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Date of Passing: Aug 15, 2020

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Suddenly, after a brief illness, John Christian (Chris) Badertscher died August 15, 2020, with family at his side. He was 58.
The arc of Chris' extraordinary life was shaped by a brain tumour, which sparked his precocious development as a child. Surgery at the age of two left him affected by permanent brain damage and prone to epileptic seizures. Still, just one day after that operation, Chris the toddler was standing in his hospital bed, reading out loud a story book he had memorized.
Chris was raised by parents who rejected the consensus that so-called special needs people have nothing to offer society and should be hidden away in institutions. Yes, Chris had needs, as everyone does. And he certainly was special. Chris left an impression on everyone he met, from his family and friends, to the people he lived with, to the caregivers and medical professionals who looked after him, to colleagues and the driver who took him to Imaginability, where he worked for more than 30 years.
Chris taught everyone about life. He taught us to love language. He had a compulsion to read aloud every word that passed in front of his eyes, from the boxcars on a passing train, to the weekly TV guide. That love of language informed a wicked sense of humour. Televangelists were named "The Revenue…" not "The Reverend..." If he liked you, he might give you a nickname that included a play on words. And if you got a nickname, that meant a lot.
His remarkable ability to read extended to people - Chris knew who the good ones were. At the same time, he was accepting of others and himself. "I have a fat tummy," he would say in his later years, "and that's OK."
Chris had a direct personality. He had his routines - he knew what was supposed to be on TV at what time, and could get upset when those routines were disrupted. But in his heart, Chris was an optimist. He was always looking ahead to "Janawary," when all the good things he wanted to happen would happen.
Chris leaves behind his mother, Patricia Walker; father, John Badertscher (Lynn Stevens); sister, Elisabeth Woolner (Derek); and brother, Paul (Tania Costanzo); as well as nieces and nephews across the country. He was predeceased by stepfather, Peter Walker. Chris also leaves behind housemates and friends from the community home run by St. Amant, where he lived for his last three years.
He will be laid to rest in the cemetery of St. Andrews on the Red.
In lieu of flowers, Chris' family asks that donations be made to the St. Amant Foundation,

Condolences may be sent to

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Aug 19, 2020

Condolences & Memories (16 entries)

  • By thoughts and prayers go out to John and Lynn. It so hard to lose a child, but is sounds from the beautiful tribute that he live a full life and he touched many lives. 😇💜 - Posted by: Janice Gerbrandt (Friend of Tracey’s) on: Aug 22, 2020

  • Dear Pat and family, I have very rich memories of Chris. I knew him in the late eighties, early nineties when he first started at ImagineAbility, then named Versatech, and when he first began being supported by L'Avenir Inc. He was such an interesting person - he knew his own mind, and as you say in your lovely remembrances he knew how he felt about people. I think that sometimes our efforts just seemed too odd or foolish for him to entertain. He was a truly memorable person and I was very fond of him. The love and acceptance of Chris' family enabled him to have the life he wanted. Well done - one can't wish for more. - Posted by: Cheryl Martens (Work related) on: Aug 22, 2020

  • I met Chris when he attended a summer program at the North YMCA, 42 years ago. Chris delighted all of us with his knowledge of television shows and many other things. He, along with others who attended the program, were important teachers to me. - Posted by: Zana Lutfiyya (Acquaintance) on: Aug 22, 2020

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I remember Chris from a time when you attended St Mark's. Chris's love of reading everything that passed in front of his eyes is a fond memory, that was sparked by the beautiful tribute you have given to him. May his memory always be a part of your heart and the gifts he has given you serve to make you stronger as your mourn his loss. - Posted by: Barb Leisle (from St Mark's Lutheran Church) on: Aug 21, 2020

  • My sincere condolences Paul to you and all your family. - Posted by: Diane O.D. (Colleague of Paul) on: Aug 20, 2020

  • Such a beautiful tribute to a beautiful human being. My sincere condolences to Paul and his family. May all the wonderful memories continue to bring a smile to your faces and warmth to your hearts. - Posted by: Nancy S (Paul's colleague) on: Aug 20, 2020

  • My sincere condolences, Paul and family. I didn't know Chris, but reading this wonderful tribute, I wish I did. He seems to have had a very fulfilling life, and to have brought love and laughter to the people around him. That is a great gift. I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers. - Posted by: Sophie Allard (Work colleague of Paul) on: Aug 20, 2020

  • I am very sorry to hear about your loss. My prayers and thoughts are with you all. Hope you'll find strength in the memories that he's leaving behind. - Posted by: Anneke (Colleague of Paul) on: Aug 20, 2020

  • Dear Pat & Family, I met Chris many years ago at Prince Charles School. As well,I did do some overnight respites with Chris . He was lots of fun,he liked to watch t.v .. Chris would pretend to be a news broadcaster.He was great at that,he spoke very well. - Posted by: Frances (Respite Worker) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • John and Lynn: My sincere condolences to you wonderful friends and your family, at this sad time. Love and blessings. Norma Lowe - Posted by: Norma Lowe (Friend) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • Working with Chris these last 9 months have been a pleasure! He made me smile just looking at me and giving his big grin, or asking me what was on next on channel 6 then explained to me what was on! He will be dearly missed! And forever remembered!!! - Posted by: Kara Flett (Chris’ support staff ) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • I am sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you and your family during these difficult times. - Posted by: Dominique (Colleague of Paul) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • Gosh Paul, the entire Badertscher family and the community of friends, having not known John makes me wish to have had one single moment with him. What a gift he was that filled your life with happiness. I am terribly sorry for your loss and hope the loving memories heal your broken heart. - Posted by: Thu Phan (Paul's Friend) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • John and Lynn my sincere sympathies during this difficult time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. - Posted by: Christine Robidoux (Bray) (worked for John at U of W) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • My sincere condolences on your loss. I remember Paul speaking so fondly and proudly of his big brother and whole family. What a beautiful tribute to Chris. - Posted by: Lorraine (friend of Paul & Tania) on: Aug 19, 2020

  • Pat, I know you'll miss him terribly, but he had a good life filled with much love. Thoughts & prayers with you. - Posted by: Pat Allan (friend) on: Aug 19, 2020

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