Christopher J Canwell

October 29, 1942 ~ May 1, 2020 (age 77)


Christopher John Canwell, born October 29, 1942, passed away at home on May 1, 2020, surrounded by his family.

Chris was born to John and Jane Canwell and raised on a farm north of Spokane, Washington, along with younger siblings Kevin Canwell and Sandy (Canwell) Moulton.  He graduated from St. George’s School in 1961 and attended Georgetown University and Gonzaga University, graduating from the latter in 1965.

Chris met his wife Joleen (Peterson) while still in college in 1964 and they married in Spokane on December 27, 1966.  They lived in Bellevue before moving to University Place in 1972, where they have lived ever since.  There they raised two children – David Canwell and Sarah (Canwell) Katsandres.

During college Chris began working at The Bon Marche and completed their Executive Development Program. He left there to join Kirsch in 1971 where he worked until he retired in 1999 as a Senior Sales Representative.

Chris and Joleen have been active members of St. Charles Borromeo Parish for nearly 50 years.  Chris served on the Parish Council, made meals for Nativity House, and along with Joleen helped prepare couples for married life in the Evenings for the Engaged program.

Chris had many hobbies that filled him with joy: photography, cooking, tennis, gardening and target shooting were among his favorites.  He adored his grandchildren Chris and Nick Katsandres who dearly loved their “Papa.”

Chris was most memorable for how he lived his faith and the inspiration he provided to many.  For being a true friend, incredibly kind, and for making others feel good about themselves, and life in general, in his presence.  And for being very funny, telling great stories and making a perfect cocktail.

Chris is survived by his wife Joleen, his son Dave, daughter Sarah, son-in-law John Katsandres and grandsons Chris and Nick Katsandres.

Because of current limitations on gatherings, a small funeral and burial were held with just immediate family.  When we are able, we will be holding a Memorial Mass and reception where all can come and celebrate the beautiful life that Chris lived.  In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Fulcrum Foundation ( which provides tuition assistance in Catholic schools.


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