Palo Alto Online - Lasting Memories - 1LT Channing Burke Chrisman's memorial

1LT Channing Burke Chrisman
July 15, 1928-May 10, 2024
Palo Alto, California

Channing Burke Chrisman -- Channy Boy to his mom and dad, Grandchan to his grandchildren, Chan to the rest of us -- passed away on May 10th, 2024.

Chan graduated from the Phillips Academy in 1946, from Stanford University in 1950 and received his commission from the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1952. He then shipped out to Korea to serve as a first lieutenant in the 25th Infantry Regiment, was wounded in battle at the Nevada Complex in May 1953, and returned to build a life with his beloved wife, Dorothy Trapp Countryman, in the Santa Clara Valley.

Chan and Taffy bought a parcel carved out of an apricot orchard next to a dairy farm, built a home there and lived in the Green Acres II neighborhood of Palo Alto for the next 70 years. Bound together by a fierce love and rock-solid family values, the couple raised six children through the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s and took joy in seven grandchildren, all of whom survive their beloved GrandChan and TaffyGrammy and will treasure their memories always.

Chan and Taffy were open-hearted neighbors and loyal friends, and community members knew them as a pair who offered friendly smiles and warm how-do-you-dos (“Cheers!”) on evening walks, and as a reliably helpful and generous presence. The door to their home on Georgia Avenue was always open, and dear friends often stopped by unannounced to share dinners and boisterous conversation at the family table.

Chan was a small businessman -- builder of homes, town centers and El Paseo de Saratoga Shopping Center -- a sailor and navigator who combined celestial navigation with knowledge of currents, prevailing winds and real-time weather reports to guide large sailing yachts to record finishes on transpacific ocean races—long before GPS, and a farmer who partnered with James and Mary Rickert to grow hay and wild rice in the Fall River Valley of California.

Also a horseman, mountaineer, and lover of life out-of-doors, Chan spent many springs repairing trails and many autumns packing out trash left by campers during the summer season, in the high country of the Toiyabe National Forest with his long-time college friend, Will Grishaw MD (“Doc”).

In those days, Chan played guitar and sang folk songs with an expressive baritone, Doc played the violin and mastered back-country cooking, and unsuspecting late-season backpackers coming across Chan and Doc’s campfire might have thought they had stumbled into a dream. Forest rangers knew the duo as dependable citizen volunteers and welcoming mountain hosts who offered music, stories and hot beef stews with fresh biscuits and cherry cobbler on cold nights, miles from the nearest road.

Chan's passing began at 2:45am on Friday, May 10th, under the care of the extraordinary and attentive staff at the Veteran Administration's Livermore Community Living Center, and with a loving son by his side.

The sky was clear and bright with stars when the navigator who had taught his young children on transparent Sierra Nevada nights to say Sirius, Canis Major, Procyon, and Rigel slipped anchor;

at 3:10am, he was gone.

Tags: veteran, business

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From Chrisman Family
May 21, 2024
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Memorial service
Memorial Service Place: Saint Mark's Episcopal church, 600 Colorado Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306 Time: 3:00PM Sunday, May 26, 2024

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