On September 4th, 2012, we lost our son, Chris. He was only 29 years old. He had not married and did not have any children. Chris had just started a new career with a large construction company in Pennsylvania specializing in road and highway development. Chris was tragically killed while working on a road expansion project in Bethlehem, Pa. As we struggle with our loss, we realize that although Chris was only 29 years old he had accomplished a lot in his short life. There are so many things that we miss about him. His heart and his giving nature is what we remember and cherish most about Chris.
He had a natural mechanical ability and loved working with his hands. No challenge was too big. With pride he would fix or build something, only settling for perfection. He was his harshest critic. He had the biggest shoulders for all of us to lean on, always there with an ear to listen, or to lend a helping hand whether or not you asked. Chris was a wonderful son, a great brother and a supportive uncle. Chris valued his friendships and once you became his friend, you were his friend for life. Chris had an infectious smile and filled our home with laughter. He would tell you that his favorite place to be was with his family. Almost every day you could find him outside polishing his Cadillac. He took care of it as though it was being displayed in car shows. Chris had many hobbies. He was a gamer, a “ghost hunter” and a bearded dragon “expert“. He would often take his bearded dragon “Twitch” for walks through the Italian Market in South Philly. Crowds would gather around him as he would tell the bystanders all about his bearded dragon. It was a site to see.
On March 27, 2013, we celebrated Chris’s 30th birthday, which was six months after he passed. With his family together, we unveiled the bird house that Chris was in the process of making before he died, as a surprise for his step-dad, Mike. Mike would often call to Chris and point out the different birds that would visit our yard; together they hung different bird feeders and bird houses throughout our yard. Chris wanted to surprise Mike with his very own custom bird house. Chris made it from scratch, a scaled down version of our house.
During that day we began a discussion about what we could do in Chris’s memory. We wanted to honor him and to introduce him to everyone that didn’t have a chance to know him. Chris was always there to lend a helping hand to the people that knew him and strangers alike, we thought of ways that we could continue this in order to keep his memory alive. Something we could continue to improve over time.
The following day, Chris’s father, John Burch Sr. was reading the “Ocean City Patch” when he came across an article about a young man, father of three that was tragically killed when he fell off of a roof at a house under construction from damage due to Hurricane Sandy. Jorge Barralaga was just 30. He died on Chris’s 30th birthday. In the article Jorge was remembered as a kind and giving man that would stop to help anyone that needed a hand. We contacted the family, met with them and gained inspiration to help with their situation. We felt an instant connection and the rest came together easily. On July 27, 2013 a few friends and family members gathered for a bike ride and lunch. To our astonishment we had approximately 80 people attend the luncheon of which 32 people participated in a 10-mile bike ride and 13 people participated in a 50-mile bike ride. It was a day of unbelievable support and love from our family and friends. Those who attended the event expressed interest in participating in future events and to have an opportunity to invite their family members and friends to participate. As a result, we hope to continue this wonderful event annually in his memory.
We are proud to share Chris’s legacy and we would like to “pay it forward” in his honor.
This site is in loving and grateful memory of our son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend, Christopher L. Burch, 3/27/1983 — 9/4/2012. With love and pride we will continue to honor you by paying forward the lessons you have taught us.
Love, Mom (Maryann Crowther), Mike, Dad (John Burch Sr,) Leah, John Jr, Nicole, Brandon and Eric