Saturday afternoon at the tennis club (5:30 to 7 p.m.), East Chop will celebrate the life of Jeff Riotte. There is no better life to honor and remember. As a kid Jeff wowed us with his ability on the tennis courts and at the piano. As an adult, we appreciated most his smile, sense of humor, and artistry with the harmonica.

Jeff defined himself as a loyal friend. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Jeff’s wife Chris, their two sons Sam and Toby, Jeff’s grandchildren, and his sister Carol Patzer, along with the extended Langmuir clan, will all be there at the tennis club on June 25. Everyone’s invited. It’s a party you won’t want to miss.

Andy Puchner died too young. He was born in 1970 with a heart that had only one chamber. For 45 years he coped with this physical disability with courage and grace. At a memorial service in Englewood, N.J. in March, Andy was remembered for his wry smile, his curiosity, his sharp mind, and encyclopedic memory. The eulogists at the service also praised Betsy and Peter, Andy’s parents, for 45 years of loving care under difficult circumstances.

Andy worked as a librarian. He was also remembered for his optimistic vision for his future. He never gave up. During those last days as he was losing his battle with heart disease, he was furiously working to complete his master’s degree in library science from Rutgers University. He was one term paper short in his final course from completing it. Though he was never able to finish the paper, Rutgers honored his hard work and tenacity by awarding the degree posthumously.

We also lost three wonderful men from our oldest families. George Curme 3rd, born in 1921, was an East Chop summer resident all of his life. He had a fascinating career, owning a dairy farm in Chester County, Pa., where he also taught AP biology at the high school level. In the sixties the family moved to Charlottesville, Va., where he owned a feed and grain storage business. He was remembered at a memorial service this winter as a great intellect and a dedicated volunteer. George is survived by three of his children: George 4th, Geoffrey, and Caroline Curme Angelica.

The Herrick/Dripps clan will miss our next door neighbor Ted Lewis. Ted died on Dec. 20 with all the members of his family singing Christmas carols around his bed. Ted loved the outdoors, serving for many years on the National Ski Patrol and teaching courses on avalanche rescue and mountaineering. I, for one, will not miss Ted’s meticulous attention to landscaping his beautiful lawn on East Chop Drive because it served as a constant reminder that we had work to do, but all of us will miss his warm, engaging personality as he entertained tourists passing through the neighborhood with East Chop stories.

Fourteen days prior to Ted’s death, we lost his younger brother Jack Lewis. Jack was our adventuresome neighbor. One afternoon, while snorkeling off the Bluff in front of his house, Jack shot and killed a bass. Nancy Stephens was so impressed she reported the story in her weekly column, which led to a police investigation. As I remember the story, Jack had safely returned to Chicago before the police arrived on the scene. Jack was full of fun, an absolute gentleman on the tennis court, and a giver to the Vineyard community. We will miss him.

For more information on the Lewis family and other members of the East Chop community, please consult East Chop Families 2016. Yes the new edition has finally arrived. As all of you know, Jane Meleney Coe was the prime mover in publishing this book. The book is a reflection of her deep commitment to building community in the places where she has lived. You will love the pictures submitted by Lee Hunsaker and Jeanna Shepard. Craig Dripps’s cover photo jumps out at you. The manuscript is clean with regards to typos, misplaced commas, and awkward sentences because of the expert editorial work of Bob Coe. To the obtain the book couldn’t be easier. Just call me at 508-693-8065.

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