OXFORD — Christopher Pottle, 79, teacher and Christian peace activist, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at his home in Oxford.

He was born in New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 14, 1932. Chris was one of two sons and a daughter of Frederick Albert and Marion Isabel (Starbird) Pottle. His father and mother were editor and cataloguer, respectively, of the papers of James Boswell at Yale University, where his father was also a professor of English literature.

Chris graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in 1949 and earned a B.S. in engineering at Yale in 1953. After a year at the Sperry Gyroscope Co. on Long Island, N.Y., he served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956 as a engineer at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. He earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana in 1962 and was a Fulbright scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich, Germany, 1958 to 1959. While in Germany, he met Marcia Suthon, a fellow Fulbright Scholar from New Orleans, La. They married in 1961.

After receiving his doctoral degree, Chris joined the faculty at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., where he taught electrical engineering until he retired in 1998. He was a Fulbright scholar at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, in 1966 to 1967, and spent sabbatical leaves at the IBM Watson Research Laboratories, at the General Electric Company’s Electric Utility Systems Engineering Department, and at Carnegie-Mellon University.

Chris was one of the founders of the Computer Science Department at Cornell and was known for his forward-thinking approach, constantly incorporating new technologies in a field that changed rapidly during his 36 years of teaching. He was also known for his dedication to creating a positive educational experience for his students and could often be found with them, sleeves rolled up, hard at work in the labs that were a central part of the electrical engineering curriculum. The wisdom, discipline, and humor he brought to his work impacted over four thousand graduates of the school during his years of teaching.

Upon retirement, Chris and Marcia moved to Oxford, his mother’s family home for several generations, where Chris had spent summers in childhood and throughout his life. Chris expressed his love of the outdoors through camping, hiking, sailing, and boating, particularly at the family camp in nearby Otisfield Cove, and worked hard to protect the camp for future generations of his extended family.

Chris began a lifetime of dedicated service in the Episcopal Church as a young child, singing in the boys’ choir at Christ Episcopal Church, New Haven. He served as acolyte, on vestries, as treasurer and in countless other ways at churches in New Haven, Ithaca, and most recently in Norway.

As a Christian peace activist, Chris’ passion for social and environmental justice brought him to leadership roles in many organizations, including the Episcopal Peace Fellowship, the Maine Council of Churches, Maine Interfaith Power and Light, and the Thompson Lake Environmental Association (TLEA). He often brought his analytical and computing skills to bear in such volunteer work, serving as treasurer of a number of organizations in which he also helped to integrate current technology. He spent many hours with the TLEA in recent years inspecting boats and working to keep his beloved lake clear of invasive plants.

Besides his wife, Chris is survived by a son, Samuel W. Pottle of Madison, Wis., and Tokyo, Japan; a daughter, Manette B. Pottle of Camden; a son, John F. Pottle of Williamsburg, Va.; and as many nieces, nephew, cousins, and friends as there are stars in the sky.

Online condolences may be expressed to the family at www.oxfordhillsfuneralservices.com.

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