Chris Chennell - 1948-2018

Chris Chennell, one of McMinnville’s master teachers who lived life full tilt, died September 15, 2018, due to complications following a bone marrow transplant. He was 70.
Remembered by his family, friends and former students for his humor, creativity and inspirational teaching, Chris is survived by his wife, Cindy; daughters, Milli and Libby; son-in-law, Peter; grandson, Hank; and sisters, Irene and Nancy.
Born in Palo Alto, he was raised in Southern California where he was a practical joking skimboarder with a crew cut. By the time he graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, he had gone through several beard styles and had developed an interest in biology. Chris moved to Oregon for his alternative service as a conscientious objector. Chris’s long career as a science teacher began in Medellin, Colombia, and continued in Oregon at McMinnville Junior High and High School where he sometimes sported a perm, Hawaiian shirt and jellies. For two years he taught in Bitburg, Germany, returning to finish his career teaching in McMinnville. He retired in 2006.
Chris had an incredible enthusiasm for life. He shared his adventures mushroom hunting, clamming and gardening by taking friends along and by preparing meals of food he had gathered and grown. He was always game to get outside, whether it be rafting, skiing, bodysurfing, biking, rock and flamingo landscaping, running or traveling. But only after completing his daily New York Times crossword. He always had a project (or three) going, but was never too busy to host guests from around the world and share a glass of pinot or a pint of beer with a friend. Over the last year, Chris found great joy in spending time with his grandson, Hank. He charted an exceptional life and would be the last person to claim it as defining of himself. He was too, too busy living. He is dearly missed.
A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, October 20, in Mattie’s Room in the Hotel Oregon, McMinnville. Please plan to bring a favorite memory to share. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Chris’s honor to the charity of your choice. To leave online condolences, please visit


Web Design and Web Development by Buildable