Gatchell lights will shine

Robert Gatchell is known for his expansive Christmas lights display. — Gabrielle Mannino

Though Rob Gatchell lost his beloved wife Lynn last month, he intends to continue with a tradition he began with her more than 35 years ago — a large Christmas light display. What has become part and parcel with that display for the past 21 years has been the Gatchell family collection of donations for the Island Food Pantry. This too will continue. 

There will be no lack of lights this season, as Gatchell has added to the amount. “I’m guesstimating I have about 20,000 up,” he said of the Christmas lights on his property. 

Several folks have offered to lend a hand setting up the Christmas displays, but Gatchell has opted to do the work himself. “I figure by the time I show you what I want done, I’ll have it done,” he said. Nevertheless, folks have been lending support in other ways.

“People have been tooting their horns if they see me out there putting them up,” he said.

Part of the display this year includes six new signs reminding folks to wear a face covering.

Gatchell said the display will be lit at 5 pm Thanksgiving Day, and run until New Year’s Eve. The hour on Thanksgiving was established by Lynn Gatchell, he said.

“My wife always said, the lights don’t go on until the turkey is off the table,” he said.

Gatchell said folks can donate boxed goods and canned goods at his house. He will also collect checks made out to the Food Pantry. 



  1. Rob, the Christmas tradition you and Lynn have done for the Island for so many years has been something that all children and grownups will always remember. This is what Lynn would have wanted to continue. In Memory of Lynn and in Honor of the Gathell family, I wish everyone a wonderful Holiday Season!
    With Love to all, Cindy daRosa Barrett

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