Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christopher Coleman McCall

Christopher Coleman McCall passed from this life on Saturday morning, Nov. 17, 2012,  surrounded by his beloved sister and brothers, after a seizure caused a fall and severe head trauma.

Chris was born on May 3, 1947, in Bryn Mawr, Pa., to Martha Coleman McCall and J. Benton McCall. Chris was born with Down syndrome. Chris’ parents made a decision, uncommon in the late 1940s, to raise their first born at home rather than  institutionalizing him, as was the practice at that time. This choice led his parents on a lifelong journey to not only give their son the best education possible and access to the mainstream community, but to assist in providing those same resources for other children with developmental disabilities.

At the age of 7, Christopher began attending St. Coletta School, a boarding school in Hanover, Mass., now called Cardinal Cushing School, where children with developmental disabilities could learn, grow, thrive and achieve their individual success. Chris loved his school and the gentle nuns who guided him for 10 years. He also always loved flying to and from school for vacations, and for years his family heard the story about sitting next to the Everly Brothers on one of the flights. 

Music had a special place in Chris’ world and he assembled a large record collection: Ricky Nelson, the Beach Boys, John Denver, the Monkeys, the Rolling Stones, but it was the Beatles he adored for a lifetime. The Beatles, the New York Yankees and Dick Clark’s American Bandstand were his passions.

After many years living with his parents, working under the auspices of GARC (now Abilis) in Greenwich, Ct.,  Chris began trips to Idaho to visit his sister Kerrin, a longtime Ketchum resident. Years after his father’s passing and due to his mother’s declining health, Chris came to live in this welcoming community in 2001. He lived with Kerrin for two and a half years and then decided it would be more fun to live at Aspen Grove (now Safe Haven), an assisted living community in Bellevue where he was the life of the house for more than nine years and was cared for by much-loved Marie Humphries. Chris first worked at St. Thomas Church, and then in the produce department at Atkinsons’ Market in Ketchum under the kind guidance of Carl Charron for nearly 10 years. 

Chris and his family are grateful for a community that allowed him to reach his potential, have unexpected freedom and to be supported by so many community resources. Senior Connection, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, Sagebrush (now Swiftsure) Riding Arena and Mountain Rides were central to his rich life here in the Wood River Valley.

Christopher is survived by a deeply loved family, as his family was the most important part of his life (even more so than The Beatles). Kerrin McCall of Ketchum, Kevin McCall and wife Louisa of Cambridge, Mass., Josh McCall and wife Alex of Dedham, Mass., nephew Ethan and five nieces—Kinnon, Carly, Morgan, Nekele and Hayden—all love Chris so much for his incredibly warm heart, his constant happiness and his unique way of making everyone feel special. We are blessed with his pure love and gentle manner, which will forever be a living, breathing presence in all those whose lives he touched.

A celebration of Chris’ life will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. at Light on the Mountains Spiritual Center. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Chris’ name to the Senior Connection. 

“All You Need is Love,” the McCall Family.

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