Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan

  • Born: August 30, 1952
  • Died: May 23, 2017
  • Location: Austin, Texas

Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
Tel. (512) 452-8811

Tribute & Message From The Family

Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan died peacefully at her home on May 23, 2017. She is survived by her sweetheart and husband of 42 years, Christopher Yurkanan. Her independent spirit, her generous soul, her brilliant mind, her unique style and sense of fashion, her full-faced smile and infectious laugh will be missed by many.

Chris was born to Don and Blanche Edmondson on August 30, 1952 in Pasadena, California where her father was a graduate student at Caltech. The family later moved to Austin. She attended McCallum High School and the University of Texas. Following graduate school and a stint at Intel, she joined the faculty of the Computer Sciences Department at the University of Texas. She was a much admired and popular faculty member from 1984 to 2007, when her disease forced her to retire at age 55, in the prime of her career. She delighted in mentoring students and guiding them to exciting careers. Chris was particularly a champion and cheerleader for young women entering computer sciences and took great pride in watching her protégés excel.

Chris was the editor of the SIGCOMM Technical History of the Internet in 1999. She was the Executive Producer of the Turing Lecture for Vint Cerf and Robert Kahn, recipients of the 2004 Turing Award ("The Nobel Prize of Computing"). In 2004, she was selected as the third recipient of the Postel Center's Visiting Scholar position at USC to study the history of internet design. This outstanding distinction led to the 2007 publication of her article "SIGCOMM's Archaeological Journey in Networking's Past" as a piece commemorating the 60th anniversary of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery). Chris was an unusual sight at the SIGCOMM gatherings – a brilliant young woman with a big smile and usually wearing purple; and she had garnered the deepest respect of the pioneers in the field of network computing.

Chris (sometimes called Christmas) and Christopher loved to travel the western United States in their Land Cruiser. The trips to New Mexico and treacherous drives through the mountains are legendary. They rarely took the highway and particularly enjoyed finding new roads – or making new roads where they did not exist!

Friends and strangers alike were drawn to Chris. She had magnetic qualities that made all feel welcome and loved. Her smile brought people in – and she was truly an active and engaged listener. Her eclectic and creative outfits and kooky jewelry were her signature style.

Over ten years ago, Chris began to show symptoms of disease. After a long journey through the medical system, she was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia. She never let the disease define her, rather she embraced it. She and Christopher were very active in the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD). They were featured together in the film "It is What it Is," distributed to raise awareness and advocacy for the organization. As the disease took her ability to talk, she continued to communicate with smiles and touch and sweet sounds to connect with family and friends. She loved to dance with Christopher and hold his hand long after the words began to fail.

In addition to Christopher, Chris is survived by her mother, Blanche, her brother David Edmondson and his wife, DeDe Hebner, her nephews Brad and Neal, and by her brother John Edmondson. Her beloved father, Don Edmondson, passed away unexpectedly at his own home the evening before Chris died. She is also survived by sister-in-law Cammie Doty and her husband, Gordon of Petaluma, California, Chris' niece Erin and her husband, Dr. Carlos Gongora of New York City, as well as many beloved cousins, aunt Jean Eyhorn of Boerne, treasured former students and colleagues, and all the members of the Flounders softball team and their respective Filletes.

Services will be held at Westlake United Methodist Church at 1460 Redbud Trail, Austin on Monday, June 19 at 2 p.m. Wear purple. Chris enjoyed the beauty and fragrance of flowers all her life. In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration, Radnor Station Bldg 2, Suite 320, King of Prussia Rd., Radnor, PA 19087.


Condolence & Memory Journal

Christmas was a wonderful lady and loving wife. Who always smiled and listened with interest in what was happening in your life. She is greatly missed.

Posted by tim Feeley - Friend   June 18, 2017

I'd like to add some detail on Chris's substantial service to ACM SIGCOMMM, which went far beyond the 1989 event in Austin. She served as SIG Secretary/Treasurer 1991-1995 and organized the 1999 panel of past SIGCOMM Award recipients on its 10th anniversary. Chris created the modern role of ACM SIGCOMM Conference Coordinator, which involved both overseeing the organization of the SIGCOMM annual conference and also managing request for "in-cooperation" status. She served 1999-2003, after which time the role of Conference Coordinator Emeritus was created for her to help hand-off the role (to me, FWIW). I was also honored to host her as a USC/ISI Postel Center Visiting Research Scholar in 2004, to investigate our archives for her research in Internet history.

She was a fantastic mentor on conference operations, providing skills I have transferred into two other organizations (the IEEE and OSA), and came in quite handy when planning my wedding. Gail and I are glad to have known her personality, her fondness for Pink Martini, and her panache. She is missed and remembered fondly.

Posted by Joe Touch - Manhattan Beach, CA - Coworker   June 14, 2017

She was a fine lady with a beautiful smile and demeanor. Unfortunatley I will not be able to attend the services. My sincere sympathies to Chris and all of the family.

Posted by Diana Zuniga - Austin, TX   June 09, 2017

I will not be able to attend the memorial service for Chris, but I wanted her family to know how sorry I am to learn of her passing. I met her in junior high school (as it was called then) and she was always one of the brightest in our class. I last saw her at a UT Remembers several years ago. I am thinking of you all.

Posted by Madeline Sutherland-Meier - Austin, TX   June 08, 2017

I am heartbroken over Chris being gone. I have known her since junior high school and always admired her for her beauty, her smarts and her kind and gentle nature. I became reacquainted with her and her husband Christopher several years ago and always made it a point to see them whenever I traveled to Austin. I remember after lunch on one of our visits I took her to Mt. Bonnell on a beautiful day to see the view over Lake Austin and I remember her delight at that time! I like to remember her that way with her big smile and her infectious laugh as Christopher aptly described.

Posted by William Young - Peoria, AZ - Classmate   June 02, 2017

Two Chris'. Two brilliant smiles. Two forces to be reckoned with. Two full hearts. Two channels of inspiration. But it was in your "one-ness" that the magic happened. May your "one-ness" always shine, just like your smiles. You're in my thought and prayers. God bless.

Posted by Mary Ann Coon - Fox Lake, IL - Friend   May 31, 2017

Sad to hear this.

Posted by Miren Carranza - Austin, TX   May 29, 2017

Chris was a long-time and dear friend, a colleague in the ACM and Internet spaces. She spent three weeks some years ago helping to organize my accumulation of files regarding the Internet's evolution and I am still using her framework today. Her smile and enthusiasm were completely infectious. I remember a dinner in Geneva at Perl du Lac with her husband, Christopher and Lyman Chapin - I think we ordered a spectacular Le Montrachet white Burgundy and a Chateau d'Yquem with dessert, among other wonderful things. Until she passed away, I was completely unaware of her medical condition - we did not keep in touch and this is a reminder to stay in contact with those you care about. My heart goes out to those she has left behind, but much solace comes from recollections of treasured shared times and the contributions to our community that she has left behind. Vint Cerf

Posted by Vint Cerf - McLean, VA - Friend   May 29, 2017

Sorry that Chris had to leave her life here on earth. God has other plans for her. Prayers for comfort, strength and guidance for her family and friends as they travel through this loss and that of her father.

Posted by Patti Swenson - Austin, TX - Classmate   May 29, 2017

Family Album

Community Photos

Chris as Visiting Research Scholar at USC/ISI's Postel Center, 2004.