“It is ever so with the things that men begin: there is a frost in Spring, or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.” —JRR Tolkien
Christopher B. Ogden, of Tarn Terrace, Frostburg, died on May 22, 2023 in Frostburg. Born in September 1953, he was the first child of the late Ernest P. Ogden Jr. and Ruth Wolff Ogden. He dropped out of Hill Street kindergarten but attended T. G. Pullen elementary school and graduated from Beall High School in 1971.
Following an incident in summer 1973 in which he could have, but didn’t, intervene, he was sentenced to a year for the misdemeanor. Paroled from MCTC, he completed the sentence while working at Shaffer Brothers’ sawmill at Palo Alto, PA. Decades later, the experience made him an asset at Offender Aid & Restoration in Ithaca, NY.
Between 1971 and 1982 he played guitar and keyboards in several locally popular bands including The Neighbors, Nova, and Skywalker. He moved to McMurray, PA, in 1978 to join Everwind, a struggling “progressive” rock band living in a house where a grisly double murder had occurred. In 1982, realizing that he was going to work every day simply to make enough money to keep the car running so he could get to work every day, he enrolled at Frostburg State College, where he prospered, while playing and recording with the local band Ten Below. In 1985 he spent 10 weeks in Puerto Rico as a Department of Energy student research participant, and was Valedictorian in Fall 1986 with Biology and Land Reclamation majors and a minor in Chemistry.
Off campus, Chris enjoyed rock and ice climbing and xc skiing. Later he took up bicycling, twice finishing the Assault on Mt. Mitchell and three times covering 250 miles in 24 hours. At 52 he rode up France’s famous Alpe d’Huez in only double the
time taken by that year’s Tour de France stage winner.
As a graduate Teaching Assistant in Biology at Cornell University, Chris earned a Master’s in 1991 and PhD in 1996 in the field of Environmental Toxicology. Rather than spending his days writing grant proposals, he continued as an Instructor for Biology labs until he was recruited in 2003 to start up a similar Pre-Medical course
for the new Weill Cornell Medical College in Doha, Qatar, where he worked adapting Cornell’s lab exercises and writing the occasional new one, until 2012.
Returning to Frostburg, he did little in retirement beyond bicycling on the Great Allegheny Passage, reviewing and editing research manuscripts, and serving on the Board of the Evergreen Heritage Foundation. Additionally, capitalizing on his knowledge of DNA and genetics, he assumed the role of family genealogist.
Mr. Ogden married Xiaoju Wang, of Beijing, China, in 1992; they divorced in 1997. He is survived by his sister the Rev. Karen Crosby, and brothers Pete and Jamie.
Per his request, there will be no viewing or service. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.