Charlotte Roberts Christian
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February 22, 1933-February 11, 2021
Charlotte Roberts was born in Los Angeles on February 22, 1933, to William Hubert Roberts and Priscilla Sanborn Roberts. Her parents had moved to Los Angeles from Raymond, N.H., hoping for work during the Depression, but no jobs were to be found. So they returned Raymond, where her father became postmaster.
Because her parents contracted tuberculosis and spent time in a sanitarium in the White Mountains, Charlotte was truly raised by a village of her parents, grandparents, cousins, and friends. She always had friends who were older than she, especially Iber Gove and Dot Hilchey Silivalja.
She learned to read at the age of four and excelled in school, graduating from high school at 16 to enter the University of New Hampshire. During her freshman year, she met Milton J. "Chris" Christian, Jr. He was a WWII vet from Nashua, and they shared a love of reading and classical music. They married in 1952, and she transferred to Tufts University when Chris got a job in Boston. There she finished her BA in English literature while having her first child, Stephen, in 1953. William followed two years later. Then an opportunity presented itself: Chris could work in Spain helping build a U.S. Air Force base. The young family moved to Seville for two years.
On their return to the U.S. in 1957, they purchased a big old house on East Broadway in Derry?the Christian family home for 60 years. Patricia was born in 1958; Nancy in 1961; twins Alice and Amy in 1963; and Marjorie in 1965. Summers were spent and many memories made at the family camp in Raymond on Governors Lake.
Charlotte was a lifelong learner and lived a life of the mind. She loved art, wildflowers, and good writing, especially poetry. She had a great fondness for comic strips like Pogo, B.C., Dog Patch, and Arlo and Janis. She was an Anglophile and loved British authors Wodehouse, Christie, Sayers, T. H. White, Kipling, Tolkien, and Ransome. In the 1970s she began attending yard sales and developed an eye for early American antiques, eventually selling at outdoor antique venues. Other jobs she held were at Virginia Fried Chicken, alongside Pat; as a medical transcriptionist; and as a bus driver for special education children for many years. She treated each child with respect and expected the same in return; they called her Mrs. C. She loved running into her former students around town.
She was a member of the Salem Interfaith Choir for decades, particularly enjoying the annual performance of Handel's "Messiah" at the magnificent Methuen Organ Hall. She was a long-time League of Women Voters member. She helped her kids with homework, enriching their schoolwork through the huge number of books in the house. She cooked thousands of meals for her large family and often a friend or two of the kids as well. She took the kids to art and natural science museums, to visit elderly relatives, and to graveyards to research genealogy and pay respects.
As her children left home, she enjoyed visits to their far-flung homes, but was always happy to return home and enjoy reading and listening to classical music on WGBR, WCRB, WVCA, and VPR, and watching winged visitors to the birdfeeders.
She embraced the internet and spent hours looking through Wikipedia and favorite blogs. She kept up with the kids' and then grandkids' activities through Facebook. She took care of Chris through his declining health, with the help of family, until he passed away in October 2011. While it was hard to be at the house without him, she carried on. Longtime boarder Tim Constantin was a great help to Charlotte and Chris in their later years.
Charlotte passed away peacefully on Feb 11, 2021, at Portsmouth Regional Hospital after a rapid decline in her health. She is predeceased by her parents, her husband of 59 years, son-in-law Glenn Russell, and grandson Tom Hilchey. She is survived by her children, grandchildren, and great-grandson: Steve Christian and Barbara Bowen and their daughter Jill Christian of Lansing, NY; Bill Christian and Sue Andrews of Bennington, VT, and their children Jonathan and Matthew, both of Brooklyn, NY; Pat Christian and Dean Pavlakis of Helena, MT, and Buffalo, NY, and their children Elizabeth Christian and Thomas Stuhlback of Cambridge, MA (expecting a daughter to be named Charlotte in June), Peter Pavlakis and Minni Kahlon of Brooklyn, NY, and Alex Pavlakis and Ava Nourbaran of San Francisco, CA; Nancy Christian of Weare, NH; Alice Christian and Rick Woods of Colchester, VT; Amy Christian and Duncan Hilchey of Ithaca, NY, and son Jack Hilchey of Houston, TX; Marge and Dana Goudreault of Goffstown, NH, and their children David Goudreault of Manchester, NH, Christopher Goudreault of Manchester, NH, and his son Maximus Richards, and Jessica Goudreault of Newmarket, NH. She is also survived by her close cousin Paul Brown of Raymond, NH, and other dear family and friends.
Charlotte donated her body to Dartmouth's Geisel School of Medicine. Services will be held at a later time when the pandemic has subsided. The family requests that donations in her memory be made to NH Audubon (84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH 03301, or www.nhaudubon.org), Community Caregivers of Greater Derry (6 West Broadway, Unit 6, Derry, NH 03038, or www.comcaregivers.org), or a charity of one's choosing. Condolences may be sent to Amy Christian, 295 Hook Place, Ithaca, NY 14850, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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