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Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan

Obituary for Chris Edmondson-Yurkanan

August 30, 1952 - May 23, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 64


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.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home North

3125 N Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78705
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