John Tower Churchill


John Tower Churchill was born on Oct. 25, 1967, in Evanston, Ill., and died on June 26, 2016, in Menlo Park, Calif., after a courageous battle with cancer. His quick wit, ready laugh, and masterful storytelling skills are sorely missed by all who knew him.

John attended schools on the north shore of Chicago and the University of Arizona, where he was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Upon graduation, he moved to Hollywood with the intention of working for director David Lynch. Within six months he had secured a position as Mr. Lynch’s driver and, ultimately, worked with Mr. Lynch on several films, including the awardwinning “The Straight Story,” and “Mulholland Dr.” John rose to first assistant director on Mr. Lynch’s “Inland Empire,” a movie about film-making, in which John appeared on screen, as well as “My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done,” directed by Werner Herzog. Over the course of his career, John worked with many other notable directors and became a proud member of the Directors’ Guild of America. He was a highly sought-after and respected assistant director for numerous television commercials, including some for Apple Computer, Target, Revlon, GM, Kohl’s, Marshall’s, Home Depot, and Puma.

John married Elizabeth Day of Boston and the Vineyard on June 19, 1999, and started a family in Los Angeles. The couple then moved to Menlo Park, where John took a position with Apple, traveling around the world to film various projects. An active father who was dedicated to the Menlo Park community, John coached his children’s Little League and basketball teams.

An enthusiastic, longtime summer visitor, he is survived by his wife Elizabeth Day Churchill and three children, Frederick, 13, Robert, 11, and Lucy, 7; and his parents-in-law, Barbara Day and the Reverend Robert C. Day, who now live in Vineyard Haven, but formerly lived in West Tisbury for many years. The Barbara Blackwell Whidden Day family have been summer residents for generations.

John is also survived by his parents, Barbara and John A. Churchill, his sisters Anne Churchill Coffey and Elizabeth Churchill Cattan, and loving in-laws, nieces, nephews, and many other cousins and relatives.

A service and celebration of John’s life will be held on Saturday, July 9, at 1 pm, at St. Bede’s Episcopal Church, Menlo Park, with a reception to follow. A burial service will be held in the summer at Abel’s Hill cemetery in Chilmark.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Churchill Family Support Fund via check c/o Peters, 325 Sharon Park Drive, No. 437, Menlo Park, CA 94025, or via GoFundMe:

Thank you for your consideration and for the outpouring of your love and support of the Churchill family.