July 23, 1955 – September 5, 2019
An Open Letter from the Family
Beloved Husband, Father, Brother and Uncle, Christopher Milton Christian, went to sleep on September 5th and woke up in Heaven.
His life was full of adventures in traveling, great wine, arts, culture, music, the hotel/hospitality industry, food, business and basketball.
To know him was to love him - even if you didn’t know it in the beginning. Any advice on life and business was given to you straight up and from the heart.
Early in life, Chris became passionate about hospitality in the hotel industry. He opened a hotel with his best friend in Dallas, worked in hotels in Austin, managed Banquet & Food Services in Baltimore and worked at a tower club in Seattle.
In Seattle he also joined a successful catering business and went on to provide service to many events including weddings. His partner said of him, “Chris did everything but walk the bride down the aisle!”
Throughout all he had going on in business, he always made time for what was closest to his heart - his family.
His daughter Penelope’s fondest memories include fishing, brunch with the Easter Bunny and butterfly kisses before bedtime. She said, “No matter what age I was, I could always show up on my Daddy’s doorstep and be home.”
His son Colton recalls his Dad being at every sporting event he had, teaching him how to fish, play golf and meeting Tiger Woods at the PGA tour with him. Colton says, “I couldn’t have asked for a better father, mentor, and best friend that I knew would always be by my side for me no matter what.”
While enjoying his career at McDonald’s, Chris met the love of his life, Guadalupe (Lupe) Morales. Lupe said in the past, “I would never date a co-worker or anyone older than me.” Breaking all the rules, Chris and Lupe went on to date before he proposed in 2011. “Chris taught me how to love on a deeper level, like I never have before.”
At the time, Chris and Lupe were living in two different cities and decided one of them would leave McDonald’s. Chris volunteered because to him, Lupe was still a young, bright rising star that could go far in her career. Chris retired from the corporate world and moved back to Dallas to be with his sweetheart.
Over the course of the years, Chris and Lupe traveled all over the world. London, Dubai, Mexico and South Africa to name a few. From an African Safari to the ruins in Tulum, Mexico, Lupe and Chris were “JustUs” in love and adventure.
Retirement was just the beginning of something new for Chris Christian. Taking his experience of being a basketball Dad and his passion for giving back, his purpose was born.
Through connections, Chris had heard about a guy in Seattle who had some basketball teams looking for a partner. Chris flew out to meet with him and loved the idea. He went on to create Excel Sports Academy.
“Excel at Sports. Excel at Academics. Excel at Life.”
After that, Chris spent all his time building this academy for young kids to learn about sports, life and being successful. Chris eventually moved out to Seattle and Lupe soon followed.
Chris and Lupe worked tirelessly at the former Tacoma facility, building an environment for kids to thrive. Chris would spend hours meeting with parents discussing how their kids could be successful in not just basketball but throughout their life. His heart stretched out to each and every kid and parent that he worked with and he wanted to make a real change in their life. He was often labeled as a second father, mentor and coach to many.
Whether he was meeting young people around and asking about their grades, meeting young professionals for coffee to share business tips, or meeting with coaches to discuss life, Chris gave his all to Excel. He truly found his purpose and lived it everyday.
A few funny bits about the incomparable Chris Christian:
• He loved shoes! • He was extremely fashionably late at times. Friends and Family alike often told him an earlier time to get him to events timely. • He had an infectious laugh. That deep laugh could be heard anywhere and it always made you smile. • He never met a stranger. A friend of his said, “You could never know if Chris knew a person for 10 years or 10 minutes. He loved to talk to people.” • Some of his favorite foods were oxtail soup and ice cream - you could probably win him over with either.
We honor and celebrate the life of our Chris Christian. He is survived by his beautiful wife Lupe, his daughter Penelope, his son Colton, his sister Reather, his nieces Rian and Nicole and his nephew Michael.
He didn’t just survive life, he LIVED life with us and with all of you.
We miss him deeply and will always long for his presence in our new experiences and phases in life. We wanted more time, but the time we had was FULL. ❤️ He is now watching from above with that smile and twinkle in his eye celebrating with us.
We love you Daddy, Sweetheart, Big Brother and Uncle Chris....Goodbye, until we meet again. ❤️
- Visitation and Viewing Wednesday, September 11, 2019
- Funeral Mass Thursday, September 12, 2019
- Graveside Service Thursday, September 12, 2019
September 15, 2019
I met Chris through coaching his son, Colton, at ODEA.
I recall the first time we met. It was at an old outdoor court in Wedgwood that no longer exists that I used to train ODEA kids. Chris had brought Colton up to introduce us because he was leaving Seattle Prep that summer to come play at ODEA in the summer of 2006.
Well, like everyone knows, the moment you met Chris it was like you inherited a new brother. We HIT IT OFF IMMEDIATELY. All through Colton's sophomore season, which culminated with a state title, Chris and I talked every time he entered the gym.
He was so kind to me, that is my lasting memory. His gentleness, his laugh, his wisdom always inspired me to be a better person.
Years later, Chris phoned me all excited about his new project in Tacoma. He drove up and gave me a ride from Seattle to TacTown. I hadn't seen him in years but he couldn't have been warmer; we picked up right were we left in 2007 = enjoying one another's company over the next 6 hours.
I was so saddened to learn Chris had passed.
When his mold was cast, it has yet to be duplicated in my experience.
All my love to his family and close friends,
Coach K, Gregg Kalina
September 14, 2019
Chris was a pleasure to work with and such a gentleman. He thought of others and would send me Happy Mother's Day texts and Holiday Wishes. Sending his family thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We are so sorry for your loss.
September 12, 2019
Thank you Chris for all the talks while I was a part of Excel. I appreciate you never passed on an opportunity to give me some knowledge. I know I was in 7th grade and maybe didn’t understand the message at the time. But now that I’m a junior In high school, I do.. RIP and thank you again for all you did for all of us at Excel...
Trent & Sheila Turner
September 12, 2019
Thank you Chris... your Legacy lives on in the hearts of each athlete you touched..
Jaelyn will always remember her time at Excel..
Joe and Michelle Dinelt
September 12, 2019
We were always impressed by Chris' desire and dedication to create a club where kids could work on their sport and also on their studies. He gave countless hours of himself. He gave financially. He really had a big heart for the kids. He always had a cheerful smile on his face. He talked proudly of his family. We are so sorry for the pain and loss that his family is feeling at this difficult time. Our hearts hurt for you. For now...we can just think that he is no longer in pain or illness. We will cherish our son's EXCEL uniforms. We will remember all of the tournaments that he attended. We hope that his family knows how much he was appreciated. Our family is wishing Chris' family peace and healing during this difficult time. May your memories give you peace and comfort.
Very Sincerely, Joe, Michelle and Bradley Dinelt
September 11, 2019
Our family met Chris at the grand opening of Excel, when our son, Nicholas, was about to turn nine. Most of our shared memories revolve around Chris showing sincere and deep care and concern for all the young people in his program. He was at nearly every game, cheering on the team, remaining positive and encouraging no matter what. Even when our son decided to play for a different team Chris kept in touch and remain completely supportive and loving towards him. The personal memory I'd like to share though is when Chris and I met to discuss his vision for a youth academy. He had so many amazing ideas and his passion for education and meeting the needs of at-risk youth was truly inspiring. Simply talking with him was a pleasure--I admired and liked him very much. He made the world a better place, and never wavered in his commitment to his family, his work, and the kids and teens he mentored. Chris will be greatly missed.
September 10, 2019
I met Chris through youth basketball years ago and my son ended up playing for Excel. I enjoyed getting to know him over the years ... he shared stories of his career, meeting Lupe, and he was so proud of his children. He did so much for the kids in his basketball program. Truly a genuine human being and truly a big loss for all. My thoughts and prayers are with the whole family. My heart goes out to you, Lupe.
Linh Bashaw (Cole's mom)