The man went to work everyday.
So said Susan McFadden about her son, Christopher McFadden. The Frankfort resident and school board member was found dead June 29 in his home.
The attorney employed by Mahoney, Silverman & Cross law firm, Christopher also was a graduate of Harvard University and Northwestern University School of Law, former Assistant U.S. Attorney and a former Lincoln-Way Community High School District 210 Board of Education member. He was most recently serving as a Frankfort School District 157-C Board of Education member.
“Public service was important to him,” Susan said, noting Christopher’s affinity for treating each of his clients with respect. “He was the purest of heart, and he never did anything for the wrong reason.”
The world is full of people with stories to tell and Christopher was the type of person who always tried to help them, Susan said.
“If there were ever a person who lived by the Golden Rule, I want to meet him,” Susan said. “That was him.”
Susan added, “He was the type of person who took care of ordinary people.”
“We were really close, and I’m heartbroken,” said Renato Mariotti of Chicago, Christopher’s friend. “I met Chris in 2008 when he started at the U.S. Attorney’s Office. We went up the ranks together. He was a good friend. When I needed help getting trial experience, he gave me opportunities sit on cases with him. We became close.”
Mariotti characterized Christopher as a man of values and said there are not too many funny, good-natured prosecutors like him.
“He left his job in the city to be closer to his kids,” he said. “That made an impression upon me. He left a really good job. He made a choice not many lawyers would make. They can’t find a way to create that balance.”
The impression Christopher had left was strong, said Erin Haldorson of Joliet, Christopher’s friend and a classmate of his from Joliet West High School’s graduating Class of 1993.
“As a kid, a classmate with that mix of qualities is unforgettable,” Haldorson said. “We had about 500 kids in our graduating class, and I bet you would be hard pressed to find one person who didn’t know Chris. Chris made school interesting. As an adult, Chris kept his edgy and outrageous sense of humor, but his kind and caring side was more at the surface. His wife, Sarah, and their three children were the loves of his life, and they brought out a softer side to him.”
Long before Christopher came of age, he demonstrated an interest in politics and public service and later followed through with that. But it was not all work and no play for this Frankfort man.
Christopher’s brother, Jim McFadden of Gainesville, Florida, said he is grateful for the wonderful times they shared as siblings.
“We did a lot of trips together, jobs,” he said. “Actually, we worked together umpiring and refereeing games.”
Jim remembers the last time the family came together in January.
“It was at our parent’s 45th anniversary,” he said. “We were able to talk. Most everybody was there. We had a good meal, nice laughs.”
Christopher’s younger brother, Dan McFadden of Minneapolis, said Christopher will be missed.
“He was 12 years older than me,” he said. “Christopher was close with Jim, and we grew closer later in life. He took care of me. He took me to orchards and apple picking when mom was busy. Being 12 years older, he provided good advice and he helped me find my path in life. He was very much like a captain. He was good at giving advice and opinions. I think we bonded well.”
The story of Christopher’s life is one that boasts of many great highlights, Dan said.
“I think what I admire most is he knew all the right things to say—whether it was really funny or good advice,” he said. “He could tailor it to any situation. Another thing is he had this sense of optimism even in the darkest of times, that never wavered.”
Dan wants his brother to know how appreciative he is to have known him.
“I hope he knows I tried to act like him as much as I can—super kind, generous,” he said, noting that Christopher often taught him lessons and knew how to cheer him up. “I want to make sure I keep that alive.”
Whenever the two were in the same town, Christopher and Dan met up for dinner in and around the area and basketball games at their alma mater, Northwestern University.
“That was one thing we shared,” Dan said. “We both shared that in common.”
Haldorson recalled the last time she, her fiancé, Christopher and his wife met up for lunch and said she never imagined it would be her last.
“It had been a couple months since we had done lunch,” she said. “It was a typical thing we would do… It was typical Chris. He always had a smile on his face. It was nothing out of the ordinary.”
Haldorson said the important thing to note is how much Christopher loved his family.
“I would like Chris to be remembered by the community for his devotion to Sarah, Brooke, Matthew, and Erin, as well as to his parents and brothers, Jim and Dan,” she said.
Haldorson went on to express how much she valued Christopher’s friendship, and cited his humor, intelligence and uniqueness as his best qualities.
“I’ve not known anyone like him, and I never will,” she said. “The the sad part of losing someone like him is you know you’ll never meet another one like him.”
Christopher McFadden, 41, was found dead in his home June 29. An autopsy and cause of death are pending.
Christopher is survived by his parents, Susan and Terry McFadden; his wife, Sarah Bay McFadden; and his three children, Brooke, Matthew and Erin. Christopher is also survived by two brothers, James (Ginger) and Daniel (Ashley); two nieces and one nephew.