Christopher Downer Righter of Natick and Vineyard Haven died on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, at the Stanley Tippett Home after a seven-month battle with cancer. He was 78.
Chris was born on August 17, 1937, in Cambridge to Thomas M. Righter Jr. and Frances D. Righter. Christopher’s father Tom was an officer in the U.S. Navy during WW II, when they moved away for a bit, but he grew up in Winchester. He graduated from Hebron Academy in Maine in 1956. He attended Norwich University, graduated in 1960, and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in May 1961.
During his career in the military, he served his country in Korea, and was in Vietnam for two tours; he was stationed with his first wife, Linda, and their two children at various bases around the country until they settled in Medford Lakes, N.J., where he worked at Fort Dix. He worked as an officer trainer there until he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1985, but continued his reserve duty until 1987. A career military officer for 25-plus years, he was awarded several medals, and was a decorated soldier. His patriotism never waned, and in the following years, he always had more than one flag waving wherever he was in residence.
In 1984, Winchester friends introduced him to Lana Norris. He subsequently moved back to New England and divided his time between Winchester and Vineyard Haven. They married in 1987, and shared many happy years until her untimely death in 2001. Similarly, mutual friends introduced Christopher to Judy Thomson in 2004. Marrying in 2009, they lived contentedly in Natick.
Although he traveled and lived in many parts of the country throughout his life and career, his true home and happy place was Martha’s Vineyard. He was a third-generation member of the West Chop Club and former president of the Mink Meadows Golf Club, and actively supported a number of Vineyard charities and trusts. He also served as president of a land company, and was on several boards during the past 25 years.
Chris is survived by his wife, Judy Thomson; daughters Holly Sagan; Lisa Rubin and her husband, David Rubin; granddaughters Marinda Righter, Ellie Sagan, Annabel Sagan, and Lexie Rubin. He is also survived by many close family members: a niece, three nephews and their families, four stepchildren and their families; and many cousins. He was preceded in death by his son, Thomas M. Righter III; wife Lana Righter; both of his sisters, Martha and Jane Stuart; and his daughter-in-law, Cheryl Righter.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, at 11 am, at the First Parish of Westwood, United Church, 248 Nahatan Street, Westwood, MA 02090, followed by a luncheon reception at the Dedham Country & Polo Club, 124 Country Club Road, Dedham.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Christopher can be made to the Stanley Tippett Home, 920 South Street, Needham, MA 02492, or to the First Parish of Westwood, United Church, 248 Nahatan Street, Westwood, MA 02090.