David Lord, 89, formerly of Chester

Dr. David Alan Lord, 89, formerly of Chester Vermont, died at his home in Harbour Ridge (Palm City, Fla.) in the loving embrace of his wife Kathy (Pellett), on May 14.

David courageously endured a three-year battle with lymphoma that began before he moved to Florida. He loved his new home, which afforded him the opportunity to enjoy watching the myriad birds swooping into Mile Lake early mornings and the occasional sighting of alligators cruising by.

David was a devoted husband, father, brother, uncle, brother-in-law, friend, sailor, psychologist and one of the best listeners who ever lived. His most memorable features were his deep understanding of the human experience, his wit, his style and his ability to talk meaningfully and deeply about any topic. He has been described by many as one of the most eloquent speakers, including in the pulpit at the First Universalist Parish in Chester, when called upon as a lay speaker and at various memorial services. During the time the church did not have a full-time minister, David offered compassionate counseling to those in need.

David earned a B.A. degree in psychology at the University of New Hampshire and M.A. and Ph.D degrees in clinical psychology at the University of Tennessee. He was awarded a post-doctorate fellowship at the Austin Riggs Center, Stockbridge, Mass., and later earned a Certificate in Psychoanalysis at the William Alanson White Institute in New York City. He successfully completed the work and examinations required for a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology.

Dr. Lord’s lengthy and wide-ranging professional career began as a supervising staff psychologist at South Carolina State Hospital. From there he spent two years as chief psychologist for the Bureau of Mental Health, U.S. Virgin Islands, providing care for residents on three islands. Returning to the Northeast, he was a postdoctoral fellow in Clinical Psychology at Austen Riggs Center in Stockbridge, Mass. He then went on to become associate director of the Counseling Service and Lecturer in Human Development at Columbia College at Columbia University in New York City. He later established a private practice of psychoanalysis, group and individual psychotherapy and marital therapy in New York City and Greenwich, Conn. During this time, Dr. Lord was also an attending psychologist at Payne Whitney Clinic and clinical assistant professor of Psychiatry, Cornell University Medical College, both in New York City, where he supervised in- and out-patient psychotherapy.

In 1998, David and Kathy embraced their vision for their future and moved to Vermont. Although this was intended to be his retirement, no sooner had he gotten his Vermont driver’s license, than he also got his license to practice psychology in Vermont and established a private practice in Chester. In 2005, he felt a calling to serve his country and veterans returning from the Middle East, and thus began a 10-year association with the VA Medical Center in White River Junction.

Because of his experience and expertise, he was often asked to work with patients who presented the most challenges. He helped start a psychotherapy group for men who had been sexually assaulted. In addition, he helped teach the next generation of psychologists in the internship program through his appointment to the faculty of the Dartmouth Medical School. David formed deep friendships during those years, including mentoring and ministering to the staff. He left an enduring legacy of gentle caring, wisdom and humor while at the VA.

David balanced his rigorous work life with his passion for sailing and the sea. He was a licensed U.S. Coast Guard captain and a skilled navigator, logging over 33,000 nautical miles by his 60th year. David was also a sailing instructor at the Old Greenwich Yacht Club in Connecticut, and it was there that he met the love of his life, Kathy. They would spend the next 44 years sharing a life together, sailing Long Island Sound to Maine, Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, Block Island, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean Sea, and traveling extensively to Europe. Falling in love with Switzerland, they enjoyed hiking and skiing.

Although he never quite retired, David still found time for another passion – fishing and camping. Chief among his favorite places was Green River Reservoir in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom where he relished both the primitive camping conditions and lack of access to cell phones. For 10 years, a small coterie dubbed the “Green River Boys” hauled their canoes and a week’s worth of provisions to Green River, where David served as provisioner, cook and peerless campfire raconteur. It didn’t matter whether he caught any fish – just being on the water, communing with nature and spending time in a boat gave him endless pleasure.

David was active in his Chester community, where he served on the board of the First Unitarian Parish and the Board of Trustees Whiting Library for six years. He was also active in the Chester Democrats and served as his wife’s chief cheerleader during her three terms in the Vermont legislature. He also served on the Ethics Committee of the Vermont Psychological Association.

David was born in Manchester, N.H., on Oct. 24, 1933, a son of Frederick J. Lord Sr. and Gladys Graves Lord, who predeceased him. He is also predeceased by two brothers, Lt. Col. Frederick J. Lord Jr. and Peter J. Lord.

He is survived by his wife Kathy Pellett; daughter Alison Lord (wife Louise Woodward) of Portland, Ore.; a brother Gary Lord (wife Betty) of Brookfield, Vt.; a sister Susan Gardner (husband Donald) of Punta Gorda, Fla..; sisters-in-law Genevieve Sheppard (husband Robert) of Woodacre, Calif.; Mary Ann Rodenberger (husband Andy Tirpok) of Clinton, N.J.; brother-in-law James Pellett (wife Bettylynn) of Winterville, N.C.; and many cousins, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews, all of whom adored him.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m.  1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023  at the First Universalist Parish, 211 North St. in the Stone Village of Chester. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Whiting Library, 117 Main St., Chester, VT 05143 or by clicking here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Filed Under: Obituaries

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.