Christopher John Cruise passed away peacefully at the age of 53 on September 21, 2023, with his wife, Kimberly, at his side.
Chris was born on September 20, 1970, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the son of John and Linda (Denzler) Cruise. Growing up, Chris was passionate about swimming and golf. He attended Cedar Rapids Washington High School where he set the record for the 100-yard breaststroke, and still holds this record after 34 years. His time of 57.26 seconds was 5th in the nation. His high school medley relay record stood for 17 years. Chris also achieved two individual state championship titles and was a member of several state championship relays. His state record in the 100-yard breaststroke stood for 10 years.
Chris attended Northwestern University on a swimming scholarship, graduating in 1993 with a degree in economics. He obtained his masters’ degree in education administration from the University of Northern Iowa.
In 1988, Chris began dating the love of his life, Kimberly (Reed) Cruise. The two were married in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on June 22, 1996. They had a deeply loving and fulfilling marriage. Kimberly’s favorite words to Chris were, “life with you is fun”. They enjoyed traveling, tailgating at Iowa football games, concerts, and frequent date nights.
Chris and Kimberly have two sons, Tyler (age 22) and Conner (age 20), who are college students at the University of Iowa and St. Louis University, respectively. Chris was an amazing father who has always been extremely supportive and incredibly proud of his sons. The family loves vacations, board games, cooking dinner, and celebrating holidays together.
In his 25+ years working at Washington High School, Chris was a math teacher, varsity swim coach, golf coach, and then assistant athletic director. He coached the men’s varsity swim team to multiple district wins and a state championship. Chris was elected to the Iowa High School Swim Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Washington High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004. Chris dedicated his life to working with youth, supporting their development both inside and outside of the classroom.
Friends knew and appreciated Chris for his integrity and compassion. His students viewed him as a trusted teacher, dedicated coach, and role model. He was a voracious reader and a devoted fan of the Iowa Hawkeyes, Northwestern Wildcats, and the Cedar Rapids Washington High School Warriors.
Chris is survived by his wife, Kimberly, sons Tyler and Conner, parents John and Linda (Denzler) Cruise, in-laws Jon and Diane Reed, sister-in-law Darcy (Mike) Reed, two nephews Reed and Sam Blocksome, and an army of wonderful friends and extended family.
In July 2023, Chris was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Throughout the very short and challenging period between his diagnosis and death, Chris demonstrated exceptional strength and perseverance. To his last day, he treated everyone with respect, gratitude, and love.
In accordance with Chris' wishes, a Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, October 7th from 12:00PM -4:00PM at the Classic Event Center: 3607 1st Ave SE Suite A, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.
Memorial contributions may be made to the family who will distribute the funds to various organizations and causes that were important to Chris.