In memoriam: Chris Guitton, former Edmonds Chamber executive director
Christian Charles Henri Guitton was born in Paris, France, Feb. 2, 1950, the son of Michel and Josette Guitton. He passed away May 8, 2014, in Edmonds.
His life was rich in achievement, adventure, and friends. After his childhood in Paris, he studied at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Mechanique et d’Aerotechnique in Poitiers, where he earned his professional engineer’s degree as part of the prestigious “Grandes Ecoles” network accredited by the state. At the same time, he also attended the University of Poitiers, earning a license in mechanical engineering.
After graduation, Chris fulfilled his military obligations in France as a research assistant and scientist for the French Air Force. His first civilian job was working as a mechanical engineer for a nuclear engineering firm near Paris. Offered the opportunity to travel and work in San Jose, Calif., he continued training in nuclear engineering at General Electric. There he advanced quickly, becoming a program manager and senior engineer, while also gaining recognition for his inventions, patents, and computerized cost-saving measures. It was in San Jose in 1975 that he met his wife-to-be, Judy Kester, and her two daughters, Lisa and Kate. It was love at first sight. They married in 1976, and they truly lived happily ever after.
Chris was next drafted by the Nuclear Exchange Corporation to work as a marketing representative in California in 1983. He became regional marketing manager for Asia in 1984 and moved to Tokyo to manage the Japan office, from which he also managed partnerships located in Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, and China. Returning to America in 1990, Chris formed his own consulting firm, Ledonix International, specializing in information and services for the electrical power industry worldwide.
In 1993 Chris and his wife moved to Edmonds, where he immediately became active in community service. Among the groups he served were the Edmonds Sister City Commission, the Rotary Club of Edmonds, Edmonds in Bloom, and the Citizens for Public Safety PAC. He also served on the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce Board, and as Treasurer and fundraiser for the high school Career Day Programs. Chris first “retired” in l997. Then he became Chairman of the Board at NetRiver Corporation, and Chief Financial Officer and Operations Manager of QRC, Inc. He especially enjoyed his work in the community as Executive Director of the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce 2002-2006.
Aside from work, Chris had an active life of adventure and travel. He played rugby in his university years, he traveled often throughout Europe, and he biked, hiked, and skied. He loved sailing and sailed often in the waters off the coast of Brittany, and also competed in sailing races in San Francisco Bay for several years. Chris also enjoyed trout fishing with friends in the Methow Valley, and was a founding member of the Edmonds Petanque Club.
He and Judy traveled frequently, along with their daughters, grandchildren, and numerous friends. The most favored and frequent destination, to everyone’s delight, was France. Chris loved returning to France often, especially to the Jura Mountains to visit beloved family and friends. He spent sunny childhood summers there with his sister Veronique and cousins, and he loved camping, hiking, and exploring hidden lakes, forests, and old chateaux. In the Jura, he was at home.
Chris was a man of keen intelligence, high standards, high spirits — and great generosity and kindness. His passing is a great loss to his wife, Judy; his daughters Lisa LoFranco (Tony) and Kate Kester (Charles Brady); four grand-children, John, Christina, and Michael LoFranco, and Sam Brady; and one great-grandson, Dominic LoFranco; also, his sister Veronique Wan Swygenhoven (Michel) and her family, as well as dozens of cousins, scores of colleagues, and countless friends across three continents. As one of his friends recently wrote to him, “It would be very difficult to overstate how respected and loved you are by so many people.” Christian Guitton was a man well-loved, and his was a life well-lived.