Chris “Junior” Santistevan passed away too soon and unexpectedly Sunday, July 19, 2020, surrounded by his loved ones.
Memorial services begin at 10 a.m. Friday at Gillette Memorial Chapel. Burial will follow at the Black Hills National Cemetery at 2:30 p.m.
Chris was born Oct. 28, 1974, in Torrington. He was the youngest of five children to parents Cindy Haas and Jim Santistevan.
He graduated from Niobrara High School and immediately joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He was proud to be a Marine and serve his country; serving four years of active duty from 1993-97.
Chris and Sheryl met in 1999. In true Chris fashion, on their first date they went to McDonald’s with two of Sheryl’s daughters.
In February 2004, Chris was in a horrific car accident that changed his life forever. Though he spent months and months in the hospital, Chris’ perseverance and strength never faltered. Never leaving his side, Chris and Sheryl married Oct. 30, 2004, while Chris was still in the hospital.
Not to let any obstacle stand in his way, Chris took the challenges he faced head on. He went back to college and earned his associate degree followed by a bachelor’s degree in accounting.
In 2007, he participated in his first National Veterans Wheelchair games. He looked forward to participating each year and proudly brought home medals every year for the last 12 years in sports ranging from soccer to air rifle.
Chris left his mark on all who knew and loved him, making many lifelong connections. He could go anywhere and strike up a conversation with a stranger and end up leaving with a new friend.
Chris was an avid hunter. He got his love of hunting from his grandpa Ernie. His grandpa was a huge part of Chris’ life and was a role model to Chris. By knowing Chris and his nature, it is evident that his grandpa’s easygoing personality rubbed off on Chris.
Chris also was a proud grandpa to eight grandchildren, ages 8 to 1. He loved to give them rides in his wheelchair, watch cartoons, play video games and cheer them on at their sporting events.
Chris is survived by his loving wife, Sheryl (Soper); stepchildren, Stacy (Tommy) Banks, Brice (Angie) Stanton, Tristin (Tate) Wammen and Bailey (Ryun) Huber; grandchildren, Dayne, Jaxon, Easton, Paxton, Kit, Parker Rebel and Rylan; in-laws, David and Joni Brown and Walt and Katy Soper; his parents, Cindy (Dan) Haas and Jim (Gail) Santistevan; siblings, James, Randi, Jackie and Mike; and his aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews and hundreds of friends.
He was preceded in death by his grandma, Phoebe Santistevan; grandma, Alma Lemons; and his grandpa, Ernie Lemons.
In lieu of flowers, memorials and condolences may be sent in care of Gillette Memorial Chapel, 210 W. Fifth St., Gillette, WY 82716.
Condolences also may be expressed at gillettememorialchapel.com.
This paid obituary was provided by family and friends.