Christopher James Guertin began his adventure on Nov. 7, 1976. He grew up in Northfield, Vermont, on the banks of “the mighty Dog.” There he forged friendships that would literally last a lifetime. He grew up bombing down mountains with his brother, Jesse, skiing as soon as he could walk.
Topher, as he was known, was smarter than anyone ever knew, a well of hidden talents. He remembered obscure pieces of trivia, read all kinds of books, cracked jokes with an incredibly quick wit, sang with a perfect tenor, was a master builder, and came up with all manner of solutions to problems. They may not have always been pretty, but they nearly always worked.
Topher loved to travel. From Budapest to Hawaii, Topher found his way around the world on a shoestring budget and with an open mind and an open heart. It was on the way home from one such adventure that he stumbled upon the woman who would be his partner for the rest of his life. He and Jessa smiled at each other for the first time in 1999 and then chased one another back and forth across the country for years, making friends and making memories.
In 2009, Topher and Jessa welcomed their son, Milo, into the world. Topher once remarked that he never knew how much of his heart he could actually use until he met his son. His children, Milo and Juniper (born in 2013), were the great loves of his life. He admired their independent spirits in the same way so many admired him.
To know Topher was to be shown all the best secret spots, all the best fruiting trees, all the best uncarved trails. He could hike into anywhere and come back grinning and carrying berries.
He was always down to help out. Even if that meant going into a Katrina-ravaged landscape to rebuild. Or, on the same night he died, helping a man who was stranded, having medical trouble, on the side of a flooding road. But Topher was as much a small gesture man as he was a big gesture guy. He was the one who would help you fix your house. He would check in on your relatives. He would change your tire. He would find out where the oil was leaking from. He would take your friend from out of town to the best swim spot. He would buy your kid a creemee.
He was the kind of guy everyone remembers, and remembers with a smile. People still tell Topher stories in Santa Cruz, in Colorado, in Burlington, in Alaska, wherever there is a beach or a campfire. His name will still keep people smiling for years to come. The smile that will live on in his gorgeous children.
Topher is survived by his partner of over two decades, Jessa Loranger, their two children, Milo and Juniper; his mother, Page; his brother and sister in-law, Jesse and Kim, and their children, Remy and Laurel; his aunt and uncle, Ann Marie Rollins and Rob Walley; his mother in-law, Cindy Loranger; his brother-in-law Seth and Seth’s children Tavian, Kaden, and Jalee, and their mother Chrissy; his brother-in-law Dustin and wife Melissa Loranger, their children Emma and Abby; and his hundreds of loyal friends.
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