Christopher E. Larkosh, a professor at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and internationally-renowned lecturer, died unexpectedly at home in East Providence, R.I. on Christmas Eve, 2020. He was 56.

He was born in Oak Bluffs on Sept. 2, 1964 to Dorothy Larkosh Roberts, a special needs teacher at the Tisbury School, and Edward Walter Larkosh, an Island science teacher and jazz musician.

From an early age, Chris was a brilliant public speaker and writer. He went from humble beginnings to becoming an expert in his academic field. While growing up on Martha’s Vineyard, he was active in children’s theatre and the Grace Church children’s choir. He had a lovely singing voice and performed leads in musicals.

In the 1969-70 academic year, his family lived in Bogota, Columbia. Chris ate street food, listened to musicians and attended bullfights with his father.

When he was seven, his mother took him and his brother Dan on a bus tour of Europe. They collected souvenirs from each country and departed the plane by clomping through the airport in Dutch wooden shoes.

As an adolescent, he moved to Reno, Nev. after his parents divorced. He went on many car camping treks across North America and Mexico with his family, returning to the Island each summer to live with his father and reconnect with friends, working summer jobs and enjoying beach days.

He graduated in 1982 from Procter R. Hug High School in Reno, where he won numerous trophies for speech and debate, played glockenspiel, continued acting and singing, and was elected student body president.

After graduation, he was awarded a scholarship and lived with a family in Germany. He began speaking German, and quickly became fluent in a dozen foreign languages. Throughout his life, he used his language skills to form friendships with folks of different backgrounds and cultures.

In 1987, he graduated from Vassar College summa cum laude with a degree in hispanic studies; he then earned his master’s and doctorate in comparative literature at University of California at Berkeley.

Chris had a magical ability to live and travel with limited financial resources. He was awarded a Fulbright grant, a Kosciuszko Foundation scholarship and a Rockefeller grant, among many others.

He preached tolerance and inclusion in his quest to bring people together in peace and understanding. As a translator and news announcer for Polish Radio Warsaw, he covered elections in Lithuania, wrote features on literary figures and documented Warsaw’s social and cultural changes. Over many summers, he volunteered as a facilitator, working with refugees as they integrated in their new environment in Delitzsch, Germany.

At the University of Massachusetts, he taught graduate and undergraduate seminars in Lusophone literatures and cultures, Portuguese language, Portuguese-English translation, literary theory and cultural analysis. He also lectured and published his writings in many languages.

He was a friend to the Portuguese-American community and extolled the Lusophone and immigrant cultures of southeastern New England. Each summer, he treated his class to a day trip to attend the Feast of the Holy Ghost at the Portuguese American Club in Oak Bluffs.

He enjoyed vacations and visits with his family. Traveling with Chris was profound and rewarding. He thrived on people, food, history and culture, and he was eager to share the joy of discovery.

He was a popular karaoke singer. His sense of humor was both sophisticated and silly. His tireless banter was full of crazy characters, pop culture references and song. He put everyone at ease and filled the room with laughter.

He also enjoyed gardening, picnics, cooking, hiking and collecting coins and stamps.

He was an exceptionally good son, brother and uncle. He is survived by his brother, Daniel J. Larkosh of West Tisbury; and his nephews Oliver and Xavier. His father died shortly after Chris’s death. He was predeceased by his mother.

He is interred at the Oak Grove Cemetery in Oak Bluffs, beside the path he walked as a boy.

Donations can be made to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, or the World Wildlife Fund.