Born on January 22, 1940, to the late Charles and Norma Christopher, Bill was the first of five children. He attended Case High School in Swansea, where he played football and baseball and met his future wife Chris. Bill graduated cum laude from Springfield College, and received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
His career path included research tenures at Harvard Medical School, Mass General Hospital, and then Boston University. During that time, he published several scientific papers. He would ultimately land at Genzyme Corporation, a cutting-edge biotechnology company working to develop drugs for lesser known yet devastating diseases. There, he excelled as a biochemist and enzymologist in the Cambridge location, and then later took on a leadership role at the company’s Framingham campus. Among other honors, he earned two U.S. patents for the invention of two different scientific methods. One was for a method of lysing (cutting) cells. The other was for isolating lipoproteins.
After 5 years living in Chapel Hill, Bill and Chris settled in Rockport. It was 1971, and there they raised their family. When his children were young, he enjoyed coaching softball and baseball, designing, and building elaborate, topical floats for the 4th of July Parade. Bill enjoyed many years playing softball in Rockport’s Men’s League where he formed lifelong friendships. After his retirement, he was active in the community as a member of the planning board and as a volunteer at the polls.
Bill’s seven grandchildren meant the world to him. He outwardly expressed his pride in their accomplishments, activities, and sports. He thoroughly enjoyed his grandchildren’s interests and connected with them in a way that demonstrated his love of their uniqueness. He also cherished his relationship with his brother, three sisters, and many nieces and nephews. His close friends were his family, and he loved them dearly. Whether they were his “softball friends,” “town friends,” “train friends,” “breakfast friends,” “condo friends,” or “ROMEO club friends” they all held a special place in his heart.
Bill and Chris built life-long memories as they traveled – together or with their close group of friends. They visited almost all of the United States including Alaska and Hawaii. He also visited many countries around the world. However, his most cherished trips were the family vacations that he and his wife meticulously and creatively planned. These included a life-defining three-month cross-country camping trip to Seattle via station wagon in 1976. Later in life, as a grandparent, he included the whole “crew” and basked in the joy of watching his wife, kids and grandkids (a family of 15) enjoy the thrill of discovering new lands in the company of family.
Bill is survived by his wife, Chris, his children, Bruce and his wife, Amy of Brewster, Beth Sucic and her husband Jan of Greenwich, Conn.; Peter and his wife Kristen of Rockport; seven grandchildren, Max, Sophie and Will Christopher; Karoline and Christopher Sucic; Emma and Lily Christopher; sister, Nancy Lincoln; sister, Dale Bradshaw and her husband Jim; brother, Bruce Christopher and his wife, Mary Ellen; sister, Doris Merrill and her husband, Stephen.
He leaves behind many nieces, nephews, cousins, and their families as well as his many friends that he considered family.
He was predeceased by his brother-in-law, Raymond Lincoln and sister-in-law, Barbara Merrill Bushnell.
A graveside service will be held for Bill on Tuesday, September 15, 2020 in Beech Grove Cemetery, Rockport at 12 noon. All attendees are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. Additionally, there will be no reception following the service.
A memorial service will be held at a later date.
Bill loved the history and unique landscape of Rockport. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bill’s memory to The Thacher Island Association, www.thacherisland.org
Arrangements by Greely Funeral Home, 212 Washington Street, Gloucester. For online condolences, please visit www.greelyfuneralhome.com.
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