Christine Mae Archer

Christine Mae Archer, nee Geisman, of Alstead, died Oct. 10, 2021. After a two-year battle with ALS, she passed peacefully in her sleep at her home.

Christy is survived by her partner, Mitchell Wasserman, and daughters Clover Archer and Crina Archer. She is lovingly remembered by her sister, Mary Ann Russ, brother and sister-in-law, Tony and Barbara Geisman, and nieces Kathy Bates and Kim Ann Russ. A service celebrating Christy’s life will take place in Alstead in the late spring of 2022.

Christy was born in Lakeside, Ohio, on March 4, 1947, to John and Rosemary Geisman. The family soon moved to Florida, where Christy graduated from Cocoa Beach High School in 1965. After receiving her BA from the University of Florida, Gainesville, in 1969, Christy’s adventuresome spirit brought her north to Massachusetts, where she met Douglas Archer (d. 2002). The pair headed west to California, marrying in Santa Cruz, where their elder daughter Clover was born. They returned to the East Coast for the birth of their younger daughter Crina, eventually settling in Charlestown. The family spent the late 1970s rebuilding a centuries-years-old octagon house that still stands on Hemlock Road.

Before Doug and Christy divorced in 1983, Christy was accepted to the Teacher Corps program, through which she earned her MA in education at Keene State College in 1984. The following year, she met her life partner, Mitch Wasserman, also an educator who taught 7th and 8th grade English at Charlestown Middle School, and settled with him in a cottage on Lake Warren that was her home for more than 35 years. After the couple retired from teaching in 2009, they began spending winter months in the Florida sun, departing Alstead after the leaves fell and returning in time for lilac season.

Education was a fundamental value in every aspect of Christy’s life. She was an inspired and inspiring educator to hundreds of students throughout a remarkable career that spanned 25 years, beginning with her four years as the sole teacher for first through third grade students in the one-room schoolhouse of Sarah Porter Elementary in Langdon. In 1988, Christy came to Wheelock Elementary in Keene. She was a committed, innovative, kind and deeply generous teacher and colleague, sparking a lifelong love of learning in her students, many of whom continued to stay in touch for decades. Christy shared her teaching expertise and Wheelock classroom with numerous Keene State College student teachers whom she supervised and mentored. Her excellence in this work earned her the honor of two invited positions teaching methods at the college.

Christy’s virtuosity as an educator stemmed from her own excitement for learning, boundless curiosity and dedication to sharing these values. An avid reader, she taught her daughters to read by three years old, opening up a world of discovery that continues to inspire their own pathways through life and academia today. With Mitch by her side, she traveled the globe — from journeys to Russia, Egypt, Jamaica, Morocco, Vietnam and Thailand, and more recent trips to Iran, Ethiopia, Armenia and Georgia. In between trips abroad, the couple took annual camping trips to Cape Cod and Maine and were continually seeking new hiking trails throughout New England and Florida, always bringing their beloved golden retriever. Christy also cared deeply for those in her own community, where she and Mitch volunteered for the Fall Mountain Food Shelf in their retirement years.

Christy was fiercely proud of her daughters and encouraged each in all of their endeavors, always seeming to know just when to jump in to help or give space and support to grow. In addition to being a loving mother, she was a wonderful partner to Mitch, and sister, aunt, great-aunt and great-great-aunt to her extended family in Boston, North Carolina and South Carolina. And Christy was a splendid friend — thoughtful, quick to laughter, immensely generous and always game for a new adventure. She always found time to be a reliable confidante, shoulder to cry on, giver of handmade cards and superb cookies, adventurous co-pilot to explore new places, and steadfast companion.

Christy never gave up hope and was so brave throughout her illness. All of her family, friends and doctors made it possible for her to enjoy and participate in life to the fullest extent that she was able. Using assistive technology, she continued communicating with loved ones, reading books and keeping current with politics and cultural events. The world of all who knew her was an immeasurably broader and richer place because of the wealth of understanding that she built, shared and inspired. She passed with great dignity and grace, and her loss leaves a great chasm in us all. Her love of life and learning will remain with us always.

In remembrance of Christy’s lifelong dedication to education, a fund is being established in her name at Wheelock School, where she spent the last 21 years of her teaching career. The family requests that those who wish to express sympathy consider a donation to the Christy Archer Education Enrichment Fund that will be used to continue her legacy. Contributions can be made through the Wheelock PTA Venmo (@wheelockturtles) or can be sent directly to the Wheelock School PTA, 24 Adams St., Keene NH 03431.

The specifics of the endowment will be announced at the spring 2022 memorial service.