Madeline Christie “Chris” Teater
December 2, 1950 – January 23, 2024
Chris exemplified the best of humanity in her love of family, passion for education, and humble curiosity. Madeline Christie “Chris” Teater, née Swanson, 73, of Solomons, Maryland, passed away on January 23, 2024, surrounded by family. Chris was born in Washington, D.C., in 1950 to Robert Swanson and Margot Peters Swanson and was the oldest of their four children, followed by Pam, Bob, and Andy. From an early age, Chris nurtured her siblings and developed a keen appreciation for the impact of a loving family. Chris’ world expanded at Towson State College, now Towson University, when she applied her talents to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education and English. While at Towson, Chris met the love of her life, Philip Martin Teater, Jr., and after many dates at the library, they married on August 28, 1971.
Chris and Martin raised their family in La Plata, Maryland, before spending many good years in Punta Gorda, Florida. Chris is survived by her husband, Martin, her four children, Lauren Sparks (Ken), Meredith Tyus (Rob), Catherine Grube (Howie), and Philip Teater III (Jessica). Chris also opened her heart and home to several foster children over the years, offering her loving support. Shaped by Chris and Martin’s example of love, each of her children married and she was blessed with twelve beautiful grandchildren who know with clarity how much she loved them and the many ways they brought her joy and pride.
In fact, Chris’ talents with the English language left no doubt of her feelings and she used those talents generously: to convey her love, to educate the children in her classroom, to advocate for the misunderstood or under-served, and to build connections with others. Only her capacity for perspective exceeded her skill with words; Chris extended grace to all with knowing wisdom, always seeking to create understanding and convey gratitude without expectation. Chris put these skills to work in her decades of service as a teacher of English at Potomac High School, Lord Baltimore Middle School, Milton M. Somers Middle School, Westlake High School, Challenger Middle School, and North Fort Myers Academy for The Arts. Her cherished colleagues knew her to be a caring, creative, collaborative educator with a knack for seeing the good in everyone. For her thousands of students, Chris conveyed the power of literature as a reflection of personal experience and the potential of writing as an engine for human connection.
If Chris had flaws, they were her struggle to see her own brilliance and, despite her enthusiasm for technology, her imprecision with online shopping; her family has many tales of duplicate purchases, botched deliveries, and bizarre gadgets, all procured in Chris’ loving effort to address a need or spark a smile.
Chris’ other loves in life were music and her animals. She always kept a song in her heart, with Jimmy Buffett in heavy rotation, and she leaves behind a clutch of dedicated Parrotheads who embrace the mantra, “If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane!” Chris saved many animals in her lifetime, giving her children the gift of Buck, Bart, Blondie, Pepper, Pilgrim, and Alex while going the distance to save Gracie and adding Pal and Kitty in her later years.
To honor Chris’ wishes for remembrance, a celebration of life will be held in May, details to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers or donations, please celebrate her legacy with an act of kindness: buy a stranger’s coffee, write a ‘thank you’ to a favorite teacher, adopt a shelter pet, reach out to a lost connection, or pay it forward in your own way to sustain the love and light Chris created in this world.
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