My name is Nikki Reimer. I was an only child for six years.
In 1985, after suffering through four miscarriages, my mother got pregnant, and on January 19, 1986 I was sent to my grandparents’ house because my mother went into labour. We spent half the day at mom and dad’s and then went over to Baba and Dido’s house. At just after 6:32 p.m. my dad called to Baba and Dido’s to let me know that I had a baby brother.
As I would tell my father later, my heart turned over.
His name was Christopher John Joseph Reimer. John after John Reimer, my dad’s dad, and Joseph after Joseph Cherwoniak, my mom’s dad.
On February 21, 2012 I got another call. Via my mom’s cousin, via my husband.
My beautiful, talented, sweet, smart, amazing, lovely, handsome, wonderful brother died in his sleep at the age of 26.
This is for him.
Chris passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep at his home on the morning of Tuesday, February 21, 2012 of a possible heart condition. Chris Reimer was an adventurous and curious musician and composer whose talent was buttressed by generosity, compassion, empathy, gentleness and modesty. Chris was unwaveringly dedicated to his family and friends. An old soul with an acerbic wit and a twinkle in his eye, his talents also included drawing, writing, photography and entertaining his friends with such antics as his innovative and accurate Bill Cosby impression.
Born and raised in Calgary, Chris was close to immediate and extended family. He showed an early interest in music and performance. His career began as a member of the Yalenka Ukrainian dance company at the age of three and Youth Dance Unlimited at the age of ten. Chris started playing guitar at the age of eight and drums at the age of twelve; he played in concert and jazz bands in junior high and high school, and also began working musically with other like-minded friends in junior high. This early ‘jamming’ led to the formation of a number of bands.
Chris’ love of music was all-encompassing and his talent was a genetic gift from his father and through generations from both sides of the family. Surrounded by encouragement he strove to hone this raw talent and create his own voice. His creative outlets included designing and building effects pedals, recording and producing other groups and creating his own music. In addition to guitar and drums, he also played cello, bass and piano. He was a member of the bands Veritas, Beneath These Idle Tides, Azeda Booth, Women and Gold. He also played with San Francisco band The Dodos. Chris also developed a body of compositions of ambient music; friends hope to produce and release this music in the coming months.
Touring and performing took him across Canada, the United States, and many countries in Europe playing in venues including the Prima Vera Festival, SXSW Festival, Sled Island Festival, the CMJ Music Marathon and, in November 2011, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, in which he appeared with Neko Case and The Dodos. Chris’ defining personal characteristic was his gentle and giving nature. This was most strikingly evidenced by his joy in caring for his Baba Anne Cherwoniak’s physical and emotional health during the two years leading up to her death from ALS. He would lift her spirits, move and feed her, and was present at her last moments. Chris was also a supporter and friend to his mother Joanne, encouraging her own artistic forays and providing compassion and gentle nudging.
In the past year and a half, Chris received much love and support from his girlfriend Rena Kozak. They were musically and emotionally connected and made a great team.
Chris was predeceased by his grandparents Joseph and Anne Cherwoniak, and is lovingly missed by his parents Tim and Joanne Reimer, his sister Nikki Reimer and his brother-in-law Jonathon Wilcke, his girlfriend Rena Kozak, grandmother Vera Frey, innumerable extended family and friends.
The celebration of Christopher’s life will be at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 29 at Knox United Church, 506 – 4th Street SW, Calgary, Alberta.
The family is planning to set up either a music scholarship or bursary in his name; details will be announced on this memorial blog once it is ready. In lieu of flowers, donations for this fund may be made directly to Tim Reimer.