Adventurous, strong, funny, protective, stubborn
Chris was an adventurous kid with a thirst for adrenaline. He was headstrong and confident, the type of kid who could always be found outside. He loved swimming and riding four-wheelers and his bike. Every year he looked forward to his family’s trip to six flags and was extremely into the rollercoasters. He was a loving and outgoing person, and he adored his two younger sisters, Amanda and Kayla, and was very protective of them. He also spent a lot of time with his Grandma Jean, who he called Mum-mum.
Chris had a soft spot for all creatures and was always catching bugs and releasing them outside. Reptiles especially fascinated Chris, and he had many exotic pets like tarantulas and snakes growing up. His mother laughingly recalls a story, “One day when Chris was around ten, he was out in the woods with his friends, and he came home with a garter snake that kept biting him. He insisted we keep it as a pet.” Well into his life Chris played strategy games that challenged his creativity, like World of WarCraft. As he grew older, he discovered a passion for cooking, especially grilling.
When Chris was 17, he enlisted in the army after 911 because he felt beholden to his country. He was an active adult who loved going to the gym and would walk there every day. He cared about his appearance and had a lot of tattoos and piercings. He was very handy and could fix just about anything he set his mind to. Chris was a simple guy who just wanted a happy life. His goal for the future was to find a partner and start building a family of his own.
His mother Stephanie says that Chris’s disease changed him. He became angry and was more isolated and less outgoing and personable. “The hardest part of watching Chris struggle with addiction was watching him lose himself to the disease. I knew he didn’t want to live that way and always tried to help him, but could never find a rehab that could take him. I just want the world to know that his family misses him and would give anything to have him around,” says Stephanie. She knows now that addiction is not a choice, but a disease, and she wants to spread awareness to help stop this epidemic.
Chris’s family keeps his memory alive. Stephanie says, “Chris was a diehard Steelers fan and always wanted to go to a game. After he passed, in 2015, we brought his ashes in the room with us to watch the Steelers in the playoffs and they lost. Immediately after, the lights in the room turned off, and we knew it was Chris.” His family always brings his ern to the table on Thanksgiving and serves him his favorite, green bean casserole. They also still celebrate his birthday with cake every year.
Christopher’s mother, Stephanie McClain, provided information for this narrative.
March 24, 1986 – April 23, 2015-Age 29
Portrait Artist: Jeremy Hebbel
Narrative Writer: Victoria Estes