Christopher R. Caris | 1974 - 2007 | Obituary

Christopher R. Caris
Christopher R. Caris

January 25, 1974 - October 26, 2007

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Caris, Christopher R.

Christopher R. Caris, age 33 of Hermitage, Tennessee, formerly of Fremont passed away Friday, October 26, 2007 in Nashville, Tennessee. Christopher was a graduate of Fremont High School and later attended Ferris State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Christopher moved to Hermitage to set up two Bellacino’s in Nashville and Hermitage. At the time of his passing, Christopher was a member of the management team at the White Bridge Road Bellacino’s. Christopher recognized his God given talent, at a very young age. Christopher was Professional Bass Fisherman and over his young life, he developed a vast wealth of knowledge of fishing and lovingly shared this with many people. Christopher enjoyed the outdoors, was an avid University of Michigan sports fan and enjoyed spending time with his “boys”/dogs, Boston and Echo. Christopher was a member of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Fremont.

Christopher is survived by his parents, Ted and Jeannie Caris of Fremont; his brothers, Scott Caris and his son, Elliott Valentine Caris of Louisville, Kentucky; Todd (Cathie) Caris of San Francisco, California; maternal grandparents, Harold and Jerrie Hines of Muskegon and Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; uncles and aunt, Bill (Darlene) Hines of North Muskegon; Tracy Hines of Muskegon; Maria (Peter) Blond of Palm City, Florida; Conrad (Judy) Caris of Benzonia, Michigan; Jim (Edna Mae) Caris of Livonia; many cousins. He was preceded in death by his paternal grandparents, Tony and Mary Gail Caris.

Memorial services were held on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at the First Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Fremont with Rev. Ray Dekker presiding. Memorial services will are also pending in Nashville, Tennessee. In lieu of flowers, friends may consider the Christopher R. Caris Memorial Fund at the Fremont Area Community Foundation for memorial contributions in memory of Christopher. Friends may also send a condolence or share a memory of Christopher online at Arrangements by Crandell Funeral Home – Fremont Chapel.

Memorial services were held on Saturday, November 3, 2007 at the First Congregational Church United Church of Christ in Fremont. Memorial services will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2007 at 12:00pm (Central Time) at the Shute’s Branch Recreation Area at Old Hickory Lake in Tennessee.

DIRECTIONS FROM NASHVILLE TO SHUTES BRANCH RECREATION AREA - Take 40 East to Exit 221A North (Hermitage Exit). This exit will put you on Old Hickory Blvd. Go to the BP and turn Right (AFTER the BP) onto Andrew Jackson Blvd. Stay straight on this road until you see Shute's Branch on the left. Travel down Andrew Jackson crossing over Lebanon Rd. until you come to Saundersville Rd.(Andrew Jackson turns into Saundersville Road) Continue on Saundersville Road until you see a water tower on your right. The Park is across the street from the water tower

Friends may consider the Christopher R. Caris Memorial Fund at the Fremont Area Community Foundation for memorial contributions in memory of Christopher or the Christopher R. Caris Memorial Fund at the First Tennessee Bank iin Nashville. Friends may send a condolence or share a memory of Christopher online at

Click here to post a condolence of Christopher R. Caris on-line

Ted and Jeannie and family, I hold you in my heart with love and offer prayers constantly for the God of love to cradle you in His hands and give you strength and comfort. My tears and sadness, at this distance, seem futile, but I am hoping that you are being upheld by love and care. I do love and care for your whole family and have joyfully celebrated many wonderful events. Now I pray for all of us to be strengthened by our love of Christopher. I'm with you in thought and spirit. Barbara White
Posted 10/29/07

Ted and Jeannie -- While I may not have known Chris, I certainly remember you talking about your family during the time I worked for you. My thoughts and prayers are with you during this awful time.

Tammi Rood
Posted 10/29/07


I am very sorry to hear about your son Chris. You were my parents attorney for many years. My prayers and thoughts are with you and your family to get through this time. Jeanene Hollowell Bosse
Posted 10/29/07

Although it has been some time since Chris and I have talked, I still considered him a friend. Growing up together and the baseball, basketball, and fishing times will always be remembered. God Bless him as he watches down on us.

Matt Hendrie
Posted 10/29/07

I first met Chris in 7th grade when I transferred from Fremont Christian School to Fremont Public. Chris was a friend instantly! I will always remember the summer's in middle school when we swam in Second Lake when the golf course had the small beach and a raft. It was a great time, just fun, a bike and no worries. I pray to God for Chris, his family, his fiancé, and all the people who loved him. Becky Shively-Thompson
Posted 10/30/07

Mr. and Mrs. Caris,

I never had the pleasure of meeting either of you, but our sons were good friends and co-workers. I wish to extend my deepest sympathy to you and your family. May the Lord carry you through your time of sorrow and strengthen you when you need him.

Deborah Ballentine
Posted 10/30/07

Although I have not seen Chris since high school, I have always remembered him. He is 3 years younger than I am.
I will always remember him as a handsome guy with a big smile. I am very sorry for your loss of him. I can not imagine how your
family is feeling at this time. Please know that he is watching down on you all and waiting until he see's you all again.
Take care.
Melissa Westbrook

Posted 10/30/07

Mr. and Mrs. Caris,
I know that you'll receive many notes and cards from friends of Chris in Michigan and other parts of the country, but my wife Leigh and I wanted you to know that your son had a profound impact on us here in Nashville as well. I work at a television station less then five minutes from Bellacino's and every Monday night for nearly the last two years, Leigh and I, plus our daughter, Jennifer, would meet there for dinner. Sometimes we went to Bellacino's two or three times a week. Becoming "regulars" we developed a casual friendship with Chris. He was always smiling and made a point of coming out to talk when we were there. When he was gone on vacation he would actually leave behind instructions for the workers with our usual order and made sure we were treated well. We also noted that he never treated the young people that worked with him as employees. They were like his family and he spent as much time making pizzas and bussing tables as they did.
His spirit was infectious and we want you to know that even the man who took his life is an example of Chris' kindness. He wanted to give the young man a chance in life.
Chris' death has troubled us deeply. We've cried as well and tried to understand, but we want you to know that the spirit of the man that you raised affected lives here in Nashville deeply. We hope that we can offer you some comfort in knowing that Chris' gentle heart and warm smile will never be forgotten here.

God bless and keep you in His care,
Rudy, Leigh, and Jennifer Kalis
Posted 10/30/07

To the entire Caris Family. My husband and I personally knew Chris as he worked for us for nearly a year at our office not far from Bellacinos. He was a very good employee and a great young man that shared many good times with us from deep sea fishing to a company trip in Las Vegas. We were shocked and deeply saddened at the news of Chris' death and still can't grasp it really happened. Words cannot express enough the sympathy we have for you at this time. We have and will continue to pray for you in hopes that God will ease your pain. We, and our staff that remember him, are so, so, very sorry.

Stacy & Jim Gammons
Dedicated Search

Posted 10/30/07

I want to offer you condolences from the employees and Prostaff members of
Secret Weapon Lures. After moving to the Nashville area, Chris joined our
Prostaff in January 2006. He proved himself to be an expert angler and a
welcome addition to our team, where he combined two things he enjoyed and
was exceptionally good at -- fishing and interacting with people.

Too often we let the urgent crowd out the important. Since we expect to have
many more enjoyable days on the water, we allow ourselves to get caught up
in the rush and stress of tournament competition or aggravated by
unsportsmanlike conduct of people around us. Many times we lose sight of
what it is about fishing that attracted us to the sport in the first place
and what we appreciate most about it now. Chris never did. He seemed to
really enjoy himself no matter what he was doing, and especially every time
he went fishing.

"Our Prayers go out to the many friends and family of Chris. May the Lord
look over them during this hard time in their lives." (Ricky and Merila
Ingram, SWL Prostaff)

"This is a senseless tragedy!!! My prayers and condolences go out to Chris'
family and friends during their time of sorrow. May Chris rest in peace."
(Alan York, tournament angler)

"I talked with Chris about a month ago, He was excited about the 2008
fishing season and was looking into fishing the Grand Slam Series. He had
just got a new job and was very upbeat. I will miss Chris; he was one of the
good guys." (John Glenn, Business Development Director, American Bass

"I had a brother and his 17 year old son killed in the same sort of crime in
1992. I know first-hand what the family is experiencing. My sympathies to
the family and friends." (David Andrews, tournament angler)

"No words to express the shock and anger at this senseless crime. Thoughts
and prayers to everyone involved." (Ken Waid, tournament angler)

"Thoughts and prayers to those close to him. We do need to just stop and
smell the roses sometimes because we never know what's ahead. (Raymond
Smith, tournament angler)

"I'm so sorry to hear of this tragedy. Our heartfelt condolences to his
family." (Dave Abbott, founder of Angling Masters International)

May God comfort you in your grief and loss, encourage you through memories
of happier days, and give you hope for eternity.


Joe Haubenreich
President, Secret Weapon Lures

Posted 10/31/07

Aunt Jeannie and Uncle Ted,

My thoughts and prayers are with you and the rest of your family as you mourn the loss of your beloved Chris and try to make sense of this terrible tragedy. From the entire Halperin family, I offer you our deepest heartfelt condolences.

- Keri Halperin
Posted 10/31/07

Ted & Jeannie & family...we did not know Chris personally, but can only imagine the pain that you must feel in the senseless death of your son. May God give you the faith, courage, and strength to get thru this tragedy. Our sincere sympathy, love & prayers to you all.
Al & Ardie Baars
Bradenton, Fl
Posted 10/31/07

Mr. and Mrs. Caris,

It was just over 20 years ago that I was first introduced to your son. My childhood friend Bobby Wiersma informed me there was a kid from the public school that I had to meet. Bobby and I visited your home on a fall Saturday and spent the day doing what young kids do. Your son and I hit it off in a big way. The rest, as they say… is history.

It is that history that I’ve had a chance to reflect on this past week in the shadow of the tragic events concerning Chris. I loved your son. I consider the formative years I spent countless hours with Chris as some of the most important, fun-filled and best of my life. From the time I was a 7th grader at Fremont Christian through most of our years together at Fremont High, Chris and I were inseparable and best friends.

I have fondly and broken-heartedly recalled what those years were filled with. The late-night talks, the thousands of miles we put on our “Fugis” traveling all over Fremont, cheering on our beloved Michigan Wolverines, chasing girls, playing ping-pong at my grandparents, listening to music, playing euchre, attending athletic events with Clare Harnden, grilling giant burgers, vacationing in Florida, t-ping people’s homes, playing ball, eating Spanky’s breadsticks, driving recklessly in our parent’s cars, and so much more.

What I remember most about your son, and what I loved most about Chris, was he was a dreamer. I am a dreamer too. I can’t tell you how many nights Chris and I would lie awake at night during one of our hundreds of sleepovers simply discussing our hopes and dreams. Girls, athletics, occupations, heroes, villains, and life after Fremont High were all hashed over into the wee hours of the night.

Though time, distance, and life’s twists and turns ultimately made staying close to Chris difficult, I will always carry Chris’ dreaming spirit with me. When I read that Chris was engaged to a beautiful, young woman and had achieved success professionally fishing, I was proud. Chris was living out his dreams.

I too have lived and am living many of my dreams. I have a wonderful wife, 3 beautiful children, and a profession that I’m passionate about. What’s so tragic about Chris’s senseless death is his dreams had just begun being fulfilled. His death will not be lost on me or so many of our childhood friends. For me, it will always be a reminder that dreams are a blessing to be cherished and to live them out is surely a gift from God.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Caris for always opening your home to me and allowing me to be a small part of your son’s life. It is something I will always gratefully hold on to the rest of my life.


Ryan DeKuiper

Posted 10/31/07

Chris was a dear friend of mine, although we had not seen each other in a while. Luckily, I had the opportunity to join Chris out on the water a couple of times to see him in his element. I always knew I could count on him for anything, because he was such a selfless, giving soul. I know he loved his family and friends dearly, as well as his dogs. I know they are going to miss him just as much. He had been through a lot over the past few years, but he never gave up hope. If he had, we wouldn’t have met the woman of his dreams, Marianne. My heart aches for her. Chris was loved and admired by so many and will never be forgotten.

God bless,

Heather Holmes

Posted 10/31/07

I may not have talked to Chris in many, many years, but I will always remember 7th grade art class. Chris was a kind soul with a big heart. I will cherish the long talks on the phone that 7th grade year. And although Chris and I did not stay close friends through out school, I could always get a smile in the halls. Chris was a big part of the class of 1992 and he will be sadly missed. My thoughts and prayers to Chris’s family at this difficult time. May God keep the Caris family close and give them strength.

Mindy (Groenendal) Wells

Posted 10/31/07

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this difficult time. I was a couple grades above Chris in school, but he was an amazing young man. Also friendly, always smiling and was friends with everyone!! May God comfort you and keep you strong.

God Bless ~

Kelly Walker (McCastle) & Family
Posted 10/31/07

To the Caris Family,
I never met any of you personally but was a good friend of Chris's for many
years. We went to WKU together, majored in Recreation together, worked at
Mancino's in Bowling Green together and then was his coworker here in TN
for a few years at Bellacino's. Chris and I were very good friends and I
have so many fond memories of our years knowing each other. We were like
family - almost brother and sister! I had not spoken to Chris in a few
years but it seems like just yesterday we were joking and playing Euchre
with the Thompsons!

You did an amazing job raising him and building him up to be a great man!
Please know that our God has a purpose in all of this even though it's so
hard to see or imagine in this time of tragedy. I pray that the Lord gives
you an unbelievable sense of peace in this time and reveals himself to you
and your family in ways you never imagined. Run to him and he will be your

Job 11:13-20

Shanna (Hanson) Bauman

Posted 11/1/07

To the Family of Chris Caris,

I know that I have not met any of you and I only knew Chris through myspace and the fishing community, but I want to tell you what an amazing son, brother, cousin, fiance, and friend you had. I met Chris through myspace about a year and a half ago. Since then, we have talked about fishing, girls, more fishing, and re-touched on the girl subject! He had a tough time finding the right one, but I know he found her because I could see that he was happy. Chris always was an encouragement and checked in with me frequently to see how things were going in both bass tournaments and life. I felt as though I had grown up with him. He was almost an older brother to me in that he was always making sure that I was ok and doing well in fishing. One important thing that Chris taught me was to live my dream. I have had the dream for a while to become a professional angler and he always encouraged that. I know that he was living that dream as well. Chris started a brotherhood that began with him and spread out to myself and other guys who were trying to live that same dream. People may think that he never got to live out his dream, but I believe he did. Chris was successful in everything and even though he never won angler of the year and never held up a big cardboard check, I believe he is at peace now knowing that he left a legacy. That's what it is all about. I'm sure he never knew that he had the impact that he did on all walks of life, even his own dogs! People loved Chris and will always love him. It is our job now to pick up where he left off. Whatever your dream is, live it as Chris would have- live it to it's fullest. Don't be afraid of tomorrow, and always encourage other people. My dad is a pastor and he talks about when people have the birth and death date on their headstone or obituary and how it has the dash in the middle. That dash sums up our lives in one quick mark. But when you look at Chris's dash, you remember all the people he has touched and how he lived a happy fulfilling life. Chris was an amazing person and he knew the importance of love, compassion, and encouragement. He knew the importance of that dash. Let us all go from here, live out our dreams, and hold the biggest fish of our dreams up and smile...Smile for Chris, Smile for life, and Smile because you know Chris is smiling back at you. God bless you all and I know that Chris is proud of his family, fiance, and friends....

In Christ,
Jonathan Upchurch
Posted 11/1/07

Ted & Jeannie and family,

I can not even imagine what pain you are going thru right now. Steve and I are so, so sorry for your loss. We are with you in prayers and thoughts and spirit.

Sue (Ramm) & Steve Brizzolara
Posted 11/1/07

Mr. and Mrs. Caris,

It is with deepest sympathy that I write this note. I was deeply saddened by the tragic news about your son. Chris and I were close friends in school. We had a lot in common and shared many great times.

Regretfully I had not kept up with Chris since we graduated from high school. He went off to follow his dreams and I to follow mine.

Some of my fondest memories of high school are with your son. We used to take my piece of junk truck and pull that fishing boat all over West Michigan looking for that lunker Bass! He always seemed to be the one to find that elusive creature. We spent hours on the water talking about fishing, life, music, sports and girls. I have found myself going back in time this week remembering those times and smiling. He was a great friend and I will never forget him and his friendship.

It is my prayer that God will comfort you in this time of sorrow.

God Bless,

Brian Breuker
Fremont, MI

Posted 11/1/07

Ted and Jeannie and family,
I had the privilege to live next door to Chris in Hermitage. I remember how he let me borrow his lawnmower 4 years ago. That was my first impression of him. A great guy who was very friendly. I am still in shock. I am speechless. I just know he loved life to the fullest. I pray that you find comfort in the Lord as he can get you through this time of loss. Chris will be missed but, never forgotten. He was a great person. I am glad I had the chance to know him. Darrell Nabers, Hermitage TN
Posted 11/2/07

Dear Ted, Jeannie, Marianne, Todd, Cathie and Scott:

My heart and prayers go out to each and everyone of you ... and also to Chris' friends.

It's impossible to put a reason to the senselessness of all this; the anger that one would have inside him, to commit such an unconscionable act, is something that is not in our realm of consideration.

Although it's been only a year and a half since I met Chris, when I was in Fremont to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of Cathie and Todd, I was touched by his warmth and generosity of spirit which has been expressed by many in the numerous tributes I've been reading.

His smile and the toast he gave when he was best-man at Todd and Cathie's wedding will be a lasting impression that I shall carry with me.

I hope that all the good memories that you've all shared with Chris will carry you through this trying time.

Todd's mother-in-law in California
Posted 11/5/07

Ted, Jeannie and Family,

Words cannot express my sympathy to you and your family in the tragic death of Chris. Chris was such a dear person to me and will always hold a special place in my heart. I too cannot understand why this happened to such a kind and caring person. I grieve with you in your loss. You and your family will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

May God bless and comfort you,
Carol Ann Lindsey

Posted 11/5/07

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Caris and Family,

Words could never fully express my deepest sorrow or console you as I know Chris would want you to be comforted. I will just say that your son touched my life in a way that will never be forgotten, and I am forever grateful for the memory of his laughter. He was a true friend, a good man, and a damn good fisherman.

Dee Anne Oberle

Posted 11/6/07

I just recently heard about Chris. I am having a very hard time
accepting he is gone. Chris was the most amazing guy. I had the
pleasure of meeting Chris through the internet....ok I'll say it, an
online dating website. We went on a few dates and had the best time.
The funny thing about it was he and I were both about to cancel our
membership when we met. Our only problem was I had just decided to go
back to college and he was so dedicated to fishing. We didn't have
enough time to devote to dating seriously but were able to remain
friends. He was such a gentleman and such a kind soul. We would
usually talk every few months or so to catch up. I am very sorry for
your loss. He loved his family so much and talked about you guys
often, maybe not as much as Michigan football, but alot, he was lucky
to have a support system like you. I don't know what else to say
except that I will miss him and our monthly chats. He will forever be
in my thoughts and you will be in my prayers.

Tanya Taylor

Posted 11/19/07

Dear all, we are so so very devastated with the news... As if we lost a brother -my parents as if they lost a son.

The grief, the unfairness, is such that we are in a loss for words. From the other side of the Atlantic ocean, our thoughts are with you. Prodromos Prodromidis

Posted 1/16/2008

Chris, I know you aren’t able to read this, but I just found out that you were the guy on the news that had been shot by John Bobo. I am truly sorry that I wasn’t a better friend to you when you were alive. I know your family loved you very much. I pray for your family. I pray that you are up in heaven so that someday I can apologize. I know we weren’t ever anything more than friends, but I truly cared for you when you were alive. I know you were dealing with a lot when I met you, and I hope you will forgive me for not being there for you more. I pray that your soul is at peace.

I hope Boston and Echo are ok. They and you made quite an impression on me. I went to check and see if you were doing any of the tournaments and they had RIP by your name. I am in shock and disbelief. I cannot believe you are gone. You will be in everyone’s hearts eternally.

-cate landers

Posted 7/1/2008

Ted and Jeannie,

I don't even know the words to express how sad I was to hear about the senseless taking of Chris. I may not have seen Chris for several years, but so many memories of our childhood are with me and will be forever. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with you and wish you peace as you try to make sense of this.

Jami (Halperin) Simon
Posted 2/13/2009

Dear Caris Family,

I'm a resident of a small town in Middle Tennessee. I have known about your fine son only from the media since the senseless taking of his life. I have read every article and viewed every archived news video I could find. I have honestly grieved deeply over your loss. All our lives are diminished by the pain and loss you have been forced to bear. The inept "justice" system has, from my perspective, only added shameful insult to injury.

Our local paper The Tennessean had in its Sunday (09/27/09) edition the headline, "Driver acquitted in murder, robbery". What a complete travesty of justice! Acquitted on all five charges, no criminal responsibility whatsoever for his participation in the act. The mother of the other slain boy, Joshua Cole, was quoted in the article saying, "This tells society it's OK to supply a gun, drive a car, clean the blood out of it from a robbery where two people are killed and then lie. There are no consequences. You don't have to go to jail for it."

I cannot imagine how you must be feeling right now. I've also read the articles on the internet from the paper in your home town and see what an outstanding, courageous family you are. I pray that God will impart immeasurably His strength and comfort as you absorb this devastating, insulting miscarriage of justice. I pray that the temptation to cynicism and bitterness and hatred will be dissolved in the overwhelming power of His grace and love. I pray that for us all.


Bill Murphy
Columbia, TN
Posted 10/4/2009

We think the world of you Jeanie and Ted and know Chris' memory will continue to live through us and Jonathan. He misses him so much everyday and he will NEVER be forgotten. We love you guys!! Jonathan, Kristy, Baylee and Kameron Newman

Posted 11/2/2009

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