Chris J. Bednar

June 12, 1962April 26, 2021

Christopher (Chris) Jonathan Bednar passed away peacefully at home on Monday, April 26, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer. Though he is gone too soon, his legacy will live on through the many lives he impacted.

Chris was born on June 12, 1962 in Cicero, Illinois, the middle of three sons. He grew up in Palo Alto, California and enjoyed sports, especially Little League baseball. Chris excelled scholastically and even skipped first grade. He graduated from Cubberley High School in 1979. Chris then attended Santa Clara University, where he met his future wife, Karen, during his junior year. He held a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and also received the Elijah Watt Sells Award for outstanding performance on the CPA Exam.

Just after graduation, Chris and Karen, along with Karen's brother Mark, embarked on a two-month cross-country road trip and saw many of the most famous places in the United States. Chris began working for Big Eight accounting firm Ernst & Whinney, the first of many accounting and finance positions he would hold throughout his impressive career. Chris and Karen married on July 12, 1986 and bought their first home in San Jose, California. They welcomed daughters Rachel Anne Bednar in 1990 and Kristen Marie Bednar in 1994. The family moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1999 and experienced their first ever "snow days".

Chris enjoyed cooking, traveling, and cheering on the San Francisco Giants and 49ers. He was so happy to witness the Giants' World Series Championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014. He loved attending live theatre with his family and saw at least 50 different Broadway musical productions throughout his life. The family enjoyed trips together to Disneyland, New York City, Disney World, Hawaii, and more, as well as hiking in beautiful places such as Lake Tahoe and Rocky Mountain National Park. In 2017, Chris danced with Rachel at her wedding to Stephen Knauff. He continued to work, for the mental challenge and sense of normalcy, into his final week of life.

Chris is survived by his wife, Karen; his daughters, Rachel and Kristen; his son-in-law, Stephen; his mother, Rosemarie Bednar; as well as his eldest brother, Steven Bednar. He was predeceased by his father, Ronald Bednar, and younger brother, Thomas Bednar.

Please reach out to the family directly at for details on the memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a tribute donation to Care & Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, one of Chris' favorite nonprofit organizations. Kindly reference Chris J. Bednar and in the donation, so the family may be notified of your generosity.


  • Karen Bednar, Wife
  • Rachel Knauff, Daughter
  • Kristen Bednar, Daughter
  • Stephen Knauff, Son-in-law
  • Rosemarie Bednar, Mother
  • Ronald Bednar, Father (deceased)
  • Steven Bednar, Brother
  • Thomas Bednar, Brother (deceased)


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Chris J. Bednar

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Thomas Eich

May 8, 2021

RIP Chris Bednar ❤️. We went to Cubberley and then Santa Clara together, where I got to know him better. Always quiet, but engaged in everything, and always kind to, and liked by all. Gone too soon! My deepest condolences to Karen and his daughters.

Robert Stephens

May 7, 2021

Although I did not know Chris as well as some of the others here, he was nevertheless an important part of my extended Cubberley and Santa Clara University "families". I remember him being exceptionally smart, with a quiet confidence in himself but without any trace of arrogance. He was always kind, helpful and giving and I rarely saw him without his gentle, contented smile. I am glad I knew him, and saddened by his passing. My condolences to his family, and to everyone who was fortunate enough to call him "friend".

Matthew Lefkowitz

May 6, 2021

The Cubberley High School Class of 1979 sends its class condolences to Chris Bednar's family and friends on this sad occasion. He was one of us and a friend to all in the class who knew him.

As for me, I have many fond memories of Chris. Chris was a close friend throughout high school and beyond.

Most remarkable memory of Chris was his desire, at fifteen or sixteen, to pursue a specific career -- public accounting. At that age I did not know what an accountant was let alone what I wanted to do when I grew up, but Chris knew and he did it. He studied accounting in college, joined a Big Eight firm, got his CPA and did it, happily, the rest of his too brief life. Most of us kick around before finding our life's work. Not Chris. Extraordinary self-knowledge and foresight.

Other fond memories are of Giants games, studying the Chronicle Sporting Green daily at the school library, driveway two-on-two basketball games (with brother Steve and Jim DiGenova), baseball in the park by Ortega Elementary School, marvelous debates about the relative merits of long forgotten athletes, ethnic and religious insults and our team triumph at the Millard Fillmore trivia contest, junior year, at Cubberley.

Such a pity when a good man dies too early. My heartfelt condolences to Chris' family and fiends.

Laurie Girand

May 5, 2021

My earliest memory of Chris was when the Palo Alto Unified School District got religion just as we entered “Junior High School” in the seventh grade and (finally) allowed girls to take shop and boys to take Home Ec. As I remember, Chris was a pioneer, one of the first, if not the only boy to take cooking, which he enjoyed. This meant he was regularly assigned to bring his delicious miniature cheesecakes to any class parties.

For six years, I had many classes with him. We were in the geeky kids clique, and he was our go-to guy for anything sports trivia. We collaborated on multiple Trivia Bowls, and no Millard Fillmore Scavenger Hunt would be complete without him. I’m pretty sure his family was kind enough to let us establish an overnight headquarters one weekend when all we did was call people long distance at all hours of the day and night to research obscure topics regarding non-sports questions. Chris was the quiet straight man, waiting for his cue to crack just the right joke because he was just that clever.

Chris gave a reading at our Baccalaureate from the pulpit of the Stanford Chapel, where I believe he recited Kipling’s, “If,” which describes the qualities of a man— of importance as we embarked on adulthood. After high school, we were less in touch, in part because there was no social media; everything was still written, or more often not written or expensive long distance phone calls. I remember meeting up with him as he was getting ready to graduate. He was all set to marry Karen, as if this had been his plan all along, just as becoming a CPA seemed like a plan all along. In retrospect, it seems he was simply getting to the best parts of life earlier than everyone else, likely because he was smarter than everyone else.

I will miss his steadfastness, his warmth, and his tremendous sense of humor. Chris pursued what he loved, and who he loved, with passion, and it seems we should all take a page from his playbook.

Bill & Terri Reynolds

May 4, 2021

We have many fond memories of golfing and game nights with the Bednar family when our families were much younger. Chris was an amazing competitor! I remember one game night we were so close to finally beating Karen and Chris at Trivia Pursuit. They had a final question in the challenging Arts & Literature category that we thought for sure stumped them, and then from out of nowhere Chris answered "Pygmalion". Ugghh! Of course that was correct and the Bednar's went on to win the game....again LOL! Unfortunately time and distance separated us, but we always enjoyed the visits of the Bednar family when they were in town. Love you Chris and RIP. Bill & Terri

Mary Meredith

May 4, 2021

I was very sad to hear about your family's loss. I had the pleasure of working with Chris at Spectranetics where Chris' kindness and wonderful sense of humor was very much appreciated. I hope your family takes comfort in your memories of Chris. You all have my sincere condolences.


Mary Meredith

Phil Rich

May 3, 2021

I met Chris freshman year at Santa Clara U. He was a floor mate and in my orientation group. Chris always had a sparkle in his eye and that signature grin. I remember Chris tutoring classmates in Calculus, they were practically lined up down the hall. Chris was good at sports and an all around great guy. The picture is the 7th floor Swig group shot, Chris is the one with the bunny ears. Haha. I'm pretty sure I watched the 1981 Super Bowl (the Niners first!) and we jumped around on Ross Rd after the win! I will always remember Chris as a great guy and good friend. RIP.