As I write this, it's very hard to keep my composure.

I received and email from Catriena & Dave Kauffman, letting me know that that their son Cris had passed away from an epileptic seizure. He was only 27; the same age as my son Ryan.

In fact, they went to school together first at Haverhill Elementary School and through to Portage Northern High School. The Kauffmans were not only our friends and neighbors but also part of the Rocker family. They would often be part of our events over the last 25 years, and I was always glad to see them.

Kauffman family
Kauffman family

In the email Catriena sent me, she reminisced the fact that Cris would hear me on the radio as a young man and they would tell him, "That is Ryan's dad!"

And Cris would say, "That is awesome I want to do what Ryan's dad does!"

That was the part that made me lose it -- that and the fact that no parent should outlive their child.

When I read the MLive article Catriena sent me, I was amazed to see the impact Chris made on the area's music community. I'd like to think that this kind, respectful kid was in some way influenced by the music he heard me play while growing up, which led him to pursue a life that was filled with music.

Kauffman Family
Kauffman Family

Cris Kauffman: A musical life well played.


Many of the people whose lives HE touched will be gathering at Shakespeare's Pub in downtown Kalamazoo to play music, raise a glass and just be a part of the the emotional connection that drew Cris to the community that will miss him so much.

  • What: Cris Kauffman Tribute Show
  • When: April 3 from 8 p.m. to  2 a.m.
  • Where: Shakespeare's Pub Lower Level, 241 E Kalamazoo Ave, Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
  • Who: Everyone welcome (must be at least 21)
  • Cost: $5 cover
  • More info:The celebration is also a fundraiser with multiple bands throughout the night. All proceeds from this show will go directly to the Kauffmans. There will also be a buffet, so come hungry! If you can't make it, you can donate to the Kauffman's GoFundMe site.

Check out Cris' music:

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