Christina Brown


Christina Brown died on May 27, 2024. She was 83.

Christina was born on April 18, 1941, in New York City. Her family actually lived in New Jersey at the time, but she never let that stop her from proudly claiming “native New Yorker” status. 

Her childhood was spent in New Jersey and Pittsburgh, and when high school became too annoying for her, she left early (also proudly claiming “high school dropout” status) and went straight to college. 

At Rockford College, she made lifelong friends who meant the world to her. When she finished college, she spent some time in New York, and then landed in Washington, D.C., where she met and married Robert (“Bob”) Brown. They had two children together, Cary and Eric, and while the marriage lasted only a few years, the friendship and the bond between Christina and Bob only grew stronger as time went on. When Bob died in 2015 in his house on Chappaquiddick, Christina was holding his hand.

Her life was marked by a deep commitment to social justice, conservation, and community. In the early 1970s she worked as a counselor at Washington, D.C.’s first abortion clinic, Preterm, and hosted women’s lib meetings in her living room in the evenings. 

In later years she started food co-ops and babysitting co-ops, organized against nuclear weapons, demonstrated for women’s rights, and traveled to Florida to campaign for Barack Obama in his first run for president.

In 1981, she moved to Edgartown and found her real calling. After a stint in management consulting in Washington (which she was great at, flying all over the country, wearing power suits), something made her scoop up her kids and move full-time to a summer house on Chappaquiddick. She’d been spending time on Chappy for several years, and initially the move was meant to be a yearlong sojourn. She spent the year cooking breakfast at the Edgartown Inn, working for the town of Tisbury, packing dried eelgrass around the foundation of the house to keep the pipes from freezing, adopting a puppy, and navigating two active teenagers’ lives across the Chappy Ferry in the middle of winter. 

It turned out that small-town life was absolutely where Christina thrived, and she never left. She settled into a job working for the Edgartown planning board, and then she threw herself into civic and community engagement. She served on the Edgartown affordable housing committee and the conservation commission, and spent 27 years elected to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, where she served as chair for two years. 

Her contributions to affordable housing, conservation, and historic preservation on the Island will be her legacy for generations to come.

One of her favorite things to do was take friends and family on visits to unique, obscure, and unknown corners of Martha’s Vineyard. She always had a new spot she had discovered that she wanted to share, whether it was for walking, clamming, or historic appreciation. Her joy in the nooks and crannies of her Island was unbounded.

She was passionate about preserving the unique values of the Vineyard, passionate about her community connections, and passionate about her family. She had two grandsons on whom she doted, and a large and extremely connected extended family who brought her more joy than she could express — although she tried, often! She spent the last year of her life sharing her days with her son, Eric, and bragging to all who would listen about the delicious meals he prepared for her. 

Christina is survived by her daughter, Cary (husband John Odum) of Montpelier, Vt., and her son, Eric, of Edgartown; her grandsons ,Tucker Odum and Zane Odum; a sister-in-law, and many cousins and nieces and nephews; and her close, dear friends, who filled her heart and soul.

The Island has lost one of its most dedicated, joyful, and exuberant champions.