Christopher Patrick Kavanagh
March 17, 1958 - August 23, 2015
Chris Kavanagh died suddenly of a heart attack on the afternoon of Sunday, August 23, 2015, after leaving his favorite café in Oakland. He was 57 years old. Patrons of the café came to his aid and paramedics arrived quickly, but physicians at Alta Bates Hospital were unable to save him. His family and friends were shocked to learn of his death.
Chris was born on St. Patrick's Day in Berkeley in 1958. He lived there with his parents and two younger brothers in married-student housing while his father earned a law degree at UC Berkeley. In 1963, the family moved to Mill Valley, and Chris attended Tamalpais Valley elementary school, Edna Maguire Middle School, and Tamalpais High School, graduating in 1976 with honors. At Tam High, Chris played four years of football. He was a star performer in the drama department and played the narrator in Our Town. Chris and his fellow actors won the California State Drama Championship in 1976.
After attending both UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara, where he was a member of the rugby team, Chris earned a B.A. in history from Berkeley. During his college years, he took time out for a European ramble, working for a farmer outside Trondheim, Norway, then picking grapes across the French countryside, visiting Paris, and finally earning enough working in a hotel kitchen in London to travel home for Christmas.
Chris earned his high school teaching credential at San Francisco State University and completed his student teaching at Emeryville High School. His first teaching position was at Gonzalez High School in Monterey County, where he was instrumental in the production of several musicals. Chris also spent time in Japan as an English-language teacher to executives. For the rest of his life-long teaching career, he taught in Berkeley and Oakland.
Chris is survived by his parents, Dennis and Barbara Kavanagh, his brothers Tony Kavanagh (Kristen) and Michael Kavanagh (Anne-Marie), his nieces Jessie and Emily Kavanagh, for whom he was a beloved uncle, his aunts Kris Beall and Kathleen Hilger, his cousin Rigel and her sons J.D. and Jacob, his cousin Ken, and Ken's son Calvin.
A memorial gathering of Chris's family and many friends is being planned for the near future.