My friend Chris Horne was killed in a car accident last Wednesday in Mexico. His wife Mandy was in the car with him, and though seriously injured, she will eventually recover.
I didn't know Chris for very long, but when I was a newcomer to Jackson Hole with a mutual friend back in Virginia, he went out of his way to take me kayaking, introduce me to local bluegrass music, and encouraged me to apply to Teton Science School's graduate teaching program. Had he not provided that encouragement and a recommendation, I might not have taken that path and might not have met Steve.
Chris was an incredibly talented teacher with an ability to listen quietly and inspire middle school students in his classroom. Even in the short time he was the principal of the Summit School in Cashiers, NC, he did wonders for that school.
One of my favorite memories of Chris was when my roommates and I threw a James Bond-themed 24th birthday for me. Chris dressed up as a cowboy Bond and road his motorcycle up to Kelly, WY for the party. I still have the CD of bluegrass tunes he burned for the occasion. When Steve and I heard of his death on Thursday morning, we put Chris' mix on the iPod and said prayers for him, Mandy, and their families.
That last time we saw Chris, he and Mandy came down to Whit's End for dinner while Steve and I were down for Labor Day weekend. I am thankful that I was able to see them together and happy in their new home North Carolina, because that is how I would like to remember Chris--in a Hawaiian shirt, relaxing on the porch with his new wife, watching the sun sink behind the mountains with us.