Christopher Courtney Gates, M.D.

  • Born: June 7, 1933
  • Died: January 30, 2021
  • Location: Concord, Massachusetts

Concord Funeral Home

Director - Glenn D. Burlamachi, CFSP
74 Belknap St.
Concord, MA 01742
Tel. (978) 369-3388

Tribute & Message From The Family

Christopher Courtney Gates, M.D., (Chris), of Concord, Massachusetts, died on Saturday, January 30, 2021, at Mass General Brigham in Boston, Massachusetts. He was 87.

Son of the late Frances Crozier and Percival Taylor Gates, he was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on June 7, 1933. The youngest of three boys, he passed his childhood with his brothers Gregory (Greg) and Percival (Val) Gates tinkering with engines, lighting firecrackers, shooting B.B. guns, and sailing off Vinalhaven island in Maine, where the family spent their summers.

In his teens, he moved to Suffield, Connecticut. He attended The Loomis School (now Loomis Chaffee School) in Windsor, Connecticut, graduating in 1951, and did a post-graduate year at Harrow School in Harrow, London, England. At Harrow it thrilled him to meet Old Harrovian Sir Winston Churchill and to set the school distance record for throwing a cricket ball. On breaks between terms, he toured Europe with friends in a dilapidated van. Later, he would fondly recall camping misadventures, climbing through a youth hostel window after breaking curfew, and overindulging at a Danish smorgasbord.

From 1952 to 1956 he attended Yale University, graduating with a B.A. in History of the Arts and Letters. At Yale he rowed lightweight crew and joined the Elihu senior society. Appointed a Scholar of the House his senior year, he wrote a paper on Victorian art critic John Ruskin.

After graduation, he returned to Loomis to teach English before joining the U.S. Navy in 1957. He attained the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade in his role as operations officer on the destroyer tender U.S.S. Bryce Canyon. His vivid memories of a tour of the Pacific include Subic Bay in the Philippines teeming with life, the challenge of persuading his crew back on board after a raucous night of shore leave, and islanders gathering at a seawall in Okinawa for a fireworks display commemorating the bombing of Hiroshima.

It was during this period of his life that he wrestled over which path to follow in terms of a profession. Steeped in the humanities, he also believed in science and the power of faith, and was thinking about a career in the ministry. Instead, he opted for psychiatry. After the Navy, he took a job at Yale as a freshman counselor and started a college-prep tutoring business; at the same time, he took classes that qualified him to apply to medical school.

In 1961 he enrolled in the Yale School of Medicine, where, in the midst of his studies, he met Smith College alumna Helen Hardcastle. They married in 1963 and moved to Ohio in 1965, where he interned at University Hospitals in Cleveland. In 1966 the couple moved to Brookline, Massachusetts for him to do his residency in psychiatry at Boston's Massachusetts Mental Health Center. The hospital appointed him Chief Resident in 1968 - a proud moment that resulted in his mentoring a group of psychiatrists with whom he remained friends for the rest of his life.

A fellowship in child psychiatry followed before he embarked on his true life's work in 1971: private practice. He treated patients in his home office for more than 45 years, healing many and providing comfort and reassurance as they grappled with their illnesses. He retired in 2018 at age 85. At the start of his career in private practice, Dr. Francis D. Moore, surgeon in chief at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital (now Mass General Brigham), hired him to study the psychological trauma suffered by breast cancer survivors. Dr. Gates produced a number of papers on the subject, as well as on the psychic damage of cancer in general, and joined the staff of several city hospitals.

He lived in Brookline for over 50 years before moving to Concord, Massachusetts. He stayed active in the church, serving on the Vestry of Trinity Church, Boston and performing psychiatric evaluations of candidates for ministry for Episcopal Dioceses in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. He enjoyed a membership in the Thursday Club men's group and served on the board of Brookline's High Street Hill Association. A lover of tools and hardware stores, he would putter endlessly in his home workshop or his boathouse in Maine devising improvements to make life easier. He lined the walkway to his home office with special planks to keep his patients from slipping on icy days. He designed, built, and patented a marine outhaul system that enables picnickers to moor their boats offshore and haul them in or out using pulleys.

He exuded geniality; few were immune to his charm. In 1960, E. Moore, the captain of the U.S.S. Bryce Canyon, wrote that Christopher Gates was "above all, a gentleman." A gentle man, and a kind one who touched people's hearts. He will be missed.

Dr. Gates is predeceased by his wife, Helen Gates, and his brothers Gregory Gates and Percival Gates. He is survived by his children Sarah Gates, M.D., John Gates, and Holly Russell, his grandchildren Rebecca, Chris, and Francisca Feist, Jack and Grace Gates, and Liam, Aram, and Maggie Russell, his daughter-in-law Jennifer Gates, his sons-in-law Frank Feist and William Russell, three beloved nieces, and one beloved nephew.

A small funeral for immediate family members will be held on Friday, February 26, at 2:00 p.m. at the Church of the Redeemer in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The service is virtually accessible via livestream through YouTube and the church Facebook page. This summer his family will bury him in a plot in Vinalhaven overlooking the Fox Island Thoroughfare. A memorial service is planned for the future at Trinity Church, Boston.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to one of the following organizations that enjoyed Dr. Gates's enthusiastic support: Partners in Island Education:, Islands Community Medical Services, Inc.:, Waterman's Community Center,


Condolence & Memory Journal

So sorry to see this. Dr. Gates was a great friend for over 15 years. I will miss him dearly. One of the finest men I ever knew.

Posted by Brian O'Connor    August 11, 2021

Chris was a wonderful friend and doctor.
He’ll be greatly missed.

Posted by David Brown - Friend   February 26, 2021

Chris was a fine gentleman, caring and supportive physician and highly valued colleague. He is fondly remembered by those of us who were honored to know him at the Brigham and elsewhere in Boston.

Posted by Robert Schlauch - Needham, MA - Coworker   February 22, 2021


Cousin Chris was just that. My cousin, my siblings cousin, my father's first cousin, everyone's cousin! He was always there for us all, both in fact and at the other end of the phone with a helping emotional hand. He defined whatever we thought "being a cousin" meant... and for me that started earlier in life than I can remember. Pyrotechnics at Yonder Hill, water events, outboards, more firecrackers, friendships across time and geography which nudged me to participate in our many communities both in Penobscot Bay and on birth turf. The penultimate "cousin" who was just old enough to look up to yet close enough for some
real bonding. Quite likely, the latter is what carries me forward. And I do mean carry. Throughout the years quietly, deliberately, and with seeming effortlessness he carried the glue pot that keeps families together. For this extended bonding I am most grateful. It is the subconscious nudge that he shares with me daily
by filling my memory of what it means to be "cousin Chris."

Posted by Perry Gates - Camden, ME - Family   February 21, 2021

Sending my thoughts & prayers to the Gates family. Dr. Gates was a pleasure to work for and will miss the friendship we developed over the years. I will miss talking to him and checking in to see how he is doing. May he rest in peace.

Posted by Maria Fidler - Taunton, MA - Coworker   February 09, 2021

I wanted to write for myself and all my family in appreciation of Dr Gates and his life

My own experience with Dr Gates was that he hired me to work on a breast cancer and double bind project for the summer while I was also applying to medical schools. He had created a lovely group of collaborators and researchers, and I learned a lot from him about research, working well, how to explore a new area, and his own passion for research and teaching. Over the years after that summer, when I saw him, he would always ask after my life, career and was so kind. I really thank him for being one of the important influences on my own subsequent medical research career.

My father, Dr T Corwin Fleming, also remembers Dr Gates as a colleague with great fondness – they interacted and collaborated clinically for many years

All our sympathy and best wishes
Lora Fleming and the Fleming Family

Posted by The Fleming Family - Coworker   February 09, 2021

Chris Gates was a gentleman in all senses of the word. His kindness, thoughtfulness and steady good cheer will be missed by all of us who worked with him at the Brigham and in the greater Longwood Medical Area.

Posted by Jonathan Borus, M.D. - Newton, MA - Coworker   February 07, 2021

Soon after Chris and I became acquainted, he shared with me an essay he had written for his grandchildren. It was a thoughtful explanation of how to think about God. I could see that it was written by an intelligent and charming man whom I would want to have as a friend. Since then, we had started to meet for a talk every week. As he left, he would say, “We have so much to talk about, let’s meet again next week.” That opportunity is sadly lost, to me and I’m sure to many others who came to know him. His memory will remain a precious gift.

Posted by Will Edgerly    February 07, 2021

Cousin Chris! I loved him and will miss him. He was a dear family friend who welcomed me into the Gates gaggle, and with stories, created a connection to many who passed before I joined. As the glue he kept family connected, a social media hub in his own way. I loved his Camden sleepovers with Perry and me as they fit into his plans to catch the early ferry. Visits to Yonder Hill were an exclamation mark of every summer. His relentless energy around Tempmoor was impressive. I treasure the memory of our lunch on the porch last fall, afraid it might be our last and wishing it not to be so. You hold a very deep and dear place in my heart, Chris. Please be at peace.

Posted by Deborah Meehan - Camden, ME   February 07, 2021

Dr. Gates was a constant wisdom in our lives since 1975. He guided us through very serious illnesses. We last saw him in 2018. God smile on his goodness! God bless his family!

Posted by Gerrie and Jim Milgroom - Weymouth, MA - Friend   February 07, 2021


He is now resting in peace

Posted by Lorraine Butler - Derry, NH - Acquaintance   February 06, 2021

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