Christopher (Chris) Brownlee Elder was born on Saturday March 27, 1976 to Debra Ann (Cain) and Bryan Douglas Elder at Owen Sound General and Marine Hospital. Chris was very fortunate to have the majority of his grandparents and great-grandparents present in his life from a young age. He was the first grandchild for many of them. At the age of four he welcomed a little sister, Marcia Jean and then later in life a brother, Adam Lloyd.
His first years were spent in Chatsworth where he later attended Holland Chatsworth Central School. In time, his parents went their separate ways and he and Marcy moved with their mother. Chris then became a student at Sydenham Central School before later moving to Bradford, Alcona Beach, Aurora and Barrie. He began high school at Dr. G.W. Williams Secondary School in Aurora. Chris decided to leave school early finding a number of places in which to dedicate his time and energy.
He spent time at Granny Tarts Factory, Bacon Basketware Ltd., a drycleaner, and ZieBart Tidy Car. In 1997, Chris and Marcy moved out on their own, sharing an apartment as Marcy was attending school and Chris working. Sadly, it was at this time whereby Chris was already beginning to struggle with alcohol abuse.
He soon moved back home with Debbie and began a new job with Irwin Steel. Here Chris learnt how to weld. In short order, Chris was promoted to Lead Hand and then Foreman, which he did for fifteen years. Unfortunately, his boss died, which meant he had to look for another job opportunity. Luckily for Chris carpentry was another area of expertise. Whether it was flooring, drywall, crown molding, or anything in between Chris was quick to make use of his talents. He was very talented in carpentry and welding. Many of his woodworking products were something he could be very proud of.
Chris enjoyed playing hockey and baseball as well as soccer. He had a heart of gold and was willing to do anything that was asked of him and would do an amazing job at whatever he began. Chris had a soft spot for children and animals. He loved them all especially his five nieces and nephews who he loved dearly. Chris also had a stray cat who he adopted and called “Kitty.” Kitty lived in their garage for quite some time and with some coaxing Chris finally got her to come out of hiding. She then had a special place in the house and was a wonderful pet.
Chris was a good cook and loved to prepare big meals, even for a crowd. He loved steak, corn on the cob and could cook a mean pot of chilli or anything he attempted. The family recalled a past Christmas whereby he and a cousin had a pie eating contest. It was a new recipe called Pumpkin Praline that was almost sickly sweet but very good. The winner was promised $5 and they both ate the better part of a pie until they appeared green and had to go to bed with a belly ache. Both boys were awarded five dollars in the end.
He had a love for anything John Deere, all country music, especially Kenny Chesney’s “American Kids”. He had a contagious belly laugh that was easily recognized as it seemed to originate all the way from his toes.
Sadly, Chris lived a life full of pain and suffering as he dealt with alcoholism for the past two decades. Thankfully life changed for Chris in September of 2017 when he realized that his life was worth living, without the need for alcohol. He sought treatment, and with the love and support of his new family at G & B House in Owen Sound, Chris just celebrated seven months of sobriety. His family and friends were all so proud of this amazing accomplishment, knowing it was no easy feat for Chris.
Just a couple weeks before his death, Chris had transitioned from the G & B House to his own apartment. He was close with his sponsor, also named Chris, and attended support meetings regularly. Chris had recently started back to work at Vokes Furniture Inc. in Owen Sound and was slowly working his way back into a new and regular way of life. Sadly, Chris’ past lifestyle caught up with his body and he suffered a fatal heart attack at home on Saturday, March 17, 2018. He would have celebrated his 42nd birthday next week, a man too young to die.
Cherished son of Debbie Smith of Newmarket. Loving brother of Marcy (Jeff) Kerr of Newmarket and Adam Smith of Toronto. Beloved uncle of Ethan, Avary, Kyle, Esme and Olive. Chris will be fondly remembered by his grandparents Doug and Evelyn Elder of Chatsworth, Aunt Penny (John) Crawford, cousins Darryl (Leanne) Hampton and LeeAnn Hampton (Chris Wells) and their families. Chris was predeceased by his stepfather Lloyd Smith and his grandparents Brownlee Cain and Lila McKay.
A Celebration of Chris’ life, including laughter, stories and food, will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, Chesley on Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 11 a.m. Inurnment in Hillcrest Cemetery, Tara.
Memorial donations to G & B House, Owen Sound would be appreciated. Chris’ family will be forever grateful for all the love, support and guidance he received during his time there.
Chris, we love you dearly and miss you already. God has gained another angel. Rest in peace.