Christopher Edward Esten March 1, 1949 – September 13, 2023

Celebration of Life

 

September 30, 2023

Provided.

Christopher Edward Esten.

The family members and many friends of Christopher Edward Esten, 74, are mourning his unexpected passing on Sept. 13 in Tehachapi from cardiac arrest. Chris was a highly intelligent, honorable, funny, inquisitive and loving man who brought joy, kindness and laughter to his circle of friends, neighbors and family.

Chris spent his career as an aerospace engineer, and in his free time and after retirement he enjoyed travel, dining and exploring the world both in person and through documentaries and reading. He loved spending quality time with cherished friends, and most of all the time he spent with his beloved wife Kerri. Lucky for him, the two have been almost inseparable since their marriage in 1999. To quote Jimmy Buffet "She was a fine wife, and they had a good life."

Chris was born on March 1, 1949 in Louisville, Kentucky, the younger son of Perry and Ida Esten. His older brother was Jan. Chris's father Perry was an engineer who designed radio stations for the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe.

As a result of Perry's work, the Esten family lived all over the world as Chris grew up. Chris spent his boyhood living in many places, including the Philippines, Germany, Turkey, the U.S. and Portugal.

After graduating from Munich American High School in Germany in 1966, Chris enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to Vietnam in 1967. After serving a year in Vietnam, Chris made it back home and stayed in the service until 1970.

Chris then went to Northrup University in Inglewood, California where he graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor's of Science degree in aerospace engineering. Chris initially worked for Hughes Aircraft, and later for many different aerospace companies, often working with lasers and often in highly-classified programs. Chris moved to Tehachapi in 1994 when he was involved in aircraft flight testing in Mojave.

After retiring from the aerospace industry, Chris worked for a couple of years in Tehachapi as a real estate agent.

Chris experienced some health issues in recent years that slowed him down, but he and Kerri continued to travel overseas by planes, ships, trains and cars. Among their favorite destinations were Germany, Croatia, all of Eastern Europe, Paris, Scotland, Ireland, England and Alaska.

Chris had a very genuine and likeable personality. He was a good listener, and when he asked you a question, he listened attentively to your answer. He was interested in the world, having grown up in many different parts of it, and his keen engineer's mind liked knowing how things worked.

Chris took friendships seriously, and he was very embracing and welcoming to Kerri's many different friends. He was also a great and considerate neighbor, and used to help Kerri with her many activities, including at the Tehachapi Heritage League, where Kerri is now president.

Chris loved to laugh and joke, and he would tease his friends but only affectionately. He told great stories, and his humor was often self-deprecating and at his expense.

For many years, Chris and Kerri have lived in their home in the mountains overlooking the Tehachapi Valley. Chris loved the peace and quiet, and particularly cherished the many oaks and other trees on the property, as well as the deer, foxes, California Condors, bears and other wildlife that often visit. He also appreciated the countless great meals that consistently sprang forth from Kerri's abundant kitchen.

Chris is survived by his wife Kerri, his former wife Sylvia, his three sons Mark, Christopher Michael (wife Gabriela), and John; daughter Megan, stepson Nicholas and seven grandchildren. Also his brother Jan, mother-in-law Patricia McKown, with whom Chris and Kerri often travelled, and his loveable dog Louie and regal cat Emma.

Chris was proud to have been a Vietnam veteran who served his country. A full military service for him was held on Sept. 25, at the Bakersfield National Cemetery at White Wolf. A reception followed at the Errea Garden in Downtown Tehachapi.

 
 

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