September 10, 2023
REST IN PEACE
Christopher entered this life on June 10,1931 in Dublin, Ireland and left it on September 10, 2023 in Port Townsend, Washington. He traveled various paths in his 92-year Journey, touching the hearts, minds and souls of many who fondly remember his kindness, warmth and wisdom.
Born into a loving and lively family of seven children, Chris grew up in a household where friends, relatives and neighbors regularly dropped by to share tea, stories and laughter. His parents instilled the children with a strong work ethic and an enduring pride in their Irish heritage. Like many others in the aftermath of WWII, he left formal schooling at age 14 to help support his family.
Although he learned and grew through his various employments in Ireland, Chris felt called to do something more with his life and entered the seminary to become a Catholic priest. He was ordained in 1960 and assigned to the Diocese of Yakima where he served for fifteen years until he again felt the call to take a different path.
Moving to Seattle, he served as Executive Director of Big Brothers of King County and then became the Grief Counselor for the Seattle Fishermen's Memorial Committee, helping guide families through the very difficult time when a loved one is suddenly lost at sea. Chris also partnered with other former priests in a wedding ministry and officiated at many marriages, adding a beautiful spiritual dimension to secular ceremonies.
Upon seeing an ad in a Seattle newspaper for volunteers interested in forming a hospice program, he immediately responded and became a founding Board member of what is now Providence Hospice of Seattle. He served on the Board for many years, very proud of how the organization grew and provided compassionate end-of-life care to thousands of patients and their families.
One pathway that remained unchanged for 47 years was his marriage to his wife, Susan. Together they forged a strong, loving bond based on mutual respect and appreciation for each other's individuality. Friends and family were always welcome, travels were many and varied, and each day together was a blessing. They lived in the Seattle area for many years and then moved to Port Townsend to enjoy retirement on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. In his later years, Chris developed Alzheimer's and although it made the Journey very challenging, it didn't defeat him. With the support of Jefferson Healthcare Hospice staff, compassionate caregivers, family and friends, he died peacefully in his own bed, surrounded by love - a fitting end to a life well-lived.
In addition to his wife, Susan Blake, Chris is survived by one sibling, Sister Ellen Breen, as well as many extended family members in Ireland, Scotland, England, France and the United States.
Suggested charities for memorial gifts include:
Hospice Foundation for Jefferson Healthcare