Christopher J. Decker, age 54, of Madison, Wis., passed away on Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at Agrace HospiceCare after a courageous, hard fought battle with glioblastoma that lasted more than three years. Chris consistently waged that battle with undeniable courage, a spirit of grace, and a determined perseverance to be "regular Chris." He was at Agrace for 15 weeks, every day with a smile and non-stop visits from friends and family.
Chris was born Sept. 6, 1964, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of Richard and Patricia (Miller) Decker. He graduated from Maquoketa Community High School, attended St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and graduated with a professional degree in Pharmacy from the University of Iowa. In 1988, Chris married Catherine Aiello.
Following graduation from pharmacy school, Chris served for two years as Director of Professional Affairs for the Iowa Pharmacy Association before being selected to serve as CEO of the Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin, a position he held for nearly 30 years. In Wisconsin, he transformed a struggling organization into one that was purpose filled and vision driven. Chris loved his work and everything about it and took great pride in helping make a positive difference in his profession. He challenged everyone to "be a difference maker!" Chris received numerous accolades including the most recent Certificate of Merit Award from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Pharmacy.
The only thing Chris loved more than his work was his family. His children, Joe, Mary Catherine and Johnny, brought joy to his life every day and he was so proud of them! He was their champion and advocate. He strived to help them become caring, capable young adults. Chris provided his colleagues, friends and family with inspiring lessons in life, filled with kindness, gratitude, and faith. His love of family, great restaurants, terrific wine, golf and laughter provided a platform for building relationships with people throughout the country. He loved playing golf. He served on the board at Nakoma Golf and Country Club and was president of the board at the time of his diagnosis. Members of Nakoma were some of his closest friends. Chris's ability to connect with people created lasting friendships cherished by him and all who knew him. He made everyone feel that they were his best friend.
Chris is survived by his three children, Joe Decker, Mary Catherine (Bob) Pawelski and John Decker, all of Madison; his parents, Richard and Patricia Decker of Maquoketa, Iowa; brother, Todd Decker of Waukee, Iowa; sister, Laura Decker of Iowa City, Iowa; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Joe and Marguerite Miller and Carl and Bernice Decker; aunt and uncle, Jayne and LaVerne Keppler; and uncle, Robert Gaffney.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Drive, Madison, at 11 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. Visitation will be held at GUNDERSON FITCHBURG FUNERAL AND CREMATION CARE from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, and at the church from 10 a.m. until the time of the Mass on Monday. A luncheon and celebration of life will follow at Nakoma Golf and Country Club, 4145 Country Club Road, Madison. All are encouraged to participate at this time with memories and stories that include Chris. Burial will be at SACRED HEART CEMETERY in Maquoketa, Iowa at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019. Reception to follow from 3 to 5 P.M. in "The Bistro" at Carson Celebration of Life Center in Maquoketa.
The Decker family would like to thank the compassionate healthcare professionals and volunteers at Agrace HospiceCare and UW Hospital and Clinics for the excellent care Chris received.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the family for pharmacy scholarships in Chris's name; the Wisconsin Pharmacy Foundation, 701 Heartland Trail, Madison, WI 53717; to Agrace HospiceCare (www.agrace.org); or to a charity of your choice. Online condolences may be made at www.gundersonfh.com.
May God be as good to you, Chris, as you have been to us.
The Carson Celebration of Life Center in Maquoketa is caring for the family locally.
"having known your aunt VI Decker Coats ,I am understand how we was soo kind, loving and ernest in his life .The Deckers including Carl and Bernice were super kind and interested in life positive and interested in their children and grandchildren .RIP
E SUPER POOLE LE "
.... like a child wide-eyed learning to walk through the sorrow, realizing you are no longer in one physical place, we are free to sense you Everywhere.... a bird soaring free, a trans-formative double rainbow, or the twinkling of an evening star..... like "the Feeling of being inside a smile.©"
The physical distance since I left Iowa (always savoring your wit, fun, inquisitiveness, and sharp intelligence), no longer separates ....as ALL those that cherish you, since the day you were born, sing the sentiments of this ukulele song to you, dearest nephew......
"I can't help falling in love with you" ....
Aloha Nui Loa (Love BIG LONG), the warmest expression of Love in the sacred Hawaiian language,
Your auntie audrey "
"Rick, Pat, Todd, Laura, and Chris 's children, I was just so shocked and saddened to just learn of Chris's passing. My heart breaks for all of you. Chris was a really great guy and I'm sure that while his journey on earth has concluded, he will be with U all, watching over you always. May God's peace and love carry you through all the days ahead. Hugs."
"Rick and Pat- We're sure your memories of your son will help you through this tough time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Gary & Carol Grote"
"Rick, Pat and Family - we are so sorry for your loss. While we did not know Chris it sounds as though he lived a wonderful life. To lose a son, husband and father in his prime of life is so sad - our thoughts are with your family."
"Sorry for your families loss??"