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Farewell to Mr. Tonawanda

Dare I say there has never been a nickname that fit someone better than"Mr. Tonawanda" did for Christopher Slauson.

Spend some time around Tonawanda athletic events, which I did plenty of during my time as the sports editor at the Tonawanda News, and you got to know Chris. You couldn't miss him. He was there, rain or shine, proudly wearing his maroon-and-white THS jacket. He was, without a doubt, the biggest fan of the Warriors' athletic program I've ever known.

It's with a heavy heart tonight that I've learned Chris has passed away. For those who never got a chance to meet him, I'm sorry. You would have loved him. Everyone did.

Chris graduated in 1998 from THS. He was developmentally disabled, and faced more health challenges than anyone 33 years old (his birthday just passed Oct. 22) should. Not that you'd ever know. Chris was one of the sweetest people you'd ever hope to meet, quick with a smile and a high five.

He was known to send birthday cards to his friends -- he had a lot of them -- and clip articles out of the local newspaper, which he would then give to the person the article was written about, for a keepsake.

He describes himself perfectly on the "About Christopher" section of his Facebook page: "I like to be out in the community. ... I love attending Tonawanda Warrior football games. ... I love the community City of Tonawanda."

And it loved you back, Chris, as the posts on your Facebook page tonight have shown.

All are beautiful tributes to a man with a beautiful spirit. Rest in peace.

---Jay Skurski

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