By Peter Ricci
Whenever a life is lost, it has a profound effect on those who knew them and loved them. When a life is lost suddenly and unexpectedly the feeling of disbelief, and shock is compounded.
This is what all [who knew Chris] are going through now.
Chris Weisz was my friend. I would at times call him my, “best new friend,” my “worst best friend” and “youngest most beautiful friend.” He laughed at each title. Sometimes when he and I would disagree, I would tell him, “remember when we used to be friends?” he would do that Chris Weisz chuckle and tell me he was always my friend and didn’t feel the need to prove it.
It is probably one of the greatest honors for me to have been reached out to by so many this [past] week, that knew Chris, asking if I was okay and saying they were thinking of me, and what a loss to me this was. We all realize that Chris’ wife Alexis; his children Logan, Maxwell and Grace suffer the ultimate loss. Most of us can’t begin to imagine the feeling of loss to his parents, brother and the rest of his immediate family. But I never stopped to realize how many people actually noticed the strong connection I had with my friend Chris, until people that I knew around the community contacted me, saying things like… “You two were so close!”“I can’t imagine losing such an important friend,”“You two were always up to something!”
While many people say that because of my profession I take care of people… Chris took care of me. He was the type of person to have genuine concern for people…After he realized my work schedule had me assigned on holidays or around them, he and Alexis welcomed my family into his home when I was working, or we had no other family around to celebrate with. During these and other times at his home, I would see how he interacted with his children, imparting his life lessons while at the same time being “Alexis’ fourth child.” Just [a few] weeks ago, I went to drop off something at his house and he was starting to play a board game with [his daughter]Grace. Grace asked me to stay and play, and when I started to defer, Chris started chiding me, and I dropped my reluctance. So there we were, Chris, Grace and I spinning the wheel. Someone looking in the window would probably have been amused by the sight of two grown men and one young girl playing a board game together. When I got home an hour after my wife expected me, and I told her I was late from playing a game with Chris and Grace, she said… “Of course you were.”
Chris and I met years ago when we volunteered together at Cub Scouts. We became instant friends through mutual interests and having kids the same age. He went to school for Engineering and laughed when I told him why two people as different as us from the outside could get along. I told him, that although I was a guy with a Social Sciences background, I was fluent in engineer speak, as my dad was an engineer. Chris enjoyed that hypothesis immensely, and it became a running line from then on. On the various projects we worked on and even in sports coaching, he would be the data/function guy and I was the people manager. He and I bonded further, as he was a fair and caring person, who always wanted to engage the boys no matter what their abilities. I could count on him to support this, the same mission I believed in.
While Alexis would sometimes get frustrated at Chris for not following a schedule or calendar (and actually I did too) It wasn’t that he didn’t intend to, it would be that something would grab his attention or engage his mind. “Hey look at this!” “That’s brilliant!” “Wait we should… fix this, or build this, or find this…” would often be the statements to a cue that he would be late or stray from the timeline. When I would hound him about deadlines, he would tell me… “Peter I don’t worry… that’s what I have you for …you can worry for me.”
Slowly I accepted this characteristic of Chris, because in the end he was the man who would show up at your house at midnight to help you with a flat tire, watch and engage your son as you were trying to teach another group of Scouts a skill, find the spot in a lineup that would allow the player to feel their best, call you when he saw something that concerned him, speak passionately, yet fairly about current events, local politics, or matters. During some disagreement, he would tell me… “Peter, you are cranky… does cranky Peter need a hug?” And he would hug me… and laugh.
To [Chris’ children] Logan, Maxwell, and Grace. The lessons that you should learn or take from these last couple day, was how your father led his life. People from all over have told you your father was a great guy. That title is not easily earned. Coming from all aspects of his life people respected him, admired him and appreciated him. Take this with you in your lives. Remember the standard your father set. Honor him by being the fair and giving person he was and wanted to teach you to be.
Alexis, [Chris’ wife] I know you have heard [during calling hours] how smart and talented Chris was numerous times from those who came to offer their respects. I’m sure you never doubted that. But I also know those words will not replace the loss. But you too can try to find solace in the fact that Chris set that example for your children, and that they will move forward to continue to make you proud as they grow into adulthood. Take those stories that you and your family have shared with us as you looked through pictures [preparing his memorial] and keep them alive as part of his legacy.
Peter Ricci, a close friend of Chris’, is a resident of Bedford, a career Firefighter, and an active community volunteer. He offered these words during services for Chris on August 30, 2017.