Born: March 14, 1940
Died: August 4, 2009

Christopher M. Blaisdell grew up in Santa Ana, California and prepared for Yale at the Webb School in Claremont, California. He was the grandson of Walter Blaisdell, inventor of the Zippo lighter, and the son of Dr. Jack Schoonmaker Blaisdell and Famie Jane Blaisdell.

Freshman year Chris, who was nicknamed "Jake" at Yale, roomed with Phil DeChabert and Craig Whitaker in Wright Hall. Sophomore year he was a member of Davenport College but left Yale in January 1960 after the Suzie Incident. Jim Gambrill and Phil were his roommates in Davenport. Jim remembers him quite well:

I remember Chris, or, as we called him at Yale, Jake, quite well from those days. Jake was an original. He had a terrific sense of humor and laughed a great deal. He didn't care at all whether anyone liked him, and, perhaps as a result, everyone did like him. For him, minor rules were made to be ignored. Phil DeChabert and I roomed with him in Davenport College sophomore year, together with Craig Whitaker. I remember Jake pulling out of New Haven from Park Street behind Davenport in his beloved Microbus (whose clutch he had stripped more than once descending hills on the way to Vassar), all smiles, but giving us to understand he would not reapply to Yale. Jake was very southern California, into surfing and the casual lifestyle. He used Valley Girl speech before most of us knew anything about it. For example, he was the first person I ever heard use the word, "bitchin" to mean something very good, as in, "There's bitchin surf at Malibu today." As you might guess, Jake was easygoing, live and let live, and while he did fine academically, he would never let it be said that he worked hard at his studies. Jake was a lovable guy, whom, I think, few people knew well or deeply.

Phil added:

Chris was quite a character, a real individualist, who would schedule his days so as to be able to date local girls during the week and lead his life fully, without fanfare, but as he saw fit! The other notable characteristic was his very California way of life, and when he left, I seem to remember that he did so without too much regret, rather philosophically!

Chris graduated from University of California-Berkeley after leaving Yale. He received his law degree from Hastings School of Law in 1969 and then commenced a successful 40 year law practice. He practiced in Palm Springs for 15 years and in Palm Desert for 25 years until his death from cancer.

The Desert Sun, his local newspaper, headlined its article on his death by describing him as a "Palm Desert real estate attorney and Bon Vivant who represented celebrities, local officials and the working class in The Coachella Valley." Among other Hollywood denizens, he represented 1930's hoofer Ruby Keeler and gossip columnist Rona Barrett.

An obituary supplied by his prep school characterized Chris "as a talented attorney with the rare ability to get along with everyone. He had great humor, a huge heart, and was always willing to help his friends in need of legal advice - often cutting business and property owners a break on legal fees when they needed it during the slower summer months. An avid golfer and fantastic singer of show tunes who loved to kick up his heels and dance, Chris had a contagious zest for life and his crooning abilities during open mike night at The Nest in Indian Wells were legendary! He will be terribly missed by his family and many Coachella Valley friends!"

His daughter Amy Blaisdell, Communications Director for the City of Palm Springs, said her father "was known for his heart and good humor. He was a legend in Palm Desert, a true gentleman, always willing to help those in need."

He is survived by his companion of 10 years, Inge Fullerton of Bermuda Dunes, California; and his two daughters, Amy of Palm Springs and Sarah Blaisdell, a nursing student at College of the Desert. He is also survived by his five year old grandson, James Christopher Puchi of Palm Desert; his father Dr. Jack Schoonmaker Blaisdell, M.D., M.S., of Durango, Colorado; his brother Nicholas also of Durango; his sister Jan Blaisdell Taft of Camden, Maine; and his former wife Diane Blaisdell of La Quinta, California. His mother predeceased.

Chris was a lifelong dog lover and the family suggested donations be made to Paws & Hearts of Palm Desert, the Palm Springs Animal Shelter or to the Webb School in his memory.

A bon vivant with California spirit, as remembered by DeChabert and Gambrill, Chris went on to flourish in the Southern California desert. He is remembered there likewise. Bon Vivant - not a bad epitaph, indeed.