where animals might be involved.

Stan had spent summers in his early years on Pease’s Point Way in Edgartown. In adulthood, he bought the captain’s house with a widow’s walk at 101 South Water street so he and ABell could spend their summers there. They decorated it below its widow’s walk with carved black wooden whales that had been part of the Pease’s Point home of Stanley’s youth.

The South Water street house was home to the Washburns and also sometimes to more than a dozen cats. Occasionally, there would be even more than that number when a cat awaiting adoption became a temporary member of the household. One stray named Madame who had a penchant for walking near water, liked roaming down along Edgartown harbor to the summer home of Walter Cronkite, who lived a half-mile away. With patience and understanding, the famous television news anchor would carry Madame back to the Washburns. An animal lover himself, Mr. Cronkite aided Mrs. Washburn in her campaign to raise money for the Edgartown animal shelter.

Cats were not her sole interest on the Vineyard. She and Stan were Edgartown Yacht Club members and had a sailboat of their own, and they frequently flew together out of the Katama airport in their single-engine plane, The Coupon Clipper.

When summer ended, and it was time to return to the Washburns’ New York apartment near the United Nations, the many Washburn pet cats and adoptees would be put in their carrying cases and set in the back of a Barnes Moving and Storage Truck. A settee and an Oriental rug were also put into the truck to provide comfort for the Washburns, who always stayed with their menagerie during the end-of-season journey.

“We called it the Cat Lift,” Trip Barnes recalled, adding that the trips were delightful ones, with ABell and Stan supplying entertaining conversation as well as picnic lunches for the drivers. “And there wasn’t too much meowing,” he added.

Stanley Washburn died in 2005 and for some time ABell Washburn continued to come to the Vineyard. In recent years, she and her one cat, Sally, a black-and-white rescue, remained in New York at her apartment above the East River. In 2010, Mrs. Washburn made her last trip to the Vineyard and the South Water street house was sold.

She is survived by two nephews, Tyler Leinbach of Norfolk, Va., and Thomas Leinbach of Staten Island, N.Y., and their respective families; and by a stepdaughter, Nancy Wyles of Sydney, Australia, and a stepson, Stanley Washburn 3rd. of Eugene, Ore., and their respective families.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 at 11 a.m. at Christ United Methodist Church, 524 Park ave., New York, where Mrs. Washburn was a member.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to P.A.W.S., P.O. Box 1636, Edgartown 02539; BARC, 253 Wythe ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211, NYSAVE, P.O. Box 140486, Staten Island, N.Y. 10314; Alley Cat Allies, 7920 Norfolk ave., Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814-4525 or Animal Medical Center, Development Office, 510 East 62d st., New York, N.Y. 10065.