Chris Judge passed away peacefully following a lengthy battle with progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
Chris was courageous in the face of the disease and never expressed self-pity or a bitter thought despite his declining condition. He made the most of life even as his world got smaller and smaller. He was an inspiration to all who knew him.
Chris will also be remembered as an outstanding distance runner and artist. He was a dominating force on the track, setting numerous Edmonton and Alberta high school records. His perfect running form also earned him a bit part in the movie “Running Brave”, the story of the American indigenous runner Billy Mills who won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympics. Ironically, Chris’s part in the movie was that of a “jerk”, the total opposite of who he was in real life.
Chris was a proud Edmontonian who attended Strathcona High School. Soon after, he was a varsity track athlete who graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1986, followed by a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Victoria in 1988. After his degrees, Chris taught Art at Memorial University in Newfoundland and also coached the cross-country running team until MS forced him to leave the work force and return to Edmonton.
Painting was the other passion in Chris’ life. Chris began losing his eyesight nearly 40 years ago at the onset of MS and continued to paint and then draw as a legally blind artist. When he could no longer paint his signature large-scale human figure canvases, Chris drew using weights to hold down his arms and control the tremors. In his words, “This disease has taken everything from me, but it can’t take my creativity.”
Chris was predeceased by his father Larry and mother Mary. He will be fondly remembered by his brother David (Colleen), and their children William (Amy) and Katherine (Michael); and his sister Joan (Joshua), and their children Antigone and Avital.
Chris will also be missed by his lifelong best friend Chris Peacocke, whose unwavering support of Chris was exceptional. Chris P, as he is referred to in our family, had the brilliant idea to create the Chris Judge Award for Excellence in Arts and Athletics in 2006. This scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating student at Strathcona High School.
The family also wishes to acknowledge the care and comfort provided by Chris’s long-time caregiver and friend Maxine Sweitzer, and the extraordinary care and attention that he received from the staff at Laurier House. Those that surrounded Chris during his 20 plus years at Laurier House treated him with respect and dignity and greatly enhanced his quality of life.
A memorial to Chris will be held at a later date, when conditions allow.
Those wishing to make a donation in Chris’ memory may do so through the Edmonton Community foundation – Chris Judge Award or to the Hotchkiss Brain Institute for Brain and Mental Health under the designation Multiple Sclerosis.