Herbert Ford, 559-592-0980, 559-732-0313.
LONG-TIME ISLAND LEADER THOMAS COLEMAN CHRISTIAN DIES ON PITCAIRN
ANGWIN (Napa County) Calif., July 7, 2013—Thomas Coleman Christian, 77, long-time radio officer and community leader of Pitcairn Island, died at 2 a.m., local (Pitcairn) time today (Sunday, July 7, 2013).
Mr. Christian was a seventh-generation, direct descendant of Fletcher Christian, masters' mate on the famed hip H.M.S. Bounty of the widely-known "Mutiny on the Bounty" sea story.
Through his many years in radio communication from Pitcairn, Christian had worldwide amateur radio contact with thousands of shortwave radio enthusiasts who were eager to record having had a radio contact with remote Pitcairn Island; as a result, Christian probably held the world record for such contacts, which numbered in the scores if not hundreds of thousands.
The cause of Christian's death was not immediately known, but he had been in ill health for the past two years with suspected Alzheimer's disease.
Christian was honored by Queen Elizabeth with the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1963 for his service to the Pitcairn people. He was seriously injured several times in his years of crewing island longboats while going out to meet calling ships through the dangerous surf that often beats against Pitcairn Island. During several years away from Pitcairn he served as radio officer aboard several ships.
Elected a Councillor several times to Pitcairn's governmental leadership, Christian traveled abroad a number of times, once as a delegate from the South Pacific to the world conference of the Seventh-day Adventist faith in the United States, and on another occasion to take radio training at the Adventists' world radiobroadcast headquarters in Glendale, California, USA.
Christian is survived by his wife, Betty Jean; four daughters, Jacqueline Beth, Raelene Kari, Sherileen Theresa, and Darlene Michelle; and a number of grandchildren.