CHRISTOPH Dr. Gary G. Christoph On July 3, 2021, just eight days after his 76th birthday, Gary Gordon Christoph flew his final flight into the sunset. Gary was an avid private pilot who loved punching holes in the clouds and greasing a landing, he collected butterflies and enjoyed solving complex puzzles like a challenging crossword puzzle or a stimulating game of chess or Scrabble. He loved to teach, helping others discover new concepts and ideas, always with a knowing wink and a mischievous smile. To everyone's delight, he always had unique puns or stories ready for any occasion. After a long battle to overcome a rare form of Parkinson's Disease, Gary passed away peacefully at his home in Columbia, Maryland, with his wife and daughter by his side. Gary is survived by his wife, Christine L. B. Christoph, his daughter, Catherine A. C. Frates, his two grandchildren, Zander E. Frates and Alric T. Frates, and his brother, Greg E. Christoph. He also leaves behind a large network of treasured extended family members and esteemed friends whom he holds dear and are too numerous to list. Gary excelled in multiple careers, re-inventing himself as challenges arose, yet he remained modest with an uncanny ability to interact as a friend with anyone. Despite all his lifetime achievements and his love of hand-tied bow ties, he was a humble man, not above cooking breakfast for guests as he explained the chemical reactions taking place. He considered his accomplishments to be team efforts, ensuring that contributors got their fair credit. Gary was born June 25, 1945, in Evanston, IL, to adoring parents, Gordon E. Christoph and Grace C. (nee Scherr) Christoph. In 1963, he graduated valedictorian from Taft High School in Chicago and earned promotion to Captain in his Army ROTC unit. Gary's study of birds, bugs, and butterflies led to an internship at Chicago Academy of Science, to collect, categorize, and mount insects for display. At age 15, his business, American Entomological Supplies, made and sold nets and supplies for other collectors. In 1967, he earned a B.S. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, an M.S. degree (1969) and then Ph.D. (1971) in Chemical Physics from the University of Chicago. Completing a rigorous research pro- gram, he returned to CalTech as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellow and member of CalTech faculty. In this environment among Nobel laureates, he excelled doing research on the structure and function of enzymes and polypeptides. Besides his research, he loved to join friends and colleagues in search of new bird sightings to add to their Birding Life Lists. Gary was awarded the Ashland Oil Foundation Professorship and became an Associate Professor of Physical and Inorganic Chemistry at the Ohio State University in 1974, as well as a Visiting Research Scientist at 3M Corporation. He contributed to projects featured as Science magazine cover articles in 1975 and 1981. Gary earned his private pilot's license in 1979 and maintained a lasting friendship with his instructor, Walt Cooner, now Chief National Security Staff, DoD. Gary would build up 2,482 hours in the cockpit by his final flight in 2014, visiting dozens of airports in towns and cities across the country, sometimes stopping just to add butterflies to his collection. In 1982, Gary became a Technical Staff member at Los Alamos National Lab performing and publishing advanced research at the LANSCE facility. He then served seven years as an operating systems engineer for Cray Super computers and was elected Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of Cray Users Group, Inc. He organized and operated international Cray conferences and successfully lobbied Cray Research to change their corporate direction on OS security. This led to an invitation from the French government to co-teach a three-week course on Internet Security near Paris with Professor Eugene Spafford of CERIAS. He became the CSSO for the LANL Integrated Computing Network in 1995 and was instrumental in its first formal accreditation for classified computing. He led a team advising the SSA on Internet security issues and assisted system design development for a national PKI facility for the USPS. He won a contract to perform project management for a data-mining project to detect fraud and abuse in Medicare claims for the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). In 1997, Gary became the CIO and Director of the Office of Information Services at HCFA (now CMS) to bring new IT technologies and management approaches to the agency. He initiated a program to modernize all IT systems at CMS, writing and marketing his vision of IT to HHS executives, OMB, and Congressional staff. He led the successful renovation of CMS systems for Y2K, with a scope that touched hospitals and providers across the country and wrote the agency's Master Security Plan. Under his leadership, the agency became one of the first non-military agencies to perform third-party security testing of its infrastructure. He testified and briefed members of Congress, Congressional staff, and Presidential appointees. His team wrote many of the regulations implemented in HIPAA's data security and privacy provisions. Forever seeking opportunities to make essential improvements, Gary became a member of the government's Information Technology Resources Board (IRTB). As a project management and security specialist, he reviewed and analyzed troubled government IT projects at the request of OMB. As the COO and Deputy Director for the Center for Information Technology at NIH, Gary managed the NIH corporate network infrastructure, bringing new technology into legacy environments and wrote the first NIH enterprise Master Network Security Plan. Gary embraced the challenges of entrepreneurship in 2003. An exceptionally talented former intern, Michael Neuman, and his equally talented wife, Diana Neuman, invited Gary to co-found their new security firm, Seclarity, Inc., developing a novel technological approach to network security. He served as Seclarity's COO and then Senior VP. At Teradata Government Systems, Gary was a Senior Industry Consultant, supporting government business development in healthcare. In 2011, Gary was co-issued a US software patent with David O. Holmes on Techniques for Establishing and Enforcing Row-Level Database Security. He became a member of the Technical Advisory Panel supporting the AHRQ/NGA Collaborative of 35 states, aiming to reduce barriers to security and privacy in health information exchanges (HISPC). With such a breadth of knowledge and experience, Gary became an HHS Client Executive for Northrop Grumman functioning as a Thought Leader, providing strategic insight and expertise for their growing healthcare IT organization. He was instrumental in winning the SSA/ITSSC contract and continued on the Technical Advisory Panel for HISPC. After an early retirement, Gary, as President of Helios Cynax, Inc., continued as a Senior Technical Consultant to large and small system integrators for healthcare and IT management until his illness began debilitating his once extraordinary talents. A few words describing Gary would be honor, humility, compassion, brilliance, curiosity, and elan. Despite all his responsibilities, he made time for family. Whether a camping trip with gourmet meals, a quick flight for a "$100 hamburger," discoveries on a mountain hike, or catching fish at his childhood summer home lake, he enjoyed life to its fullest. Some of his fondest memories were of weekend flight getaways with Chris and creating butterfly and insect displays with his daughter, Catherine. A Celebration of Life for Gary Christoph will be held at the Donaldson Funeral Home of Clarksville, Maryland, on Sunday, August 1, 2021, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. At 12 p.m., everyone is invited to join in Reflections to tell of the experiences they shared with Gary during his eventful lifetime. For planning purposes, please RSVP with the number of people attending the Celebration to [email protected]
. Online condolences can be made through https://www.donaldsonclarksville.com/listings
. Gary died of complications related to a rare form of Parkinson's Disease known as PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made in his name to Cure PSP, a registered 501(c)(3) charity, which is the leading organization working to improve awareness, care, and cure for devastating prime-of-life neurodegenerative diseases. Donations can be made at https://www.psp.org
.Gary died of complications related to a rare form of Parkinson's Disease known as PSP (Progressive Supranuclear Palsy). In lieu of flowers, his family asks that donations be made in his name to Cure PSP, a registered 501(c)(3) charity, which is the leading organization working to improve awareness, care, and cure for devastating prime-of-life neurodegenerative diseases. Donations can be made at https://www.psp.org
Published by The Washington Post on Jul. 18, 2021.