CHRISTIE, RICHARD GARY, 78
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Gainesville - Richard Gary Christie, 78, of Gainesville and Horseshoe Beach, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully on July 15, 2013, at University of Florida Health Shands Hospital after a short illness.
A Celebration of Life memorial open house will be held at his son Morgan Christie's home on Saturday, August 10, 2013 from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Please contact Ann or Carroll Christie for directions.
Richard was a humorous, kind, creative and brilliant Florida native, born on August 24, 1934 in Dunedin, FL, who deeply loved the sea and after having served in the U.S. Navy in Virginia during the Korean Conflict, worked as a sponge fisherman and shrimper before a hurricane convinced him to attend college and explore career options on solid land. He moved to Gainesville and eventually earned his Bachelor's degree from the University of Florida.
He began work as a Biological Scientist at the University of Florida's Agronomy Department in 1960 and retired from UF's Plant Pathology department in 1996. In conjunction with his close friend Dr. John R. Edwardson and several members of the Agronomy and Plant Pathology Departments, he studied plant viruses, predominantly those of agronomic crops. During this time, Richard shifted from oil painting to the painting of plant virus inclusions for virus identification via light microscopy, which was a unique technique he developed for their detection and diagnosis. For this, he received worldwide recognition and was invited to give workshops and present at many conferences, both in the U.S. and abroad. He also co-authored several books and wrote many scientific papers on his plant virus work. In 1992, he and three colleagues won the prestigious Ruth Allen Award, bestowed by the American Phytopathological Society. He worked as a consultant for Del Monte and Pace, and for the past 14 years exclusively for the McIlhenny Company, maker of Tabasco sauce.
He was a Life Member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Lodge # 990 of Gainesville for 38 years.
Richard is survived and remembered with love and joy by his beloved best friend and wife of 45 years, Elizabeth Ann Carroll Christie, a daughter, Sibyl Carroll Christie, a son and daughter-in-law, Morgan Lewis and Nicole Cara Nolan Christie and their children, Gabrielle Nicole and Jaxson Morgan, a nephew and godson, Stephen Yoshio Christie, a sister, Nancy Christie Moran, six nieces and nephews, and many great-nieces and great-nephews, cousins & friends.
He was predeceased by his parents, William and Sibyl Rousseau Christie, and three brothers, William "Sonny," Stephen Roland, and John "Butch" Christie.
He was a devoted husband and father who passionately loved animals, his family and friends, music, reading, pepper plants, the wily plant viruses, singing mechanical toys, storytelling, quoting, lecturing, cigars and red wine.
We remember his passing with a few lines from one of his favorite poems by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.
And the night shall be filled with music
And the cares that infest the day,
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs,
And as silently steal away.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Aug. 4 to Aug. 5, 2013