Milton James Christian, 86, known to all as "Chris," passed away on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, at Parkland Medical Center in Derry, N.H., following a stroke.
Chris was born on Sept. 19, 1925, in Nashua, N.H., to Milton James Christian, Sr. and Minnie Lorraine Lalmond Christian. As the only child in an extended family, he benefitted from their attention and was encouraged to read and to ask questions about his world. He attended St. Patrick's Parochial School through 9th grade and graduated from Nashua High School in 1943. At a teacher's suggestion — since his family members had not attended college — he applied to and was accepted by the University of New Hampshire.
He only attended for one semester before being drafted into the Army in December, 1943. He served in a machine gun squad in the 29th Infantry Division, 116th Regiment, Company H. His unit fought on the front lines in Normandy and in Belgium and Germany. He was wounded by shrapnel at Brest in Brittany, and fought in the Battle of Aachen, ending the war in the Rhineland. Sixty-six years after his service, he was awarded a Bronze Star for bravery in action, which was pinned on him by N.H. Senator Jeanne Shaheen in 2010.
Following his honorable discharge, he returned to UNH under the GI Bill and graduated in 1949 with a degree in chemistry. After returning to Durham in 1950 to take some masters level courses "for fun," he met then-freshman Charlotte Roberts of Raymond, N.H., and they were married on June 15, 1952. He then accepted a position with Thompson & Lichtner in Brookline, Mass., as a concrete and soils testing engineer.
First child Steve was born in 1953, and Bill followed in 1955. They spent 1955-57 in Seville, Spain, where Chris helped build airstrips for the U.S. Army. They reveled in their time in Spain. When they returned, they bought a house in Derry, where they have continued to live and where five daughters joined the family. In 1976 he began work with Miller Engineering & Testing in Manchester, N.H., from which he retired.
Chris had wide-ranging interests. He had a great love of classical music, especially Bach, and as often as finances allowed attended concerts by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Baroque, and others. Every spring he tapped the large maple trees in the yard and made maple syrup. He spent time at the family's summer camp in Raymond, splitting wood, building up the road and beach, and teaching the kids to swim and sail. He read widely, from Greek authors such as Homer and Herodotus to novelists such as Hugo and Tolstoy to Scientific American.
Chris is remembered fondly for his delightful sense of humor, especially wordplay and puns. He gave generously to causes related to human rights and conservation. His love of learning has been passed down to his children, all of whom attended college and many of whom have advanced degrees, and onward to the grandchildren. Another legacy to us is his encouragement to be true to ourselves.
Survivors include his wife, Charlotte Roberts Christian; son, Steve Christian, his wife Barbara Bowen, and daughter Jill, of Lansing, N.Y.; Bill Christian and his wife Sue Andrews, and sons, Jonathan and Matthew, of North Bennington, Vt.; daughter, Pat Christian, her husband Dean Pavlakis, and children, Elizabeth, Peter, and Alex, of Buffalo, N.Y.; daughter, Nancy Sullivan and her husband Bob of Franklin, Mass. and Weare, N.H.; daughter, Alice Christian and her husband Rick Woods of Colchester, Vt.; daughter, Amy Christian, her husband Duncan Hilchey, and children, Jack and Tom, of Ithaca, N.Y.; and daughter, Marge Goudreault, her husband Dana Goudreault, and children, David, Christopher (named for Chris), and Jessica (UNH, Class of 2014), of Manchester, N.H.
The family would like to thank the staff of Right At Home caregivers, the Rockingham County VNA and Hospice, and the staff at Parkland Medical Center, especially Dr. Waszkowski and the MedSurg nurses.
ARRANGEMENTS: A memorial service was held at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Marion Gerrish Community Center, 39 West Broadway, Derry. A light lunch will follow at the center, and all are invited to join the family. Donations, in lieu of flowers, may be made to Community Caregivers of Greater Derry (58 East Broadway, Derry, NH 03038), the Rockingham County VNA & Hospice (137 Epping Road, Exeter, NH 03833), or to a charity of one's choice. The Peabody Funeral Homes and Crematorium of Derry assisted the family with arrangements. To send a condolence, or for more information, please visit www.peabodyfuneralhome.com.