Dedicated to a loved Spirit who has walked along in our lives

Christopher E. Douglass

August 25, 1979 - May 31, 2008
Life Album Tales Memories Tributes GeoCache Press Small World Treks Contact
May 31, 2008

shortly after 10 a.m. near milepost 351 on U.S. 287, which is about a mile northwest of the intersection of U.S. 287 and Larimer County Road ...

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June 1, 2008
shortly after 10 a.m. near milepost 351 on U.S. 287, which is about a mile northwest of the intersection of U.S. 287 and Larimer County Road ...

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Off the Press

Monday, June 2, 2008

LISBON - Gathered around the kitchen table of their country home, memories flowed from their hearts while tears flowed from their eyes. But tears slowly gave way to chuckles and outright laughter with each new story about the beloved son, baby brother and best friend who inspired them all to set the bar higher than they ever thought possible - and then go just a little further.

Christopher Douglass died Saturday in a morning car accident outside Fort Collins, Colo., just a day before the free-spirited 28-year-old from Lisbon was scheduled to start his 2,500 mile journey on foot from Colorado to the top of Tumbledown Mountain in Weld, the last stop before heading to his folks' home in Lisbon. He was a passenger in a car that was hit head-on by a pickup truck on Colorado 287.

"He thrived when someone said, 'You shouldn't do that' or 'You can't do that,'" said long-time friend, neighbor and running partner Jean Abradi, recalling the way Douglass ran a marathon with very little training just to prove to himself he could do it.

His best friend, Glen Giasson, added: "But that's the kind of guy Chris was. He was always ready for something like that. He wasn't a go-around kind of guy. It was straight through or nothing."

His older sister, Bethany, talked with pride about how her baby brother was not only smart and outgoing, but always put others before himself and his needs. She pointed out how he never allowed himself to be tied down to any debt because he was so passionate about living life in the moment rather than for a paycheck.

Her voice wavered as she described one of her last phone conversations with him. She read him a fortune from a cookie she said should have been his: "Excellence is the absence of everything."

Douglass planned to chronicle his trip to Tumbledown on a blog, as he had done with previous adventures.

In one blog, he wrote: "The best I can figure is that we've been told too many times that adventure just isn't in the cards for everyday folk like you and I. It's reserved for the people we read about in books and magazines, or watch on TV and Indiana Jones movies, not mere mortals like us. Well I'm not buying it."

That sense of adventure - infused with a strong sense of self and commitment to others - guides the friends and family left looking for answers in the wake of his tragic death. Douglass' girlfriend, 24-year-old Amy White of Denver, was driving him to the campground where they were set to spend his last night in town with friends.

White was northbound on Colorado 287 about 10:24 a.m. when a southbound 2007 Chevy Avalanche pickup truck driven by 20-year-old Gregory Nessler of Fort Collins drifted across the yellow line and hit her car head-on. Douglass was pronounced dead at the scene; White was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. She was in critical condition late Sunday night.

Nessler and his passenger, 20-year-old Tyler Santomaso, also of Fort Collins, suffered only minor injuries. Trooper Gilbert Mares of the Colorado State Patrol said that Nessler was arrested and charged with vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, possession of a Schedule II substance, driving under the influence of a drug, careless driving causing injury and possession of a fictitious license. Mares was unable to release any other details about the crash due to an ongoing investigation.

But while authorities in Colorado sort out the details of his death, Jerry and Linda Douglass struggle to hold tight to their son's abundant love of life, thirst for knowledge and deep understanding of human kindness.

"Chris has always been my traveler," Linda Douglass said of her youngest child, glancing down at a picture of him and his long-time companion - a Doberman named Shiva who died in 2005. "Chris just loved people and loved life."

While the rest of his family shared memories of his youngest son - who even tried his hand at real estate alongside him for a brief time in his ever-changing life's adventure - Jerry Douglass took it all in with stoic silence. "Pops," as Chris lovingly referred to him, smiled quietly to himself and finally broke his silence to sum up his son's determination to master any challenge - be it a job or personal interest.

"He was just amazing," Jerry Douglass said. "You realize when the dust all settles - all the amazing things he did."

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Memory Page

Sun Journal
June 4, 2008

... what he lived to do; hiking (off trail), running, biking, meeting people, understanding individual hopes, listening and creating music or simply relaxing to the sounds of our world.
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July 2, 2009

During a series of events rarely seen inside a Colorado courtroom, Gregory Nessler was allowed Tuesday during his sentencing hearing to turn and face the family of the Maine man he killed last year while driving high on drugs.
Before he was sentenced ...

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