Theodore E. Kirchner, 88

Jan 18, 2021

Theodore (Ted) E. Kirchner, 88, set sail for brighter horizons on Jan. 12, 2021 after a period of declining health. Ted was born to immigrant parents: Henry W. Kirchner and Margaret (Hollborn) Kirchner, in New York City. Raised in Queens speaking German, he was known to be curious, ambitious, and mechanically inclined. As a teenager he purchased an antique car, convinced his mother to tow it home (nearly destroying BOTH cars), where he completely disassembled and rebuilt it. Ted commuted to Brooklyn Technical High School, then to Steven’s Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ while living at home. Each evening when he completed his schoolwork he enjoyed a beer with his mom, to whom he was totally dedicated, as they reflected on the day. He would continue this tradition; smuggling a beer into her nursing home nightly 80+ years later. After college Ted served as a C-124 maintenance officer in the Air Force during the Korean War. As the engines required a lot of attention, he was frequently needed to go on missions. After his military service, Ted settled in a waterside bachelor pad on Long Island where he learned to sail and eventually adopted a 505 dinghy. He also joined the Center Ski Club and traveled to the North East’s finest skiing destinations in their club car, which was a hearse. It was through the club that he not only taught himself to ski, but also made lifelong friendships and met the love of his life, Kathleen O’Hara, with whom he shared 59+ years of marriage. They eloped to Stowe, VT on Christmas Eve of 1961. After their first child, Peggy, was born, Ted was recruited to The Sippican Corporation in Marion, MA. As he and Kathy were trying to decide about making the move, the Tabor Boy (a 92-foot schooner moored in Marion) came into the harbor under full sail and that sealed the deal. Once in Marion they joined the Beverly Yacht Club and the 505 gave way to a Pearson Triton 28, called Kathleen, on which Ted took his family on many adventures. In 1976, the family took their first overnight trip to Maine before modern navigational aids. Arriving in the thick fog, Ted encountered lobstermen and asked about his position relative to the destination. “You’re right at the harbor entrance marker,” they exclaimed, much to his relief and a bit of surprise. The trip led to many excursions along the east coast; even up into Canada. Career opportunities took Ted to American Science & Engineering where he met his dearest friend, Paul Burstein. The two of them developed innovative x-ray technologies and space telescopes blasted into the heavens on Skylab and Einstein X-ray Observatory. This involved many adventures to CA and the like with side missions to always find the perfect local dive bar. The career shift also meant a move to Weston, MA where Ted and Kathy built their ski-lodge like home and moved with Peggy and now Eric to a wonderful neighborhood. Ted would eventually move to Foster Miller in Waltham to which he hiked, biked, or cross country skied depending on the conditions. Once the kids were in college he took the plunge; retiring Kathleen and adopting Catspaw on which he cruised extensively with Kathy and enjoyed many a Figawi race. Their shared love of skiing brought them to mountains all over North America and Europe. Ted is very much missed by his wife: Kathleen, daughter: Peggy Cavanaugh and her husband Tony Kramer, son: Eric, daughter: Bonnie Kirchner and her husband Craig Rowe, grandchildren: Katie and Sean Cavanaugh, the Kramer, Bleidt, and Rowe step-grandchildren, and so many wonderful friends and colleagues. His family is forever grateful for the wonderful staff who cared for him at Sippican Healthcare especially during such an unprecedented time; as well as the incredible Brookhaven Hospice healthcare professionals. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to: CHA Foundation, c/o Brookhaven Hospice, 114 Turnpike Rd, Suite 206, Westborough, MA 01581 or or Stevens Institute of Technology, 1 Castle Point Terrace, Office of Development, Hoboken, NJ 07030, and indicating the Class of 1953 Endowed Scholarship Fund. Gifts can also be made by using this link and choosing the Class of 1953 Endowed Scholarship Fund from the dropdown list indicating the gift is a tribute at the bottom of the online form. In either case please note that the contribution is in memory of Ted Kirchner. A Celebration of Ted’s life will be held when it is safe to gather.