The Department of Economics was shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the death of Fiscal Specialist Chris Fendrich on June 18. Chris was doing one of the things he enjoyed the most - running - when he was hit by a car and died from his injuries.
Chris began working in the Department of Economics in 2005. He brought a calm demeanor to his work: patiently explaining complicated issues to students and faculty alike, while always taking the time to help anyone who needed assistance. Those who knew him well appreciated his subtle sense of humor, his joy, his kindness, and his ability to show a genuine interest in others. He was nominated for the University-wide Distinguished Staff Award in 2008.
Chris grew up in northern Florida (he could surprise people with a fine Southern drawl on occasion) before moving to Washington in his late teens. He earned a B.S. in math from UW, and after stints earning a teaching certificate and volunteering for the Peace Corps, he began his career at UW. He soon met his life partner, Barbara (Barb) Mack, who worked in the neighboring Department of Philosophy.
While maintaining a strong sense of humility, Chris was a man of many interests and talents. He was an excellent distance runner, winning several local races and completing the 2013 Boston Marathon in 2 hours 39 minutes. He loved to cycle, both as a commuter and in occasional long-distance rides. His philanthropic efforts included frequent blood donations and serving as the Department's Combined Fund Drive coordinator. Later in life, after he and Barb bought a house, he discovered an aptitude for home renovation.
The loss of Chris leaves a void in the department, both on a professional and a personal level. All who knew him will miss his kind words, his caring heart, his ready smile, his sense of fun, and his concern for all. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Chris's honor to his favorite charities: Bloodworks Northwest, Compass House, and Smile Train.