Christopher Wade Cortez of Encinitas, CA, died March 11, 2019, following a courageous fight with bipolar disorder. Born June 9, 1980, in Camp Pendleton, CA, Chris spent most of his childhood in San Diego, CA, and Kaneohe, HI. He attended Punahou School and La Costa Canyon High School before going on to graduate from the United States Naval Academy where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Oceanography and played rugby. He served in the U.S. Navy for eight years and earned a master’s degree at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.
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Chris could make friends at the drop of a hat. He always went out of his way to include others and make people feel welcome. An adventurous and passionate spirit, Chris loved to laugh, dance, cook, and surf. He built a community wherever his path took him, from San Diego to Annapolis to Rio de Janerio to Oahu—and everywhere in between.
Chris was preceded in death by his mother, Leigh Otey Cortez, of Carlsbad, CA. He is survived by his father, Major General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.) Chris Cortez of Carlsbad, CA, and his sister, Gini Cortez, of Seattle, WA. He is also survived by numerous aunts and uncles and many cousins whom he cherished.
A service celebrating Chris’ life will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 23, 2019, at Seagrove Park, 15th St & Coast Blvd, Del Mar, CA.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org/goto/chriscortez), or One More Wave ( fundraise.onemorewave.net/chris ). Most of all, Chris would want us to continue his work of breaking down the barriers of mental illness and encouraging people to share with and support one another. In his words, take it “one hand-hold at a time. The smallest gains will breathe wind into your sails.”