In Memoriam

Chris Marrion, Past President, The Friday Forum
(August 27, 1964 – December 30, 2021)

The Board of Directors of The Friday Forum deeply mourn the passing of fellow board member, Chris Marrion. Chris embodied the very best of our profession: a leader in advancement, a treasured colleague, an exemplary board member, and an esteemed mentor to many.

Chris’ journey took him from his distinguished work as Deputy Director of Silkroad under Artistic Director, Yo-Yo Ma, to the halls of his graduate school alma mater, the Boston University College of Fine Arts, where he served as Dean for Development and Alumni Relations, and more recently to the Hanover Theatre and Conservatory for the Performing Arts, as Vice President of Advancement.

Chris was instrumental in orchestrating The Friday Forum’s recent programming around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, most notably the creation of the acclaimed Belonging in Development series, as well as his excellent moderation of the discussion with Lee Pelton, CEO and President of The Boston Foundation, in the program, The Promise of the Boston Foundation.

Elected in November 2021 as the next President of The Friday Forum, Chris was ready to bring his passion and enthusiasm to growing and transforming The Friday Forum to tackle the greatest challenges and questions facing our profession. In recognition of all Chris contributed to The Friday Forum, we are honored to name him Past President.

Obituary

Christopher John Marrion of Dorchester, MA, passed away suddenly on December 30, 2021 while visiting family in Colorado with his husband Randy Weston, a continuation of Christmas celebrations with family in his hometown of Niantic CT. Chris was a cherished husband, son, brother, uncle, friend and colleague. Chris was born in New London, CT on August 27, 1964, the youngest of five children of Robert and Grace (Stone) Marrion, who survive their adored son.

Christopher’s lifelong passion for classical music began at a young age. He was more likely to listen to a Gilbert & Sullivan light opera than the Rolling Stones. His passion was cultivated in the East Lyme public school system, where he played trombone in the East Lyme High School marching band. Christopher made deep, lifelong friendships in the school auditorium and playing in the band on the football field. He added the bassoon to his repertoire and after graduation attended the New England Conservatory of Music. Chris followed his love for opera and graduated from the Conservatory with a degree in voice followed by a Master’s degree in voice from Boston University.

After his studies, Boston remained his home for almost forty years. While still a freelance musician singing in the U.S. and Europe, Chris began a nonprofit development career. He raised millions of dollars for numerous organizations, including the Boston Lyric Opera, Boston Children’s Hospital and AIDS Action Committee. He made some of his closest and deepest friendships at AIDS Action. His loss leaves a hole in the hearts of many whom he met during the AIDS crisis, while they helped those in need in the Boston community.
Chris spent many years under Artistic Director Yo-Yo Ma as Deputy Director of the Silk Road Ensemble. His friends and family could not wait for the latest story of his international travels with Yo-Yo for concert tours, priceless cello in hand. Chris was Assistant Dean for Development and Alumni Relations at the Boston University College of Fine Arts before recently taking on a role he was excited to start, as the Vice President of Advancement for the Hanover Theatre and Conservatory, a historic theatre and presenter in Worcester.

Chris was an accomplished baker and an elegant ballroom dancer. He sewed and knit items that friends mistook for the work of designers. His incomparable wit and sense of humor will be missed acutely by so many. Whenever he spoke, it was as though he had scripted his thoughtful and eloquent remarks in advance. The most extraordinary of his gifts may have been his ability to make others feel part of his brilliance and not diminished by it. Chris always knew what was needed to make those around him feel better.

Chris and Randy had been a couple for ten years before they were married in a glorious wedding in their treasured Provincetown, MA, in July 2010, surrounded by family, their huge group of wonderful friends who are so dedicated to one another, and far too many lobsters.
In addition to his parents and husband, Christopher is survived by his siblings and their spouses Ruth, Catherine, Tom, Gwen and Faith Marrion and Bob Doffek, and nieces and nephews Henry, Ray, Sarah, Andrew, Noah, Bob and Olivia to whom he was an amazing uncle, travel buddy, cheerleader, role model and mentor.

Celebration of Christopher’s life are being planned for Boston and New London CT, hopefully in early March. Please check back on Christopher’s facebook page or email us at cjmmemorial2021@gmail.com for details, a Zoom link or to be updated if it is necessary to reschedule.

In lieu of flowers, please remember Chris in a donation to the Hanover Theatre & Conservatory (thehanovertheatre.org), AIDS Action (AAC.org), or a charity that is important to you.

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