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Einan's at Sunset
Christopher Wollam, 63, passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer on May 27, 2014 with his family by his side. Chris faced his illness in the same way he faced life, full of determination and strength.
Chris was born on December 16, 1950 in Seattle, Washington. His family moved to Roslyn, Washington when Chris was a young boy, and this is where he developed his love for the outdoors. When the Roslyn and Cle Elum schools merged, Chris represented Roslyn as a student leader; he met Lou, the representative from Cle Elum, and they quickly became lifelong friends. Because of this merger, Chris' web of friends continued to grow, and the "Cle Elum Group" has continued to have gatherings on a regular basis.
Chris graduated from Cle Elum High School in 1969. He enlisted in the Army shortly after graduation and was stationed at Fort Bragg. He left the Army in 1972, the same year he met his future wife, Debra. They married in 1973. Over the next few years, Chris finished college by attaining a Bachelor's Degree in Chemistry from Eastern Washington University in 1976. Two years later in 1978, he received a Master's Degree in Nuclear Engineering from Ohio State University. After completing his post-graduate degree, Chris and Debra moved to Aiken, South Carolina, where they raised their sons, Patrick and Frank Wollam. Chris worked at Savannah River nuclear site until 1987 when the family moved to the Tri-Cities. Always diligent in work, Chris was employed at Hanford until the start of his recent chemotherapy. Chris was a devoted father and active participant in his children's lives. He coached his sons' basketball teams and was their Indian Guide leader.
While working at Hanford, Chris and his future wife Sandy shared a vanpool. They enjoyed many conversations and developed a friendship. After several years, their circumstances changed, and their paths crossed again. Their friendship grew into a marriage that included two step-daughters, Candace Gratama and Tawnya Turner. As his family expanded with step-children and in-laws, he quickly welcomed all into his "bushy family tree." Chris had a way of making everyone feel loved and special. Chris and Sandy remained married until her passing in 2010.
Chris had a great passion for life, a strong work ethic, and a strong sense of civic responsibility. Not a day went by that was not filled with meaningful activity. Chris was an active member of the Mustang Club, and he took pride in restoring his 1969 Mustang. He also enjoyed going to his cabin at Lake Kachess, which brought him back to his Roslyn roots. Chris' other passions included hiking Badger Mountain, playing the saxophone, and writing books. He had four books that were in various stages of completion. Chris had a clear message he wanted to leave for others in his books and his blog: "We can leave this world a better place." These were not simply words Chris wrote. These were words he believed in and lived by.
Chris was preceded in death by his parents, Lawrence Wollam and Frances Seltzer, and by his wife, Sandra Wollam. Chris is survived by his siblings Ann Hairfield, Richard (Lynn) Wollam, Dan (Rhonda) Wollam, and Teddie (Jim) Elrod; former wife Debra Hamilton; children Pat (Mandy) Wollam and Frank (Jackie) Wollam; step-children Candace (Pieter) Gratama and Tawnya (Kevin) Turner, and eleven grandchildren: Brittany, Tori, Spencer, Sydney, Nicolaas, Halle, Kaleb, Taylor, Daniel, Brycen, and Logan.
A celebration of life will be held at Einan's Event Center located at Sunset Memorial Gardens on June 2 at 3:00 pm. Following this event, there will be a gathering at Chris' home. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the
Express your thoughts and memories in the online Guest Book at www.einansfuneralhome.com.
Published in Tri-City Herald on May 31, 2014
Einan's Funeral Home, Inc.
915 By-Pass Highway Richland, WA 99352