Colin Patrick Muilenburg (2002 - 2016)

12 entries
  • - Jonathan Stenger
  • "Dear Chad, My thoughts go out to you and your whole family...."
    - marisa brett
  • "Dear Muilenburg Family, Words fail me in being able to..."
    - Tom Nelson
  • "Dear Erin, Chad, Zach and Josh- Words can't express how..."
  • "Dear Muilenburg Family, Words fail me in being able to..."
    - Tom Nelson
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Service Information
Memorial service
Monday, Aug. 8, 2016
2:00 PM
Carmichael Presbyterian Church
5645 Marconi Avenue
Carmichael, CA
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Colin Patrick Muilenburg passed away on July 18, 2016, just over a month before his 14th birthday, at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco. Colin was a smart, sweet, sensitive, funny, incredibly imaginative boy who was on the cusp of a new life, and his parents Chad and Erin O'Neal Muilenburg, and his brothers Zachary Muilenburg and Joshua Muilenburg, will always miss him more than words are able to express. Colin was born on August 27, 2002, in Sacramento. His older brother Zachary was genuinely delighted to welcome him home, and they were the closest of friends ever since. From the start, Colin captivated his family with his imagination and subtlety, sometimes holding the whole family transfixed as he told long and complicated stories of creatures, worlds and characters that only he could see, including an entire alternative universe known as "Colinesia". In 2005, with his younger brother Joshua, another incredibly close friendship between brothers was born. Colin's relationships with his brothers Zack and Josh were central to his life, and they were his bedrock and a source of magic in his world. Colin was never happier than at home with them, playing role-playing games or other fantastically intricate games of their own invention. Like so many kids, he loved superheroes and Star Wars and Legos, but for Colin, movies or completed Lego sets were only ever the beginning of the story, not the end. Colin attended Country Oaks Preschool and went to Del Dayo Elementary School for kindergarten and first grade. He really blossomed in the Rapid Learner Program at Del Paso Manor Elementary School, where he attended second through fifth grade. His teachers and classmates there encouraged his intelligence and creativity, fostered his talents as a writer, and permitted him to be his unique and special self. He attended sixth and seventh grade at Winston Churchill Middle School, along with his class of friends from DPM who had been like a second family to him as they grew up together. His best friends, George Sicner and Joseph Bender, occupied a place of special and irreplaceable importance in Colin's life, as they too were gifted with extraordinary imaginations, curiosity, and vocabularies that allowed them to understand one another and enjoy a level of comfort and trust that only occurs in the rarest of lifelong friendships. In 2008, Colin was diagnosed with a genetic form of FSGS, a chronic progressive kidney disease that would eventually claim his kidneys. His parents encouraged him to live his life as a kid and not as a patient, and with his academic success and his easygoing, sunny disposition, many people had no idea that he was battling such an implacable situation. Like one of his beloved superheroes, he had an unassuming public persona, and few knew of his true strength, or of the true scale of his epic battles. On July 7, 2016, his aunt Jen O'Neal gave him the gift of life by donating her kidney to him. The transplant was a great success, and Colin's hard work and hope for the future helped him recover with amazing speed. He was taken from us suddenly on July 18, 2016, by a previously undiagnosed weakness in his aorta, just as he was poised to grow into a young man. His mother Erin will always treasure his creativity, his originality in a world full of pressure to conform, his ever-present sweetness, his love of a good story, and his willingness to share and discuss with her all of the many details in which they both delighted. His father Chad reveled in his sense of humor, his boundless imagination, his easy companionship, and all of the things he could observe with his "Colin eyes" that no one else could see. He will be missed greatly, not just for who he was, but because so many were so eager to see who he would become. A memorial service for Colin will be held at Carmichael Presbyterian Church at 5645 Marconi Avenue, Carmichael, CA, at 2:00 on August 8, 2016. All are welcome. Memorial contributions in Colin's name may be made to Family House in San Francisco (, an organization that provides housing and invaluable care to families with hospitalized children at UCSF. "You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain
Published in The Sacramento Bee on Aug. 2, 2016
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