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Chris Harper
May 16, 1965 - July 3, 2015
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<div itemprop="description">Chris Harper 16 May 1965 - 3 July 2015 <br /> <br />Chris Harper, a teacher, who loved to relax with long bicycle rides, died Friday, July 3, when his bicycle was struck from behind on Tremaine Road in Milton, by a motorist who police said fled the scene. Chris was 50 and leaves behind a wife and five children, ages 3 to 13. <br /> <br />Halton Regional Police say the driver, a 33-year-old Oakville woman, faces multiple charges, including impaired driving causing death and failure to remain at the scene. <br /> <br />Weepy and confused, Harper&rsquo;s 8-year-old daughter, Lia, had questions Sunday morning. What will we do now on Father&rsquo;s Day? she asked her mom. (They discussed planting a rose bush.) Why didn&rsquo;t the driver see Daddy on his bike? <br /> <br />&ldquo;We talked about how the lady had made a terrible mistake, and sometimes we make mistakes we can fix, like telling a lie,&rdquo; said Chris&rsquo; wife, Melissa, 40. &ldquo;But this was a mistake we cannot fix, and that is just the way it is.&rdquo; <br /> <br />His family has scheduled a 4 p.m. memorial service for Harper on Wednesday, July 8, at Glen Oaks Funeral Home and Cemetery in Oakville. A small reception at the funeral home will follow. <br /> <br />In addition to his wife, an English teacher at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Secondary School in Mississauga, Chris is survived by five children: Luke, 13; Nicole, 12; Lia, 8; Alison, 4; and Joseph, 3; by his mother, Nancy of Burlington; by sisters Susan of Ottawa, and Fay and her husband Ted of Burlington, by brothers Peter and his wife, Jacqui, of Newmarket, and Jon and his wife Joan of Waterdown; and by numerous nieces and nephews. <br /> <br />Chris taught history and economics at Meadowvale Secondary School in Mississauga, where students and teachers over the weekend left hundreds of flowers and messages in his memory. A colleague at the school, and friends of his widow, started two separate online fund drives, to benefit Chris&rsquo; wife and children. <br /> <br />Chris was a devoted dad who would pack the kids in the car for long summer road trips, loved to read, and worked hard to inspire his students. He listened to James Taylor, Roy Orbison, and The Beatles; he loved to barbecue meat on the grill; and he had a taste for dill pickles and expensive cheeses. <br /> <br />He fell in love with bicycling as an undergraduate at Queen&rsquo;s University, where he took three- or four-hour rides to relieve stress. Although his rides became shorter in recent years, he regularly pedaled his bicycle on a route that took him from his home in Oakville through Milton and back. <br /> <br />He was on that route, about 15 minutes from his home, when he was killed on Friday. <br /> <br />Chris left the house at about 8:20 p.m., so he would be home before dusk. His bicycle was equipped with a flashing red light in the rear and a bright white light in front. <br /> <br />Melissa lost track of the time, then realized it was 10 p.m. and Chris had not yet come home. Worried for his safety, she climbed into the family minivan and began tracing his bike route. When she reached Tremaine Road in Milton, a Halton Regional Police cruiser blocked the way. She stopped the van, got out to talk to the police officer, and within half an hour learned her husband was dead. <br /> <br />Chris had gone out without his wallet and identification; police identified him through his wife&rsquo;s cell phone, which he carried in a pouch beneath the bicycle&rsquo;s seat. <br /> <br />Chris was born in May, 1965, at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario, the youngest of five children of Ed and Nancy Harper. He grew up in Burlington, playing sports, joining the Boy Scouts, and graduating from Lord Elgin High School. His father, Ed Harper, died at age 51 when Chris was 11. <br /> <br />Chris received a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours from Queen&rsquo;s University in 1992, worked for two years as an economic researcher for the Bank of Canada in Ottawa, then decided he wanted something different. He loved economics, but he disliked sitting in an office all day and realized he needed more contact with people. He wanted to become a teacher. <br /> <br />Chris made a lasting impression on dozens of students who posted comments online. Ryan Bignell described him as, &ldquo;a kind and caring goofball of a teacher,&rdquo; adding, &ldquo;We sure did butt heads with each other, but I wouldn&rsquo;t be nearly as passionate about the social sciences if it wasn't for Mr. Harper. He challenged me to do better each and every day.&rdquo; <br /> <br />Chris&rsquo; influence helped one former student choose a career in history. Several credited him with boosting their self-image. <br /> <br />&ldquo;He encouraged me to follow my passion when I was feeling unsure about my future, and I don't think I would be where I am now without that advice,&rdquo; Sarah Lefebvre wrote. &ldquo;He always spoke so fondly of his kids during class, and I'm heartbroken that they have to grow up without him now.&rdquo; <br /> <br />After leaving the Bank of Canada, Chris traveled, worked in bookstores, took college courses, and held other jobs before receiving his Bachelor of Education degree from York University in 2001. <br /> <br />He met his wife in May, 2004, on a date orchestrated by a mutual friend. Melissa had recently moved back to the Toronto area with her two children following the breakup of her first marriage, and although she wasn&rsquo;t looking to start a relationship, Melissa decided it couldn&rsquo;t hurt to make a new friend. <br /> <br />&ldquo;We both had a similar reaction&rdquo; following their first date at The Queen&rsquo;s Head pub in Oakville, Melissa said. &ldquo;Each of us thought the other seemed like a very nice person. But we didn&rsquo;t know if it was going anywhere.&rdquo; <br /> <br />Still, they exchanged emails and went on a second date the following month. This time they fell in love. They married and had three more children. <br /> <br />On Sunday, as she tried to help her children grieve for their father, Melissa gave each of them a piece of paper. &ldquo;I said, &lsquo;You can draw a picture or write him a note. It can be private, and we&rsquo;re going to take it to Daddy and tuck it in his pocket.&rsquo; Things were so sudden. I felt they needed some way to say goodbye and to give him something.&rdquo; <br /> <br />Lia, the 8-year-old daughter who had worried about Father&rsquo;s Day, had a question about the note, too. <br /> <br />&ldquo;Lia asked if this was the last time we would be making a card for Daddy,&rdquo; Melissa said. &ldquo;And I said no, we would make all the cards we wanted. We can read them to him at the cemetery.&rdquo; <br /> <br /> <br /> <br />Please take a moment to sign the online guest book for Chris. <br />A trust fund has been set up for his five children's education and a link to contribute is located at the bottom of this page under the heading Make a Donation. <br /> <br />OR <br /> <br />Please consider donating to the CIBC account that has been set up to help Melissa and her children over the upcoming months. 100% of donations made to this fund will go directly to to the family. <br />Donations can be made in two ways: <br />1. In person at any CIBC branch. You will need to provide the transit #04922 and the account #5475392. <br />2. Online through an e-transer with your own bank. You will need to provide the following information: <br />Name: Melissa Hill <br />Email: <br />Security question: donor's choice (as the answer will be donation) <br />Security answer: donation <br /></div>