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.