Roger Christopher “Chris” Nottingham was born March 15, 1947 in Muncie, Indiana to Roger and Margaret (McGarrell) Nottingham, the first of four children. He spent his childhood going to the local parochial (St. Lawrence) and public (Southside) schools, and working at his parents’ business, Ace Fruit Company. He graduated in 1965 from Muncie Southside High School with top honors, and went on to Indiana University, where he majored in political science graduating Phi Beta Kappa. After undergraduate school he joined the Peace Corps teaching English in Sokcho, South Korea, followed by service with the International Volunteer Service in wartime Laos and as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer in Texas. He received an MA from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University and began a long and distinguished career as a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State. In over 30 years of service with the Department of State his assignments included South Korea, Pakistan, Uganda, Germany, Portugal, Lebanon and Washington, DC as well as the Army War College in Carlyle, PA. His languages were Korean, German and Portuguese. He retired as a Senior Foreign Service Officer and tutored at T.C. Williams High School, Charles Barrett Elementary School and returned to the Department of State to work part time in the Overseas Buildings Office, Bureau of Consular Affairs, and the International Information Programs Bureau. He enjoyed spending time with Helene Vonnegut his life long partner, their Golden Retrievers Palu and Pippa and many friends at his homes in Alexandria, VA and St. George Island, MD. They were building a new home in Beaufort, SC when he died on May 1 after complications from heart valve surgery.
Chris had friends across the globe who remember his intelligence, kindness and wit. He is survived by his partner, Helene, his brother Eric and his sister Emily. His brother Nick died before him. Extended family include Helene’s sister Michele Costello, her brothers Norbert and Joseph Vonnegut, her son Chris and his wife Kimberly, as well as cousins, two nephews (Cody Nottingham and Ben Zimmerman), a niece (Gina Smart) and a grand-nephew (Finn). In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to one of the foundations he particularly supported: In honor of his aunt, the Mary McGarrell Memorial Scholarship Fund at Ball State University Foundation, which supports nursing students; or in honor of his nephew, the Gabriel Zimmerman Memorial Scholarship Fund at the University of California Santa Cruz Foundation, which supports politically engaged social science students. Chris will be greatly missed by many.
A memorial service will be held Tuesday morning, May 30 at St. Georges Episcopal Church in Valley Lee, MD.
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