Tony Lombardi, the former director of Alex’s Place at the YMCA, died last Friday morning at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, nearly a year after he was disabled by an ischemic stroke. He was 59.

“They said his heart gave out,” said Mr. Lombardi’s close friend and co-worker Laurel Redington, who was with him at the hospital when he died.

A former heroin addict who got clean at Gosnold on Cape Cod and moved to the Vineyard nearly 30 years ago, Mr. Lombardi had a career marked by generosity and caring. A co-founder of the Safe Haven summer camp for inner-city children living with HIV, he ran the camp from its inception in 1994 until 2009.

He taught math and other subjects in the special education department at Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, managed the famed Wintertide Coffee House in Vineyard Haven in the 1980s and 1990s and then turned Alex’s Place into a year-round destination for teens, complete with a recording studio and a regular open mic night. Mr. Lombardi was at Alex’s Place when he suffered the stroke on Dec. 23, 2016.

“He was a champion for the youth,” said Edgartown police officer Curtis Chandler, who before entering law enforcement had worked with Mr. Lombardi for seven years and two locations of the YMCA teen center.

“He loved kids and he wanted to make this place a better place for them,” Mr. Chandler said. “He wanted to give them opportunities that they didn’t have.”

Mr. Lombardi saw potential in the young Mr. Chandler and eventually made him assistant director of the teen center.

“He gave me the opportunity to grow up,” Mr. Chandler said. “He was an awesome person.”

At both the Wintertide and Alex’s Place — where the basement performance space echoes the stage and set-up of the long-closed coffeehouse at Five Corners — Mr. Lombardi forged lasting relationships with musicians at all levels of their careers, from teenaged singer-songwriters to national and international touring acts.

“Because he was friends with all these touring artists, his work and part of his heart went all around the country and all around the world in the careers of the musicians he brought to the Vineyard. He was beloved,” said Ralph Jaccodine, a Boston area artist manager representing Ellis Paul, Livingston Taylor and other performers.

“We used to have late-night conversations, at least once a year, about how important it is to serve as many people as hard as we can until the end,” he continued. “He was very conscious of the fact that we’re just here for a limited period of time.”

Anthony J. Lombardi was born on May 1, 1958, in Plymouth. He began hanging out at Boston rock club The Rat while still in his teens, calling himself Tony Dumpster and running the sound board for live acts. In the heyday of punk rock, the young Mr. Lombardi partied with bands including the Ramones, Blondie, The Sex Pistols, Talking Heads and REM, Ms. Redington said.

After graduating from high school at age 18, he moved into Boston full-time and began using drugs, sometimes living on the streets.

“I’m not sure when he checked himself into Gosnold, but it was in his early to mid 20s,” Ms. Redington said. Mr. Lombardi later told her that he promised “a higher power” that if he could survive heroin rehab, he would dedicate his life to service.

He never sought to shield his past. “It was just part of who he was,” Ms. Redington said. “By admitting who he was and being who he was unapologetically, he allowed other people to be themselves as well.

“He touched so many lives and he was larger than life.”

Another friend, Dr. Nancy Berger of Vineyard Haven, said of Mr. Lombardi: “He was like a genie in a bottle, and now he’s free at last. I like to think of it that way.”

In 2015 he was honored with an award from the Martha’s Vineyard Chapter of the NAACP for his community service work. Characteristically, he turned the spotlight away from himself and onto the audience. “I see all of you out there, and I know that each and every one of you could receive this award,” he said, calling service both spiritual and emotional currency.

He will be remembered formally with two memorial celebrations in 2018. On Jan. 14, there will be a gathering at Alex’s Place from noon to 2 p.m. According to his expressed wishes, it will not be a wake or a funeral but a party with food, music and stories. “No glitter or balloons,” Ms. Redington said.

Friends are asked to bring a song, a memory and any pictures that can be left at Alex’s Place for display at a spring celebration of Mr. Lombardi’s life, to be announced.