Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Christian Gerard 1970-2007

I decided to wait until there was official notice from the family to post the sad news that Christian Gerard, the founder and ceo of Webfeat here in Toronto died last Wednesday.

There are times in ones career and life where you meet someone for whatever reason who just makes a strong impact on you and you aren’t even really sure why.

Christian was like that for me. He was one of the kindest people I had ever met with a passion for life and business that was absolutely infectious. He used to greet me with a hug and we would always have amazing and engaging conversations about ideas, marketing, and the world. He was what I like to call a square peg in a round hole, who never followed the trends but smartly navigated the ups and downs of the digital world to have an incredibly successful interactive agency that many people didn’t realize they were losing business to on an on-going basis.

The last time I saw Christian was over a year and half ago now. He had dropped by my house and we had a great chat. I saw him to the door. He was a big guy who had a little moped. He gave me his signature hug, threw on his very goofy looking helmet and plopped himself on his wee seat and gave me a big over exaggerated hand wave. It was classic Christian. It seemed to me that business for him wasn't about just making money, it was about connecting with people. He was a pure heart who did things for the right reasons and did them the right way, and he will be missed.

For anyone who wants to make a donation in remembrance, his family asked that we contribute to the following charities that meant the most to Christian:

Secondharvest.ca
Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario – Peer Support Group
The Heart and Stroke Foundation

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have the same memories - scooting in to work on a moped in the winter. Such a big guy with a goofy moped. The Classic Christian Contrast.

- Neal -

Former employee @ Webfeat

Imtiaz said...

I haven't been in contact with Christian for several years. I just thought about him and decided to google him when I found this Blog post. I am utterly shocked and deeply saddened by his loss. He was a great guy full of positive energy.

I remember whenever Christian walked into the room you could feel everything come alive. He had a positive impact on everything and everyone he came in contact with.

He will be greatly missed.

Andrea Gerard said...

Our friend Christina wrote these wonderful words about Christian -- he was truly a magnificent person and teacher of what it means to be alive. Enjoy.

We meet many people in our lives, but very few touch us so deeply. We are proud to say that Christian Gerard, a dear friend, loving husband, father, and son was one of these rare individuals.

Christian’s passion for life, for his family and friends, for his food and, for personal success truly made him a unique individual.
His infectious personality, brightly lit a dark room.
His gigantic hugs always warmed our souls on a rather cold day.
His passion for greatness made those difficult choices seem so simple.
His loyalty and generosity could be matched by none.
His sense of humour (although often a bit quarky) simply made the sadness disappear.

Ironically, although he lay so still during the last year of his live, he MOVED so many of us. And the name Christian, how perfect for such a saint!

But the true essence of his life, came from his positive attitude and deep commitment to living life to its fullest…with his family and friends always by his side.

Christian, thank you for inspiring everyone in your life and reminding us how to TRULY live a compassionate and fulfilling life. We were blessed to have you in our lives and may the legacy you leave behind, continue to inspire us to live life with those same values and principles.

To his wife Andrea, son, parents, friends and family, may his love of life remind us how fortunate we truly are to have been touched by such a wonderful, kind and fun-loving human being! There is no other friend that truly inspired us in the way he did and we have you to thank for this.

And may his son, James, continue to fill ALL our empty souls with Christian’s everlasting memories…and to teach us to value our loved ones each and every day.

Kate said...

dear Christian was my gorgeous cousin, such a funny, handsome,warm and big-hearted guy. I miss him so much, no words can describe. His life was overflowing with achievements and ambitions and enthusiasm for life..one day we'll have a giggle together again, god bless x

Geoff said...

I did not know Christian for very long, only a year or so. We were introduced through a mutual friend. He immediately took to me, offering his time and resources to bring my ideas to life. From what I read, he was like that with everyone. Free thinking, giving, conscientious, and above all, happy. He seemed truly happy with life.

I will miss our Mondays at Tim Horton’s, talking about all things internet, all things future. He was a great friend, he will never be forgotten.

Chris Carder said...

I met Christian about two years ago and was immediately engaged by his sense that everything and anything was possible. Although we'd meet frequently to talk business, he would eventually steer the conversation back to our ongoing dialogue about politics and how we might change the City and the Nation some day down the road. The day-to-day of business was an opportunity to build something greater. I appreciated that about him and I will miss that spirit, his laughter and presence greatly.

Heather Bosman said...

What an ideal forum to be able to pay tribute to Christian's life!

He made such a contribution to the business world and the people he associated with.

He was at times like "a bull in a china shop". I always knew to whip my glasses off before a hug. Yet he had a sensitive and such a loving side to him.

He was so proud of my daughter, his wife, Andrea and her accomplishments as a wife and mother and her personal growth in the business yet was sensitive to her tough feisty side too.

He doted on James, his son and my grandson. He'd tell me of his developing sense of humour--so like Christian and his walk at 2 1/2 was identical to Christian's.

Christian displayed such pride of accomplishment in everything he did, said and subtly reacted to.

What a wonderful sense of humour he had! Remember well his giggling and chuckling with my late husband. "Heh! Heh!".

He encouraged all to be the best they could be and repeatedly said that time heals all wounds.

He was much loved and will be missed!

Andrea Adams said...

Well, its been awhile, but Christian is never far from my thoughts. I moved to the USA in 2001 and when I thought of who I wanted to visit when I came home, the first person was Christian.

Something drew me to take the TTC to WebFeat in Nov. 2005 to catch up with an old friend. Someone who touched my life, as an old buddy, lifeguarding, and someone who I always knew would welcome me back home.

Sure enough he did. I had the chance to meet his wife, Andrea, and see photos of his son, James. What a thrill that day was!

I went back to AZ and felt a part of my history was kept intact with seeing Chris. He brought over Mikey T, and spoke of airplane Bob. He even looked up Sharon at Much Music and I was able to go over there to reconnect with her.

Memories of swimming pools, triathlons, and good friends were on the topic of conversation. Sue is on tv, he mentioned...and is still training hard with Hank. No surprise there! It was therapeutic and one of the most memorable visits back to Toronto. Especially when I had to find my way to Peter Street, in the snow, with the ice below my feet. Now, I had not seen snow in 5 years living in 100 degree weather in Arizona! It was not hard to find WebFeat, thanks to Corinne and I venturing out to The Oz on Friday nights!

I was so sorry to hear of his illness. It was even more difficult being so far away....but I did have the chance to speak with him throughout the year he was not well, and he was just the same as always.

Christian will always be who I think of when times are tough!

His laugh I can still hear.

He had an infectious personality...you had to just love him!

My thoughts go to his wife and son...

Just know...someone is AZ thinks of Christian pretty much daily.

He forever impacted my life!

Andrea Adams (MacPhail)

Susan said...

Christian was my best friend.
I am so happy that we had so many wonderful times together, that can never be taken away.
Christian is truly an inspiration to me. There is not one day that passes by without Christian being in my thoughts.
I really miss my wonderful friend with his great laugh and strong hugs.
He has touched so many people in his life.

Suse Nicol

Anonymous said...

Christian and I worked in parallel worlds, back in the late 1990's. I was building 'fin' and B2B sites and he was into just about everything else. We met to see how The Cane Group and Web Feat could collaborate. We shared an account or two, a United Way Campaign, and many ideas. Christian's energy was infectious. He was the real deal- completely authentic. How refreshing!

Christian has left a very large dent in the universe. I am shocked by his passing . . .too soon, too soon.

My heart goes out to his family and his colleagues at work. May time soothe the soul.

Respectfully remembered,
Brenda Cane
The Cane Group Inc.

Andrea Bentley-Cyr said...

I have just found out recently of Christian's passing. I knew him years ago while working at Flemingdon Resource Centre. He was always upbeat and always looked at life in a positive manner. I am very saddened to hear of his passing. He had so much to offer the world. I offer my sincere condolences to his family. He truly was an example on how to live life to the fullest. God bless you Christian and I am sure you'll be there for
your family even now.

Anonymous said...

i haven't seen Christian in years but am saddened to hear of his passing . . . my thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

respectfully,
deneen

Bob Westrope said...

Like others, I had not spoken with Christian for a couple of years, but decided to Google him today. I am shocked and saddened to learn of his illness and his passing last year. His enthusiasm for life and human connection was inspiring and infectious. I am especially sad that I took his presence for granted - I had always assumed that we would re-connect again one day. I shall miss that every single time I saw Christian he made me smile. I have no doubt that as I think of him in the future I will continue to smile - that's his legacy.

Anonymous said...

This is such sad news. I met Christian in 1997 when I worked for Levi's. I think we were one of his first really big accounts. He was awesome! He made me laugh every day. He'd call just to check in even though there was no business to discuss. He was just this really great guy!

I remember one day he called and made small talk for a while then asked, like it's an everyday sort of thing, "So Cath - when you're cooking rice is it supposed to look soupy or thick or somewhere in between? Is there some kinda trick to rice making??" I burst out laughing and tried to figure out what he had done. Seems he thought cooking rice would be just like cooking pasta so he tossed his cup of rice into a giant pot of boiling water and then planned to drain it. Christian thought it would be easier to call me for directions than to read the package. Too funny!

I am so sorry to his family and friends for this terrible loss. Christian and I were only in touch maybe once a year or so during the holidays, but the past two Christmases have been difficult in my family and I never e-mailed him nor did I realize I hadn't heard from him. When I tried to look up his e-mail on the Webfeat site I realized something was wrong and only found out when I googled him.

Christian, you will be sorely missed.

Paul Duffy said...

I needed a website and decided to Google Christian to see what he and Webfeat are doing.

Life…

I am dumbfounded and very sad.

About 15 or so years ago at the request of his Dad - whom I had met through an old client - I sat down with Christian in my office at the corner of King and John.

His dad figured because I was a few years older, had an office, clients and some truly remarkable new media staff that I could speak to his son. According to his dad, Christian was building these crazy things called websites in his basement and he wanted him out of the house - it was hilarious!

Needless to say, 15 minutes into the conversation with Christian I had found a fellow entrepreneur who I am sure went on to touch many, many people; leaving each of them better off for knowing him as he did I that fateful day so many years ago.

Periodically through the late 90’s Christian and I would meet, catch-up and cross mentor each other as both our businesses grew – our offices being a few short blocks apart.

I last spoke to Christian about ten years ago – his business, enthusiasm and spirit all thriving.

It was wonderful to see and how I have always remembered him.

My thoughts are with his immediate and extended family.

Respectfully, Paul Duffy

 
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