Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Christine Ann DeCarufel

Christine Ann DeCarufel was born in Spokane as the granddaughter of the dean of the Episcopal Church. As a child she spent summers at Hayden Lake in northern Idaho and winters on Mt. Spokane. Chris started playing golf, swimming, water skiing and snow skiing all by the time she was between 3 and 4 years old.

All these athletic activities set the stage for pursuing a life outdoors and the freedom and joy this lifestyle brings. As a sister, Chris was a lot of fun and always willing to take on a new adventure. She also was an accomplished flutist, playing as the No. 1 chair for much of her high school musical career.

In addition to all these activities, she achieved very high grades both in high school and at college. By the time she was leaving high school and heading off to the University of Colorado at Boulder, she had been named to participate on the PNSA Junior National Ski Team, been named to participate in U.S. Ski Team training camps, been a star member of the Lewis and Clark High School golf team, been a member and officer of the Kappa Ki sorority at Lewis and Clark, been recognized for scholastic art and won a number of recital honors as a Lewis and Clark band member.

During four years of school at Boulder she became a certified ski instructor, was a member and officer of the Alpha Phi sorority and somehow figured out how to earn a degree in education when she wasn't partying. Following school and some international travel, she moved to Whitefish in the mid-1970s. After two years, she moved as the Montana weather was not to her liking, and took a trip to Sun Valley. She said she was going to see if she liked it. Sun Valley became the home she had been looking for all her life.

After about five years here, she and Bob DeCarufel were married, and not long after that, Allyson (1982) and Matt (1984) were born. She was diagnosed with MS in 1984. The amazing part of all this is that Chris was always so understated and soft-spoken about herself and her life.

All of this previous experience was the proving ground for the far greater challenge she was to face in her battle against MS. Chris was known throughout the Ketchum/Sun Valley community by all she met for her kindness, concern, love, joy, patience, strength, will and determination.

In 2005 after a stay at Blaine Manor and the Elks Rehabilitation Center, she decided to return to Sun Valley for the remainder of her life. Her motivation was for the benefit of other people and not for herself.

In spite of severe physical and mental damage, she continued making extremely profound decisions concerning her finances, managing her health-care workers and maintaining an independent lifestyle in spite of insurmountable circumstances. This was due to an inner strength and a mental capacity that far outstripped the brain and the physical body she had been given.

She was truly inspirational and a joy to encounter and know. Throughout her life she was a quiet, yet an incredibly profound individual. She was a wonderful sister. She was a talented athlete. She was a beautiful wife. She was a loving mother. She was a true friend. She was a teacher and inspiration to all. Her family would like to recognize the communities of the Wood River Valley for their loving and undying support, kindness, compassion, care and love for Chris.

She is survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Chuck Latimer and Sherry Tillery of Portland, Ore.; daughter, son-in-law and grandson, Allyson, Jeff and Noah Loomis of San Marcos, Calif.; son, Matt DeCarufel of Reno, Nev.; and cousins, Jude Woods, Jan Henson and Bob Penney of the Seattle area.

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