Chris "Chris" Van Santen

After years of struggling with his health, Chris passed away peacefully with his sister Vicki at his side on the morning of December 22nd at Chester Village.  He will be greatly missed by his mother Lori, sister Vicki and her spouse Ross Mann and their 2 children Jada and Tyler.  His aunt Lois Starr who gave him the gift of many healthy years by donating a kidney to Chris 19 years ago will miss his smile and his endless teasing.  She too loved him dearly.  Among the many cousins and other family members who will remember Chris and his perseverance in life and happiness his uncle Doug Ferguson and 2 cousins Dean and Kent will likely miss him most.


Born too early and with too little oxygen Chris was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and later grand mal epilepsy.  Over the years he struggled with kidney failure and a myriad of other conditions and ailments.  Regardless of all of these hardships, Chris always loved and found great joy in his life and his family.  He graduated from school, worked for many years in a sheltered workshop and bowled in the “Pinbusters” league.  You would find him listening to ABBA or watching a James Bond movie with a “near” beer in hand. He still played rummy with a dear family friend and hoarded the aces every time.  He was just a guy - but he was “our guy”. 


Chris was fortunate to be born to Gerry and Lori Van Santen almost 56 years ago.  When faced with the daunting task of addressing Chris’ needs they did not balk.  When Chris was young and growing up there didn’t exist the accommodations and equipment we have today to ease the life of those with challenges.  In many ways his parents lead the way for those with special needs. He lived at home with them in the Beach (which they had modified for him) until his father’s passing in 2009.   Shortly after he and his mother Lori moved briefly to Niagara-on-the-Lake to live next door once again to his beloved Auntie Mare (recently passed) and Uncle Doug.  When their needs grew, Chris and his mother returned to Toronto to live in Chester Village near his sister.  At Chester they made new friends and family.


He touched and inspired so many lives and will be sadly missed by all who knew him.  He was strong and yes, even stubborn but it got him through these struggles giving us all the chance and privilege to have him with us as long as he could endure.  We are better people for knowing and loving him.


Please celebrate his life alongside us on Friday, January 19, 2018 from 1:30-4 p.m. with a tribute to Chris beginning at 2 p.m. at Beach United Church (140 Wineva Avenue, Toronto, north of Queen St. E.) A reception will follow the tributes. 


To make memorial donations in Chris' name to the March of Dimes or St. Michael's Hospital Foundation as well as to share memories and obtain further information, please visit the links provided on this page. 


Uniquely entrusted to eco Cremation & Burial Services Inc.

Life Celebrations. Done Differently.


Heaven’s Very Special Child


A meeting was held quite far from Earth

“It’s time again for another birth”,

Said the angels to the Lord above

“This special child will need much love”


His progress may seem very slow,

Accomplishments he may not show

And he’ll require extra care

From the folks he meets away down there.


He may not run or laugh or play

His thoughts may seem quite far away

In many ways he won’t adapt,

And he’ll be know as handicapped.


So lets be careful where he’s sent

We want his life to be content

Please Lord, find the parents who

Will do a special job for you.


They will not realize right away

The leading role they are asked to play

But with this child sent from above

Comes stronger faith and richer love.


And soon they’ll know the privilege given

In caring for this gift from heaven,

Their precious charge, so meek and mild

Is “Heaven’s Very Special Child”.


                Author Unknown.