Norman “Chip” Atwood, Jr., 82, of Harvard, died May 26, and his family and friends mourn the passing of one of the kindest, smartest, and most patient men they’ve ever known.
Chip leaves his wife Nancy (Shaughnessy), stepdaughter Karyn White Doherty and husband John, son Joseph Atwood and wife Mindy, grandchildren Zane, Kindred, Rachel, Catrin, and Kai, beloved nieces and nephews, and brother- and sister-in-law Jimmy and Mary Moy, with whom he was very close, and sister-in-law, Diane Shaughnessy Moy. He is predeceased by his father Norman Atwood Sr., mother Anne (Johnson), brother Timothy, and stepdaughter Christine “Cissy” White. He leaves neighbor Becky Phillips, who for the past two years was a caretaker, good friend, and trusted companion.
Chip was born July 3, 1940, in the coal-mining town of Charleston, West Virginia. At 15, he accepted a full scholarship to Deerfield Academy. His father hailed from Brockton, and Massachusetts ended up feeling like home to Chip, too. After graduation in 1958, he attended Cornell before earning a bachelor’s degree in math from Boston University in 1969. He earned his master’s degree in philosophy and mathematics from BU in 1972. (He was so proud when Kai decided to attend his alma mater!) In 1981, he received a special management degree from Harvard University. He began his career at ADP in 1968, leaving in 1984 to work with the Intelligence Systems Group at Digital, where he retired from in 2001.
Chip moved to Harvard in 1969, and met Nancy in 1979. They married in 1980, and to accommodate his new family, Chip designed a home on Old Littleton Road, where they moved in 1984.
In retirement, Chip followed his insatiable curiosity and many passions. Those included reading (especially science fiction), listening to jazz, spending time with his family, working on his N-scale train collection, watching movies and Formula 1 racing, and golfing. For years, Chip volunteered at the Digital Seniors Classic in Concord. He relished being the one to announce the winner on the 18th hole! Deeply influenced by the racism he saw growing up, Chip was a passionate advocate for democratic rights and social justice.
Chip was so shy that when Nancy first tried to integrate him into her large family gatherings, he sometimes responded like a cat on a ceiling. After his eldest grandchild, Zane, turned 2, something magical happened. Chip grew to love the holidays and soon started decorating the Christmas tree for the first time and peeling the endless potatoes for Thanksgiving. Then he started adding his own touches to celebrations, like creating a Thanksgiving whiskey tasting. From his infancy to the beginning of COVID, Chip spent every birthday in the company of his cousins in Lakeville, MA. That tradition—and the annual Maine vacations with his children, grandchildren, and extended family—meant the world to him.
After Chip planned their honeymoon from inn to inn in New England, he revealed a secret to Nancy—the inns were located on a trajectory shaped like a heart. That pretty much says it all.
At Chip’s request, the family will hold a small private ceremony.
Arrangements under the care of Badger Funeral Home, 347 King Street, Littleton, MA 01460 (978)-486-3709, www.badgerfuneral.com.