Obituary of Christopher James Williams
Chris Williams of Charleston, South Carolina passed away from stage 4 colon cancer on February 5th, 2023. He was 41 years old. Chris was a devoted husband, father, son and friend to many. He was a sweet, kind man with a big heart, keen sense of humor and joyful spirit.
Christopher James was born in Vancouver, Canada to loving parents Ron and Ingrid Williams. Returning home to Seattle, the family spent Chris’ earliest years in the company of family and wonderful friends. Chris was excited about welcoming his younger sisters, Kiersten and Megan, during this time. His love of the outdoors was established during the family’s many adventures in the Pacific Northwest. Throughout his life, Chris would feel especially at home in the mountains, on a hike along a river, finding sweet spots in the wild.
Chris’ elementary school days were primarily spent in Trophy Club, TX. He described his childhood there as being straight out of The Sandlot - long days with friends from the neighborhood, playing games, roller blading, and getting into a scrape here and there. As a youngster he was an academic all-star and an outstanding athlete. He garnered recognition and many awards in baseball, basketball, and his real passion, soccer. Chris would go on to play soccer at the collegiate level and tour Southeast Asia with Athletes in Action.
Throughout his life Chris was a natural but reluctant leader. He would always rise to the occasion and was capable by strength of will and gift of personality to lift others by example. Friends recall, Chris had an “unwavering sense of righteousness… he had the courage to do the right thing even if it was unpopular or, at times, dangerous.” As a teammate, coworker or friend Chris was loyal and was always willing to sacrifice for others.
Chris was easy to be around and have a great time with. He had a disarming smile and genuine interest in connecting with people on a personal level. He’d constantly say, “I don’t need my phone because I am with the exact people that need to get a hold of me.” He had a quick wit, a mischievous bent, and an adventurous spirit that wreaked a fair amount of havoc in his youth but were a part of the delight of knowing him. At all stages of his life, he loved carousing with friends. He took real pleasure in an eclectic variety of music - from 90s boy bands to The Flaming Lips and Lyle Lovett.
His professional life was hallmarked by his interest in people and the relationships he built. His years in insurance loss took him all over the place, to cities and towns not known for being a destination, and he always came home with a story about someone he connected with at a bar or a funny anecdote about the job.
While in Charleston, Chris was engaged in deeply satisfying work in industrial engineering with Boeing’s Dreamliner operations. He loved being a part of the build process, contributing to something bigger than himself, and cherished the relationships he made while at Boeing. Chris was a team player and the guy who every teacher, coach, and boss was thankful to have. His coworkers knew how special he was and would describe him as unwaveringly positive and optimistic amidst the chaos. Even through diagnosis, many had no idea how sick Chris really was because he continued to pour into his coworkers, lead his team and encourage others during their struggles.
Chris had an ease in finding fun and laughter in the less-than-perfect; the plans gone awry; the mess of life. In Katie and Chris’ life together, this was one of their shared strengths. They were all about the treasures found along the journey, not necessarily the destination. Their many adventures - from an ill-fated trip to Mt. Hood, to getting lost hiking, to a family heritage trip across the Atlantic, and doing life in between - were characterized by the strength of their love, their joy for one another, and their sense of humor. Through the ups and downs of life and being true adults, they often said, “there’s no one else I’d rather be in this mess with!”
Best friends since they were 16, Chris and Katie didn’t get together until their mid-twenties. They had a close bond that made them feel like they had a love story like no other, almost like one out of a movie. After getting married in 2007, they moved to Snoqualmie, Washington to be closer to the many possibilities that the mountains had to offer. Moving across the country in 2016, from Washington to South Carolina, was their greatest adventure since parenthood. They jumped in with both feet, exploring all the Lowcountry had to offer and immersing their family in the culture of the south.
As a father, Chris delighted in each of his children’s individuality and unique interests, while fostering a sense of family and togetherness. They carried the team concept all the way, often moving through life as a unit and lifting each other up. Chris’ quirkiness, sense of humor and affinity for eclectic music lives on in his children. He would often say, “you’re so lucky your parents are so funny!” usually when making a ridiculous joke or singing loudly to embarrass them. When Henrik asked Chris his favorite job he’s ever had, it was being a dad. “The most difficult but the most rewarding,” he said. Chris felt so privileged to see his children grow and become avid soccer players, artists, jokesters, thinkers, readers and, most notably, have that same sense of justice Chris sought. He would often sit back and reflect on how proud he was of each of them. He relished the little successes they had and cherished the many drawings, cards, words of encouragement and most of all hugs they gave during his fight. They were his everything.
True to Chris’ character, when faced with his diagnosis in March 2020, he put others before himself. Instead of crumbling or being grief stricken, he comforted Katie and assured her that they’d figure it out. Through the many difficulties the next 3 years would bring, the couple found countless blessings that wouldn’t have been possible if not for Chris’ diagnosis or the pandemic. They were so thankful for the time God gave them together and how the hardships they faced strengthened their bond.
Chris’ cancer and treatment did not define him. He never lost his positive spirit and sense of humor. When asked how the family was doing, Chris and Katie would often respond, “if you looked in our windows, you would see joy and laughter and life being lived. You would never know from the street that this family is dealing with cancer.” It was Chris’ wish that the kid’s lives kept moving forward, he wanted them to go to every game and have every opportunity, despite his grueling treatment schedule. His children flourished and witnessed an incredible example of how to live because of Chris’ positive attitude and refusal to let cancer win and consume his life.
Chris is survived by his wife, partner, and coconspirator Katie, his deeply loved children Henrik, Jayne, and Nolan, his parents Ron and Ingrid, his sisters Kiersten and Megan and a wonderful extended family that he loved and who loved him deeply. His warmth and positivity touched so many and will continue to lift the spirits of his family and friends.
A celebration of life will be held on March 4th in Charleston from 11:00am-1:00pm and in mid-summer in Seattle (date forthcoming).
In lieu of flowers, you can honor Chris by getting a colonoscopy. He was only 38 at diagnosis with no real symptoms, family history or other alarm bells.To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Christopher Williams, please visit our Tree Store