“To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides” (David Viscott).
Sheriff Christopher Look both absorbed the sun’s warmth and shared it generously. On February 22, 2011, in Hollywood, Florida, the sun set for Christopher Stetson Look Jr. when he died peacefully with his beloved wife, Marjorie, at his side.
Mr. Look was born the second of six children to C. Stetson Look and Agatha Worden Look in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts, on April 22, 1928. He attended Edgartown School and is remembered as an outstanding athlete and was very proud to be a teammate on their championship basketball team. He is also remembered for his fun-loving spirit, which earned him the nickname Huck. Unlike most childhood nicknames that are left behind, Huck stuck, and is as familiar a name for him as his title of Sheriff.
At age 17, Mr. Look joined the Merchant Marines and served for two years. From 1951 to 1953, he served in the U.S. Army, 7th Infantry Division, and returned home from Korea as a decorated war veteran.
On February 27, 1954, Chris Look married Marjorie Searle, and they would have celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary last week. Together, Huck and Marjorie raised their family of five children. During these early years, Huck was a very industrious young man. During the day, he delivered oil to the community for Wells Oil Co., and in the evening he worked as a night watchman for the Edgartown Yacht Club. He was also the custodian for the Dukes County Courthouse. In 1963, his hard work and business sense enabled him to purchase Well’s Oil as well as Deitz & Meekins Garage, which later became Look’s Texaco.
Chris Look began his public service career as a young deputy under Sheriff David McBride. However, an earlier account of his dedication to helping others is of a 14-year-old Huck Look who jumped into the ocean to save the life of a 7-year-old boy, foreshadowing a lifetime of commitment to others. This commitment did not go unnoticed, for after Sheriff McBride’s death in 1961, he was reappointed by John Palmeira. Deputy Look gained prominence for his role as a witness in the Edward Kennedy trial involving the death of young Mary Jo Kopechne in 1969.
In June, 1971, Governor Francis W. Sargent appointed Deputy Look Sheriff for the County of Dukes County. Mr. Look was chosen from a field of 14 candidates to fill the unexpired term of Sheriff Palmeira. In 1974, he won his first election to the Office of the Sheriff and was subsequently reelected three more times, retiring in January, 1999.
During his tenure as Sheriff, Mr. Look encountered many challenges. He faced a community that was in the midst of tremendous growth in an era of rapidly increasing crime rates and he inherited a jail facility that was more than 100 years old. But he confronted those challenges with determination, dedication, and foresight. It was his foresight that allowed our Island community to be one of the first communities in the Commonwealth to be provided with 911 emergency services.
Recognizing the importance of alliances with other law enforcement agencies, Mr. Look was a founding member of the Martha’s Vineyard Chiefs of Police Association, a partnership that continues today. He also believed that education plays a key role in prevention, so in 1988, he instituted the D.A.R.E. program in the Island elementary schools. Around the same time, he implemented the pilot program for the newly developed Designated Driver Program.
Sheriff Look also believed in the need for treatment and rehabilitation for those with substance abuse issues. To that end, he was a founding member of the Eastern Massachusetts Alcohol Treatment Center, one of the first regional centers of its kind. This center was born from an alliance with other sheriffs belonging to the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association, of which Sheriff Look was also a founding member. In 1991, this Mass. Sheriffs Association awarded Sheriff Look the prestigious Edward Henneberry Award for exceptional leadership, and for which Sheriff Look was so honored.
Throughout his personal and professional life, Huck Look served the community he deeply loved with commitment, integrity, and devotion. He was a communicant of Saint Andrew’s Episcopal Church and served as a lay reader. His public service included membership on the Boards of Edgartown Finance Committee, Edgartown Fire Engineers, Edgartown Boys and Girls Club (now the M.V. Boys and Girls Club), and Chairman of the County Airport Commission. His many years of service also included memberships in the VFW, the American Legion, NAACP, MV Agricultural Society, and the National Sheriffs Association.
Huck’s long-standing membership was on the Board of Directors of the Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank. He was proud to be a member and loved the friends with whom he served. He helped to unify the Cooperative Bank with the Dukes County Savings Bank, creating the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, an opportunity he honored and appreciated. Up until the time of his death, Mr. Look served as a board member and a member of the Security Committee.
Of Chris Look’s many accomplishments, he was very proud of attaining the status of 32nd Degree Mason of the Oriental Lodge.
Sheriff Christopher S. Look Jr. made this promise to the people of Dukes County during his very first acceptance speech: “I will strive to uphold the dignity and the honor of the Office of the Sheriff.” These worthy goals epitomize the life of Sheriff Huck Look. He loved his God, his country, his Island, his family, his friends, his life. He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.
Christopher Look was predeceased by his sons, William Leland Look and David Russell Look; his sister, Nancy Look McCormack; and his brother-in-law, Ken Lee. Survivors are his devoted and beloved wife, Marjorie Searle Look; his daughter Diana Look Butynski, her husband, John and their children, Lucas John and Amanda Hollyfield, Seth Andrew and Kaitlyn Hope; his son Christopher Look III, his wife Leslie Hanson, and their children, Cassidy Morgan and Christopher IV; his daughter Joyce Leigh Look and Kevin Kane and her son Jacob Look Murphy; his son William’s children, Nathan Costa and Matthew Stetson Look, and William’s fiancée, Amy Downes. Sibling survivors are his sister Barbara Look Lee; his sister Estey Teller and husband Thomas; his sister Leslie Carroll and husband William; his brother Peter Look and Phyllis Brown; and his brother in law, Andrew McCormack. Mr. Look is also survived by numerous nieces, nephews, and friends.
Friends may call at the Chapman, Cole, & Gleason Funeral Home on Monday, March 14, from 4 to 7 in the afternoon. A funeral service will be officiated by the Reverend Chip Seadale at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown on Tuesday, March 15, at 11 o’clock in the morning. A graveside service at the New Westside Cemetery will immediately follow. Full military honors will be provided by the Veterans of Martha’s Vineyard.
Donations may be made in Christopher Look’s name to Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Boys and Girls Club, Dukes County Deputy Sheriffs Association, or to an Island charity of your choice.