It is with a heavy heart that we inform our members that our beloved Business Manager, Chris Rasmussen, suffered a fatal heart attack on Sunday, July 31st.

Chris Rasmussen began working at the Bellingham/Whatcom Chamber of Commerce on May 1, 2006. Ten years later, she was planning to retire and was greatly looking forward to it. But life can be unfair. Chris passed away on Sunday, July 31st—only a few weeks away from retirement.

For the past ten years, Chris Rasmussen served as our Business Manager, our HR Director, our Bookkeeper, our historian, our storyteller, our support system, our advisor, our friend, our confidant, our compass.

She fondly remembered working with Pat Rowe, Drew Graham, Ken Oplinger, Bill Gorman and so many others. Her stories of Drew Graham kept us entertained for hours and created so much laughter. Chris loved to make people laugh.

She made us laugh when we need it the most. She liked to tell people that she had the sense of humor of a 12-year old boy as she giggled at the word “bifurcate” because it sounds funny. And she had the sweet-tooth of a 12-year old as well…interrupting staff meetings to talk about her favorite dessert at Applebee’s. (The walnut blondie was her fav!)

Chris told us lots of stories so that we could learn from her experiences. Whether it was about negotiating her exit from the oil industry while undergoing chemo for breast cancer, or standing up to her boss at the age of 24, her strength of character and moral compass provided us all with lessons to live by.

Chris loved to travel. She visited China, Egypt, Indonesian and India to name a few. She loved Maui and was hoping to return to China and visit Abu Dhabi.

At some point in time every member has spoken with Chris. Many of them saw her as a friend and confidant—asking her out to lunch to help counsel them on professional or personal problems. Chris always found the time to help.

She could chat with anyone and would often befriend people who were less fortunate, people she could help in some way.
She leaves behind her partner, Gary Putnam, her daughter Carrie, her sisters, nieces, nephews, her God son, and many, many friends.

Chris Rasmussen and Marvin Riggs at the Haggen Family 4th of July Celebration

Chris Rasmussen and Marvin Riggs at the 2015 Haggen Family 4th of July Celebration

Chris’ funeral service will be held on:

Saturday, August 13th
11:00 a.m.
at Kern Funeral Home
1122 S. 3rd St., Mount Vernon