After a brave battle with myotonic dystrophy, Christopher Hollern succumbed to complications from the disease on Saturday, December 7, 2013. He was surrounded by people who adore him, talked, laughed, wept and massaged him until the end.
Chris was born to Mike and Sue Hollern on August 30, 1963, in Palo Alto, California and grew up in Bend. He graduated from Mountain View High School in 1981 and from Lewis & Clark College in 1984. He was a devoted and enthusiastic member of the Camp Nor'Wester family, starting as a camper at age 10 and working his way to counselor and program director. He remained in touch with many of the campers whose lives he helped shape for the rest of his life and many remained close friends. While working with kids at Camp Nor'Wester, Chris realized that he was meant to be an educator. He taught English at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., for six years while pursuing a master's of education at Harvard. He was persuaded to leave Andover by the Pulitzer Prize winning professor, Dr. Robert Coles, who insisted he become his right hand man and the head section leader of Harvard's most popular course, "The Literature of Social Reflection." Students begged, bribed, lied and cried to get a coveted spot in one of Chris's sections, and they all agreed it was worth it.
A Western guy at heart, Chris returned to his beloved Portland with dreams of opening a restaurant, which he and his good friend, Margot Leonard, did with a bang. Bima quickly became a Portland hotspot; a vibrant, beautiful, delicious restaurant in the heart of the newly developing Pearl District. Following Bima's success, they opened Holdens, right around the corner and it quickly became just as popular.
Chris was known for his razor sharp wit and intellect, but he wore his heart on his sleeve and could just as easily cry at a Raymond Carver short story as he could an AT&T ad on TV. His booming laugh could be heard for blocks, whether he was being amused by one of beloved nieces and nephews or simply agreeing (as usual) with Jon Stewart. In fact, Jon Stewart is the only person he agreed with regularly. Everybody and everything else was up for debate and, boy, could he debate. No one was ever more sure of his own opinion!
Chris was the best friend to so many people, from so many different parts of his life and he will be desperately missed by all. Chris is survived by his parents, Mike and Sue Hollern; sister, Leslie (Gene Lynch); nephews, Conor and Dylan; nieces, Kerry and Mallory; sister, Erica (Jeremy Kelly); and nephews, Jack and Ben.
Chris was predeceased by his brother, Scott; and sister, Sheila.
A small service for family and close friends is planned.
Donations in Chris's memory would be gratefully accepted by the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation P.O. Box 29543, San Francisco, CA 94129. Further information can be found at myotonic.org.