- 69 years old
- Date of birth: Aug 17, 1946
- Place of birth:
Washington D.C., District of Columbia, United States
- Date of passing: Jul 24, 2016
- Place of passing:
Takoma Park, Maryland, United States
|Let the memory of Addison "Chip" be with us forever|
This memorial website was created in memory of our loved one, Addison "Chip" Greenwood, 69, born on August 17, 1946 and passed away on July 24, 2016. We will remember him forever.
"I am not blessed with the gift of self expression that my cousin Chip was. That makes trying to find the words that do my thoughts justice, extremely difficult but I will try. Chip would have been seventeen when I was born so the likelihood that circumstances would have allowed our lives to parallel and intertwine as they did at times, seems remote. We married one year apart and each, had our beautiful daughters within six months of each other. I watched as Chip went on to love his wife and daughter with an intensity and fervor that was uniquely his own. I and my family were gratefully the recipients of countless acts of generosity with his time and energy as we have traveled these last eighteen years. I cannot recall one time that a request of a favor was declined or even danced around. He delighted in being present for and contributing to any task or event of meaning, no matter how seemingly mundane. For someone with such big fish to fry he didn’t place himself above taking time to just “be there”. I realize that I am ill equipped to fully recognize the complexities of Chip’s intellect but it is his heart and spirit that I love and can speak to. Seventy years ago yesterday, Chip entered this world and those of us who knew and loved him are all the better for it. He left us exhibiting grace ,humility and dignity as a final gift and remembrance. Addison, you were a force to be reckoned with…and blessed by…and you are dearly, dearly missed.
With love and deepest sympathy to Paula, Tess, Vincent and Art
"I had the pleasure of working with Addison at the National Cancer Institute. His infectious smile, good humor, and talent for writing about people were always on display. When I left for military service to Iraq, Addison put together a CD mix of music for me to take along. I was reluctant at first to listen to it because I thought our taste in music would be too different. Actually, he was spot on with a blend of classic rock from the 60s and 70s. True to form, Addison wasn't thinking of himself when he gave me that small gift, but of me. He will be greatly missed."
"Paula, Tess, Art, Nocky, and other family and friends,
I was sad to learn from Art that Chip's cancer had returned and that he had died. Art told me that Chip faced his last months with grace and was positive and engaged to the end. It was comforting to hear that, but not surprising.
Art introduced me to Chip in the early 70's. While we weren't in regular contact, we both stayed in DC over the years and I'd run into Chip - at the farmer's market, or at a Sidwell event, or in a bookstore, or at the ballpark. In recent years, we were both Edmund Burke School parents and I would see him at school functions.
It was always a lift to see Chip - the great smile and shaggy mane were hard to miss. He was just so engaged with the world, so ready to laugh or wrestle with ideas and problems, so positive in the face of ups and downs. One of the last times I saw him was after his first round of cancer treatment. He was still skinny, hair just growing back, but was out and about, upbeat, and counting his blessings rather than cursing his luck.
Some folks have a light that burns a bit brighter - Chip was one of those people. I'm grateful to have known him."
"While I did not know Chip during our years together at Princeton, we did have a delightful conversation at this year's "'68 turns 70" party in DC. What a spectacular man Chip was! That conversation was the highlight of the event for me.
May Chip's memory sustain his family, friends, and all of us always. We have lost a great one."
"Chip was a classmate at Princeton. I did not know him. After reading these memories of him, and yes, tributes, I am sorry that I did not. He surely would have enriched my life just as he did for all those others who have left messages above. Go, Tiger!"
You are gone too soon! One of the joys of the past two years was re-connecting with you as we prepared for our 50th Sidwell Reunion. That slightly skeptical yet joyful view of life had not left you even as you were on the roller coaster ride of fighting a miserable disease! You have been a great source of comfort & encouragement to me as I battle my own cancer. Please know how grateful I am for the chance to rekindle our old friendship and enjoy the new one, if only for a little while. I miss you already. Rest in peace, dear friend!
"One of my earliest memories of Chip took place in Ocean City, Maryland, in the 60s. At that time my father owned a house in Rehobeth Beach where we vacationed for many summers. Across the street from us lived two rather odd middle-aged brothers referred to as the beanie brothers since they travelled around on bicycles wearing Beanie and Cecil hats with little twirlers on them. They scared me and they had creepy toothless grins. One evening Chip took me and some others to see the wresting great Bruno Sammartino at the convention center. To my shock and dismay a row behind us was one of the creepy beanie brothers jeering at me with his gap-filled grin. I told Chip all about them and he assured me he would protect me, and he did. I felt truly relived and safe with my courageous cousin, Chip.
I remember the many times he would stop by my father’s dental office at the end of the day to talk, get advice and just catch up – my father loved it!
I will never forget his beautiful smile and when he called me Darlin’ I just melted.
"Vince, Debbie, Mattie and Cary,
I wish we could have known Chip. From reading these tributes no doubt we missed out on someone very special. To lose a sibling is one of the saddest times in this life that we go through.
Vince, many thoughts and prayers have been said for you and all the family. Debbie, my dear cousin and life long friend, your support and faith no doubt have been an anchor throughout these past years and certainly now. Mattie and Cary, as the hurt starts to ease as time goes by, always remember all the fun times and have a laugh or two or three about your uncle. I'm sure he would want that.
Gary and I feel your pain most acutely. Not a day goes by that we don't remember Gary's brother John who left us last April. Like Chip no doubt was, he was the rock we all depended on to be there.
Blessings and God's peace now and always.
Gary and Susan Knee"
"Chip was an unforgettable, courageous, righteous, creative, brilliant and charismatic person. Simcha and I hope that Chip's wife and daughter, Art, and Nocky and Debra and their kids will be consoled by time and beautiful memories. "When I recall that deprivation -- how could we have lived then?! -- huge tears well up in my eyes." (Osip Mandelstam, The Noise of Time)"
"Dear Paula & Tess,
Although Addison's death was not unexpected I know that does not in any way alleviate his loss or the weight of your sorrow.
As you know, I came to know Addison through the "extended," one might add very extended, family and we bonded immediately over sports, books and many things in between. Although we were only together on your visits to RI or family occasions, it was always a delight to be in his presence. After my sister Helen was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma, Addison was incredibly generous with his time and with providing information on studies, etc. that he researched as a science writer at NIH. This was a very difficult time for me and our family and Addison never waivered or failed to respond when I emailed and/or phoned. I am incredibly indebted to him, and now his memory, for how kind and generous he was throughout this ordeal.
Addison was a mensch and he leaves a beautiful enduring legacy for his family and friends.
With love and sorrow,
"I am friend of Nocky and I first met Chip shortly after college. My first impression of Chip has continued to be implanted in my memory. Chip was a unique individual with unlimited energy, with a keen intellect who marched to the beat of his own drum. In addition he was a fighter with a love of life and that both of these traits contributed to his long and brave against a terrible illness. In a word, I would consider Chip a sample of one who will never be forgotten.
"Chip, thanks for your sharp wit, poignant insights, powerful writing, vitality, humor, friendship, and inspiring courage."
"I grew up in the same neighborhood with Chip in Chevy Chase,D.C.I became best friends with his brother,Nocky.Although I saw Chip occasionally over the years,it was most always by fortuitous circumstances,and rarely did we have a planned visit with one another.Much of this was due to my living out of town.
That changed in 2012.I had put up my family's house for sale in the old neighborhood,and I ran into Chip.I was walking,he was driving,and we began talking.He soon realized that I had a monumental task of cleaning out 60 years of junk,disposing of furniture,etc.Without any request whatsoever from me,he immediately undertook the task of seeing that all the "heavy lifting" got done.He was there every day.He would not be deterred by my pointing out that I could hire an outside person to do this,or that this was way more than what would be expected of anyone.With a severe lower back problem,I could not have done this on my own.He would not stop until everything was done.He neither asked for,nor expected,anything from me.
Then,in late 2014, living in Las Vegas,essentially alone,I became completely disabled and helpless,Chip was in remission from his AML.Again,without any prompting from me,that I was aware of,he undertook the mission of making the trip out here,packing my few possessions,and bringing me back to DC,where I would have a much-needed support system.Once there,he made sure I had enough food,that I was driven to the medical appointments set up for me,and other things too numerous to fully itemize.
My lasting memory of Chip is this: "He had unbounded honesty,loyalty,and physical strength.He was there for me when no one else was or could be"."
"I am a Sidwell Friends classmate of Chip. To Chip's family I send love and sympathy.
With gratitude to Chip for recent conversations at lunch with Sidwell classmates, I quote Judith Viorst, from her book Necessary Losses:
'...What I wanted was someone to teach me what to do with it all.
To teach me how to know death and go on with life.
To teach me how to love life and not fear death.
To teach me, before it was time for me to take the final exam, the ABC of dying.'
Thank you, Chip, for your example and your presence."
"Paula and Tess, we haven't seen you all in such a long time, but we're thinking about you a lot. And Artie and Vince and Debra. Chip was a great guy, so engaging and fun to talk with. We had some really nice visits with him and with you, Paula, over the years. Tess was a little girl the last time we saw her. The Langfords -- Glenna, Joe, and Jody"
"Oh dear Addison- you leave me longing for just one more debate, one more conversation with you.... Although the years took us in different directions Addison, Paula and Tess were so much a part of our life on Sligo Creek. I always appreciated Addison's intellect, curiosity and willingness to dive deep into any topic and you added such important male energy to my little girl as she grew. Thank you for letting us share your life and know that you made a mark in ours. Love, Deborah and Claire"
"I am deeply saddened by the news of your loss. My sincere condolences to you both. I really enjoyed talking to him at Burke's events, he always took the time to chat with me. He was a wonderful man. I will always remember his big smile. I always thought it was cute that he would wear Hawaiian shirts and sandals. May God bless you both and comfort you guys during this time of grief. Big Hug to both
Elena(Victoria and Romy mom)"
"This is the last written interchange that I enjoyed with Chip in mid-June. As most of you know, Chip and my wife Connie were a couple for 8 years...enough to call it a common law marriage. He entered my life, so he wouldn't be shed from her life. And...we became fast friends. I sent him an article about how "Ulysses" fans were finding joy in oral recitations of the tome. Read on:
On Jun 16, Rick wrote:
In today’s daily edition of the New Yorker:
WHY WE ARE NO LONGER SHOCKED BY “ULYSSES”
How be you?
Subject: Re: Ulysses
Ask Mouse if she remembers us going to one of the readings.
My AML relapsed as of May. Tess and I went to Hopkins on Monday to talk about other options (trials, etc.).
On Jun 16, Rick wrote:
I sent you the beginning of that article PRECISELY because of the PTSD you inflicted on Connie with that all-day reading. She’s never forgotten it. Then again, there are few things she does forget. And now I’m the beneficiary of tales like when she tossed the fully prepared cake over the balcony at your place over off of Tunwall because it wasn’t perfect.
No one is perfect. Life is clearly not perfect. Taking your life at this young age is unfair and unjust. But it’s why we call it LIFE, filled with unjustices like the 49 poor souls in Orlando out for a night of fun.
I will always be indebted to you. You brought the love of my life to DC on a crazy journey. You took the girl out of the Midwest, but clearly not the Midwest out of the girl. And she learned so much more than just about Ulysses from you.
You drove her crazy; then again she was crazy in love with you.
We will have you all over for dinner soon. It won’t be maudlin. We will celebrate your uniqueness, which no one would debate. And we will rue the fact that you never completed the Great American novel. Perhaps your greatest failing ;-)
Rick & Connie
Subject: Re: Ulysses
Just don't let her see that I "brought her" to DC, which sells short the stunning solo adventure of packing up the Camaro (to the gills, sewing machine and all) and hitting the road in search of the life that (we know better than anyone) she would make, not find, most certainly.
Dying "young" and fully conscious is a privilege--not to bemoan. All debts absolved, you've been a great friend.
On July 28, Rick wrote:
NB Chip doesn't want "credit" for luring my wife to DC; for leaving her entire family and friends and the only life she knew in Moline, IL. That little town could not contain her ambitious dreams. Chip fostered those dreams and brought some of them to reality."
"To my baby sister Paula and my beautiful niece Tess: Addison leaves with us a lasting legacy -- the love and dedication you both bestowed on him during his long and super-courageous battle speaks volumes about his life."
"In my idealized afterlife, Chip is now adventuring with Saul Bellow’s antihero Augie March— “an impulsively active, irresistibly charming and resolutely free-spirited man, who sets off in search of reality, fulfillment, and most importantly, love.” When I met Chip in 1968, he had fallen fast and hard for Augie, and then with countless literary characters who became his life’s preoccupation. We mere humans were no match for Sherlock Holmes, Herzog, Easy Rawlins, Lolita, the Ginger man, Leopold Boom…
I grieve with all of you who rode shotgun as Chip drove headlong in his quest for a meaningful existence. It could be exhausting, make no mistake; it could be thrilling. He refused to use a map."
"As a teacher, school advisor and big fan of Tess, I had many chances to see Addison's deep devotion and admiration for her. His strong interest in, and generosity of spirit toward our school made him an important part of the Edmund Burke community. My heart and thoughts are with Tess and Paula."
"Everlasting be his memory."
"Sending love to the Greenwood Family
"Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince: And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"
Liz Pierotti and Iku Kawashita"
"Aaah, Addison, you now know the great mystery on the other side of the veil! Wishing you could tell us all about the next adventure! Free and open with your thoughts and ideas, you relished knowing others in the same manner. Thank you"
"I'm a classmate and friend of Nocky. I met Chip many times on my visits to DC and he and Vince once visited me when I lived in New Hampshire. I haven't seen him in years, but I have vivid memories of our conversations. What I most remember is my brain waking up when I spoke to Chip. His energy and excitement about Ideas always grabbed me and seemed to awaken my intellect. I felt smarter around Chip. While he was a peer and not a teacher, my own excitement about ideas and life sparked as they would with a great teacher. Rest in peace, Chip."
"Spike arises and patrols as he always does, with stealth and poise,neither prowling nor hunting but observing, inspecting perhaps, in preparation for the morning report to his captain,which he delivers with telepathy;but the desk where he sits to do this is neat and inactive now and its empty chair tucked uselessly underneath.
I want to pay respect to my brother. In fact, I feel a certain obligation to, but this is one of those paradoxical times when a dilettante can be inspired to perform and at the same time, arrested by doubt. Chip was a wonderful writer you see, so erudite, so stylish and charismatic; one feels inadequate to the task of rendering unto Caesar what to Caesar is due.
However, he is also my brother and this means he has always been the chief advocate of my every endeavor; always encouraging, always accepting.
I suppose he is to blame for the sense of entitlement I have, to all the miracle and wonder of this world. Every step of my life I have felt the sun on my shoulder and the wind at my back because of him.
So, just let me say- not having the chance to speak with him again is an immeasurable loss, but I embrace my new commission with all my heart, and continue, carrying forward that portion of his spirit bequeathed to me.
Takoma Park, July 24th 2016
In lieu of flowers,donations could be made to
The Booeymonger Deli which has recently
suffered a severe reversal of fortune."
"To My Brother
DO/DO NOT GO GENTLY...
Recalling the oft-quoted lines of Dylan Thomas’ poem --
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
-- evokes reflection and provides a backdrop to help understand my brother’s journey.
“Do not go gentle into that good night”, Thomas avers. For my brother? Try not go gentle into the morning light, the afternoon sun, the evening dusk. Chip did not wait until the 11th hour to ‘burn and rave’. Not in his DNA.
When you lose your father at the age of five, there are all sorts of consequences, some of them wrenching. But from that total eclipse of the sun, he was able to extract a gift: a unique sensibility, that sparked a unique kind of intensity, that resulted in what all of us in his orbit recognized as a unique life force.
What was it? This Chipness? A few fragments:
Honesty over compromised truth
Sacrifice over comfort
Tenaciousness over discouragement
Openness over guardedness
Approach over avoidance
We all wish he could have been with us longer. Lord knows his mind and desire to engage were turbo-charged to the end. He had more to give, more to produce. But we shouldn’t grieve over any uncompleted agenda or unfulfilled quests. Nothing about his life was abated. He left it all out there
Chip did not go gently into that good morning or afternoon.
In the first part of his life --
On a range of athletic fields; in classrooms at Sidwell and Princeton; with his friends; with his family; with his -- as what can only be described as fierce -- relationship with ideas
his spirit was fully extended.
In the second part of his life --
With the energy he brought to the National Cancer Institute; to his relationship with Paula, her family and Tess
his spirit was fully realized.
There’s one minor point I’d like to get on the record: Chip chose wisely and bravely in his life’s work, which was basically to pursue one intellectual ardor after another. That choice was unorthodox. Not always the easy road. It often meant he didn’t have the societal support and other rewards that most of us require for ego sustenance.
It’s easy to imagine that he would have been quite a fish in whatever sanctioned pond he might have inhabited. Many thought the law was a natural fit (picture the number of opposing counsel that would have been ground into cornmeal).
Instead, he would throw himself into one difficult and compelling subject after another, subjects that required commitment and the ability to grapple with complexity, often with no obvious reward other than the work itself. Many of us have the value of cultivating the life of the mind, but few of us actually live it out. Not going gently was Chip’s coin of the realm for a life congruent with this core value.
In December of 2013 Chip received the leukemia diagnosis which set off the third part of his life. The diagnosis, cruel to be sure, was assimilated by Chip as a gift. It proved to be an edifying and clarifying force that enabled Chip to access qualities within himself that yielded some of his finest moments.
Early on in his treatment at Georgetown, when Chip was going through the most brutal phase of chemotherapy, I would visit him. Coming into his room, I would start blinking, thinking I needed to clear my eyes. Chip would often have a beatific (!) expression on his face. The expression, I figured, must be the result of some chemical cocktail. But no, it became apparent soon enough: no altered consciousness there. It was a natural expression. A piece of it, I believe, was serenity, the serenity of a confident pilot approaching headwinds. It was evident that Chip was looking at his predicament in a clear-eyed fashion, rising to the struggle before him, exploring the intellectual challenges posed by the illness and the medial industrial complex of which he was now a member. But there was another piece.
Compassion is the closest word I can muster. In the hospital setting it had an other worldly quality; the expression conveyed an empathy and caring for all those trying to comfort him. And, Chip being Chip, this was not just a feeling, but a moment-to-moment expression of concern and understanding for what others were going through vis a vis his plight. He had flipped some ontological switch. Even though he was in the dire situation, addressing our needs became paramount.
Thus, the beatific expression, which soothed us; but also, unwittingly, revealed a Man in Full, a Life in Full.
That grace animated his days and enabled us to more often be our better selves. That grace prevailed for the 32 months that remained to him.
So, the third act of his life was not compromised by self-absorption or fear, certainly not by passivity. And, Dylan, no rage. Au contraire, he did go gently.
If Chip has (maybe already has had) a conversation with his colleague, Dylan Thomas, he can enlighten him on the ascendant path of going gently into that good night, the passageway to that path earned through a life of not going gently.
When I face the end, I would hope to use Chip’s grace as a model and travel this path; however, I suspect that is beyond my grasp. But I am emboldened by the fact, the experience of having had the great good fortune of living a life in which I was fiercely loved by my brother.
I would like to express my gratitude to a fraction of the people who enriched his life:
To the caregivers at Georgetown. For the quality of their care and, what is more important, for allowing themselves to break role and receive from Addison as well as give to him.
To all his cousins, niece and nephew who were so there for him. And who, I suspect, are benumbed by the particular loss of the person who -- let’s be clear -- was the irreplaceable paterfamilias of my generation.
To his Sidwell friends -- the inner circle (Frank, Dusty, Steve) and all the others he reconnected with the past few years -- an essential dimension in his life.
To Connie, Rick. For all the love, laughs and rich history.
To Bill. For shepherding and being shepherded by Chip through difficult times.
To Debra. For all her support.
To all the Robinsons. For embracing Chip and who, God bless them, saw and appreciated his core.
To Art. For all the shared experience, engaged dialogue, kindness and sweat over the years. Like me, Art feels he got more than he gave. But, damn, did he give a lot.
To Tess. For providing her father with so much joy and pride. And whose pulsating spirit embodies Chip’s essence. That spirit should and will be a consolation to all of us as we go forward.
To Paula. For being the love of his life and the ballast that enabled him to be his true self."
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