Christopher Niles Vasquez, 58, of DeForest, Wis., died one week after suffering a stroke, on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, in the presence of his beloved family.
He was born in 1955, in Elkins, to German and Virginia (Clingerman) Vasquez.
When Chris was young, the Vasquez family moved to Bogota, Colombia, where Chris attended Colegio Estados Unidos. It was in Bogota that Chris met and married the love of his life, Martha McCormick. In 1979, the young family returned to the U.S. and lived for a period of time in Milwaukee, where Chris worked for Super Sky Products. In 1988, they moved to Madison. Chris earned a Bachelor of Education from the UW, then dedicated 21 years of his professional life to teaching at Madison West High School as a Spanish teacher and soccer coach, which included an appearance in the 2013 state soccer finals. His record of 352-112-56, eight conference championships and five appearances in the WIAA State Soccer Tournament is an unsurpassed standard for any coach in West High School's 84-year history. Chris taught more than 2,500 students in his Spanish classes and another 1,100 student-athletes in boys' soccer. He also mentored many student teachers and assistant coaches. Chris also coached LaFollette varsity girls soccer for eight years and Oregon Club soccer for four years. He played soccer for Team Verdi in Milwaukee and the Madison Chargers. As a Charger, he scored the winning PK in the 1991 Badger State gold medal game. Chris spent his summers with Martha, exploring, canoeing and fishing the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Aside from being an avid outdoorsman and musician, Chris also was a kind and thoughtful friend. He enriched many lives with his easy smile and warm embrace. He made everyone he met feel special and was cherished by all who knew him. Chris was, most of all, a devoted husband, a loving father, a proud grandfather and a gifted teacher.
He is survived by his loving wife, Martha; his children, Jessica (Scott) Feit, Angela (Robert) Kunze and John David (Natalie Pallo) Vasquez; his grandchildren, Nikala and Cole Feit and Ellianna and Kaylee Kunze; and many relatives and friends.
Chris was preceded in death by his parents, German and Virginia (Clingerman) Vasquez; and a brother, German Vasquez Jr.
Visitation was conducted at St. Dennis Catholic Church, 505 Dempsey Road, Madison, Wis. Feb. 7. A memorial service was conducted at St. Dennis Catholic Church with Father Randy Timmerman presiding, following the visitation, to celebrate Chris' wonderful life, a life that touched and encouraged so many in a better direction and to give thanks for the opportunity of having known this remarkable man, Chris Vasquez.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Chris Vasquez Scholarship Fund in care of West High School, 30 Ash St., Madison, Wis., 53726. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.