January 13, 2022
Christopher John Eitzmann was born April 1, 1977, in Belleville, Kan. to Scott and Connie Eitzmann. He was the eldest of five siblings. He spent his childhood in Byron, Neb., on a family farm. He loved his upbringing and felt comforted by his small community, which he thought of as an extended family. He was a doting older brother and he cherished his role as protector for his younger siblings. As Chris grew on the farm, so did his love for the outdoors. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping, and found peace in wide open spaces. As an adult, Chris loved to recall stories for his children about the shenanigans he and his siblings got into on the farm, from building forts, jumping off the roofs of outbuildings, racing go carts, and spear fishing in the Republican River.
Chris was baptized on April 24, 1977, and confirmed in faith on June 2, 1991, at the St. Peter's church in Byron.
In high school, Chris emerged a leader both intellectually and athletically. Chris was proud to graduate valedictorian of his high school class in 1995. It was also in high school he developed his love for sports. His natural athleticism helped him to excel in any sport he chose to play. From basketball, to football, to track, he was a leader on and off the field. However, Chris's biggest love in sports was football. Though he started out playing only six man football, he was gifted enough to catch the eye of college recruiters from across the country. During his senior year, he was faced with the tough decision of playing either for Nebraska's beloved Tom Osborne and the Huskers, or following his adventurous heart to the east coast to attend Harvard and play for the Crimson.
In 1995, Chris made the 1,600 mile trek to Boston to begin his journey at Harvard University, pursuing a degree in psychology. While attending Harvard, Chris's football career flourished. Not only did he letter all four years, he was also nominated for First Team All Ivy League and All American Farm Team, in his senior season. Also, during his senior year, he was nominated captain of the team which he viewed as an immense honor. These accomplishments on the football field did not, however, detract from his devotion to his degree as he graduated Cum Laude in 2000.
After college, Chris set his sights on the NFL and started his professional football career with the New England Patriots. He played several seasons with the Patriots, the Packers, the Browns, and the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe. Some of Chris's most beloved memories from his college and professional football years did not necessarily have to do with games or practices, but instead with the many lifelong friendships he gained along the way.
In 2003, Chris moved back to Nebraska and married his high school sweetheart, Mikaela Kempf. They lived in Lincoln, where Chris began his career in finance with Merrill Lynch. His desire to excel led the couple to New Hampshire where he pursued his master's degree in business at Dartmouth College. Together there, they shared many adventures from skiing at Whistler to hiking in Costa Rica. Chris graduated from the program with honors in 2007.
After Chris's time at Dartmouth, the couple moved to Jamaica Plain, Mass., where he continued his career with Raptor Group and Putnam. During their time in Boston, the couple was blessed with four children, Coen, Asher, Seth, and Lila. It was when he had children that he discovered his true passion, being a father. As a Dad, what he wanted most was to encourage his children's curiosity and their understanding of unconditional love. Chris also cherished playing "Coach Dad" and passed on his love for sports to his children.
Chris will leave a legacy of faith, leadership, perseverance, determination, and devotion to family and friends.
Chris was preceded in death by his father-in-law, Michael Kempf of Shickley, Neb .; grandparents, Martin and Lola Eitzmann of Byron, grandmother, Alvina (Flathman) and Werner Hoops of Byron, grandfather, John Flathman of Chester; grand father-in-law, Rowen Kempf of Shickley, and grand-parents-in-law, Chet and Billie Larson of Edgar.
Chris is survived by his wife, Mikaela Eitzmann; and children, Coen, Asher, Seth and Lila Eitzmann of Shickley; his parents, Scott and Connie Eitzmann of Hardy; his brother, Nathan (Megan) Eitzmann of Blue Earth, Minn., sister, Tracy Garcia of Lincoln, Neb., brother, Barry (Danae) Eitzmann of Seward, brother, Cody (Taylor) Eitzmann of Seward; mother-in-law, Jill (Mike) Cavanaugh of Apple Valley, Minn .; sisters-in-law, Danielle (Doyle) Horwart of Burnsville, Minn., Jaimee Mannix of St Louis, Mo., Kirstyn Mannix of Minneapolis, Minn .; brothers-in-law, Jordan (Molly) Mannix of St Louis, Mo., and Kellen Mannix of Valdosta, Ga .; along with numerous nieces, nephews, family and friends.
A funeral for Chris was held at 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 8, at Peace Lutheran Church in Deshler. Pastor Joseph Love presided over the funeral. Julia Pohlmann and Marla Maschmann accompanied the congregation in the singing of "I Was There To Hear Your Borning Cry" and "In Christ Alone." Julia also accompanied Heath Hoge in the singing of "Amazing Grace." The recorded selection "I Am" was played as the final song.
Pallbearers for the service included Coen Eitzmann, Scott Larkee, Joe Mattson, Anthony Ackil, Artie Jones, Mike Shreve, Brian Lehmann, and Lance Kuhlmann. Honorary pallbearers included Asher Eitzmann, Seth Eitzmann, Lila Eitzmann, Nate Eitzmann, Barry Eitzmann, Cody Eitzmann, Brian Garrels, Heath Eitzmann, Judy Larkee, and Doyle Horwart.
Chris was cremated following the funeral and his ashes will be placed in the Shickley Cemetery at a later date.
Farmer & Son Funeral Home was in care of the arrangements and online condolences can be left at http://www.farmerandsonfuneralhome.com
Memorials are suggested to the Chris Eitzmann Memorial Fund for CTE Research at Concussion Legacy Foundation.