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Nicholas P. Christy

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East Lyme - Dr. Nicholas P. Christy, 90, of Westerly and Niantic, former Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, died peacefully Saturday, April 26, 2014, at The Westerly Nursing Home.

Born in Morristown, N.J., June 18,1923, he moved to New York City after his graduation from college and lived there until his retirement in 1994. He maintained a summer cottage in Shelter Harbor from 1961, and resided in Niantic, with his devoted wife, Caroline Adams until 2011.

Dr. Christy majored in English at Yale University and graduated in 1945. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of P & S in 1951, concluding his post-graduate studies in biochemistry at Columbia in 1959. He served in the USNR from 1942 to1946, Amphibious Forces, South Pacific, and Western Theaters attaining the rank of lieutenant (jg).

After working as an associate attending physician at Presbyterian Hospital and visiting physician at Delafield Hospital and Bellevue Hospital, all in New York City, he became director of the Department of Medicine at Roosevelt Hospital, NYC from 1965 to 1979. He was chief of staff at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., from 1979 to 1988.

Concentrating in endocrinology at Columbia University, Dr. Christy won the Borden Award for Undergraduate Research, was a John and Mary R. Markle Scholar in Medical Sciences and was awarded the Joseph Mather Smith Prize for Meritorious Research. As a researcher and medical writer, he authored or contributed to over one hundred papers in various publications, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the American Journal of Medicine, the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

He was editor-in-chief of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism from 1963 until 1967, and an associate and consulting editor of the Cecil-Loeb Textbook of Medicine from 1967 to 1978. He was the editor and co-author of The Human Adrenal Cortex published by Harper & Row in 1971.

In addition to his core interest in matters endocrine, Dr. Christy wrote about medical aspects of his many enthusiasms, including language, classical music, and venomous reptiles. He wrote a paper about the final illness of Austrian composer, Gustav Mahler. He co-authored several pieces on the treatment and therapy of snakebite. He also wrote extensively on the importance of clear communication in medical writing and the use of plain English between doctor and patient, earning the Harold Swanberg Award (contribution to medical communication) from the American Medical Writers Association in 1989. He took special pleasure in annotating the works performed by the Atlantic Classical Orchestra in Vero Beach, Fla., where he spent winters from 1994 until 2002, and writing pieces for the alumni magazine of Columbia University College of P & S.

Dr. Christy was a member of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, the Endocrine Society, the Mahler Society, the Yale Club, and University Club. He was a lifetime member of the Century Association, NYC and president from 1987 - 1990, during which time he presided over the admission of women to that formerly all-male organization.

He married Beverly Morris in 1947, who predeceased him just shy of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1997.

He is survived by his wife of 15 years, the former Caroline P. Adams; son and daughter-in-law, Nicholas Jr. and Sonya M. Christy; daughter, Martha V. Christy; stepchildren, Rand Jones, Josiah Jones, and Christy Ketchel; and three grandchildren, Nicholas III, Luke, and Beverly.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 31, at Christ Church in Westerly. There are no calling hours.

The Buckler-Johnston Funeral Home, 121 Main St., Westerly, is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Endocrine Society Trainee and Fellowship Awards Program, 2055 L St., Ste. 600, Washington, D.C., c/o Amy Woodward.
Published in The Day on May 7, 2014
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