'Great person, great coach:' Chris Kellar remembered

Skye Kinkade
“That is when he was happiest,” said Chris Kellar's father, Ray, “Surrounded by his family.” Chris, center, died in an accident on I-5 Thursday morning. He is survived by his wife, Alisha, and their sons, 10 year-old Michael and 19 month-old Jacob.

A Weed man who “touched many hearts” through his coaching of youth sports is being remembered as a dedicated husband, father, son, brother, and friend.

Chris Kellar, 37, died in a traffic accident on Thursday, Sept. 21. He and his wife, Alisha, have two sons: 10 year-old Michael and 19 month-old Jacob.

The accident occurred around 10 a.m. on I-5 southbound near the Weed Airport while Chris was at work for Foothill Distributing. He was driving a GMC van when he collided with the rear of a semi-truck pulling a box trailer, according to the Yreka area California Highway Patrol. The driver of the semi-truck was reportedly not injured.

Chris and Alisha, who celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary on Sept. 10, had recently moved into a new house near Weed Elementary School.

“Things were going great,” said Chris’s father, Ray, who is the principal/superintendent of Dunsmuir High School. “He was a pretty private person, but he loved kids, and he loved working with them. He loved his family so much.”

Chris was an avid sports fan who volunteered countless hours coaching and developing youth baseball in the area.

He coached Little League ever since his son Michael was old enough to play, Ray said, and also coached Michael’s South Siskiyou All Star team and AAU baseball team.

“Chris got a lot of sponsors together to get the AAU team going,” said fellow coach Chico Rivera. “He was always willing to help and would do anything for children.”

“He was such a great guy, a great friend, a great person,” said Jeremy Porteous, who grew up with Chris. As adults, the two friends coached both of their sons together. “He cared about the future of kids. He was a role model, and was committed to teaching them the right way to play. I can’t emphasize enough what a wonderful person he was.”

“I just loved him,” Ray said. “When he asked me to help him with youth sports, it was a huge honor. He had enough consideration for my knowledge - I coached him when he was a little guy - and he wanted my help.”

Chris played in local men’s softball for about a decade, Ray said. He and his Budweiser teammates played in various tournaments, including the Jimmy Jackson memorial tournaments at Carnevale, and Fiesta. He was usually the captain of his team and played for friendly competition and fun.

“It's amazing how quick life can change,” said Eddie McGinnis, who went to high school, attended fire academy, and played men’s softball with Chris.“Chris always had a smile, and was the type of friend where even when you haven’t seen each other for a while, you could pick up right where you left off.

Chris was a huge Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics, and Golden State Warriors fan. He graduated from Mount Shasta High School in 1999.

Family and friends gathered at Graffiti Bridge in Mount Shasta Saturday afternoon to paint the bridge in Chris’s honor. They used his favorite team colors: black and silver, green and gold.

“There no words right now,” said Chris’s sister, Tiffany. “He was an amazing brother, father, and was loved by so many. I am really seeing how many hearts he has touched.”

In addition to his wife and children, Chris leaves behind his mother, Linda, and father, Ray; his sister, Tiffany; grandparents Mary and Jerry Kellar; great-grandmother, Betty Crowell; and a large extended family. He was predeceased by twin brothers Casey and Joshua, who passed away in 1982.

Community members and friends have set up a Meal Train for those who would like to help the family with meals during this difficult time. Go to www.signupgenius.com/go/ 4090f4eaba823a4fb6-kellar to sign up.

Donations to help support Alisha and the boys may be dropped off at the business office at Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta (Alisha’s workplace).You may also make a donation at Tri Counties Bank.

A memorial service for Chris will be held at Lobis Field in Weed on Friday, Sept. 29, at 11 a.m., with a reception to follow afterward. Please bring a chair and a pop-up, if you’d like.