Memorial Fund

Hans Christian “Chris” Korsgaard Memorial Fund

Your tax-deductible donation will help procure additional handbell octaves for Portland Boychoir.

Chris was partner to Portland Boychoir Artistic Director, Dr. David York, and father to Portland Boychoir singer, Josef York.  A musician himself, Chris was an avid supporter and believer of Portland Boychoir and its benefit for youth and community.  Chris attended every concert, helping with everything from riser set-up and take-down to overseeing parking to helping with clean up while often offering heart-felt encouragement to the staff, board, singers, and singers’ families.

YorMcC-Tilikum2016_byRubens_040Hans Christian Korsgaard, our beloved “Chris,” graduated from Earth School on Sunday, July 30, 2017. After several months of battling ALS, he died peacefully at Hopewell House in Portland, Oregon.  He is survived by his spouse, David York, his son, Josef York, and siblings June Haas, Liss Hartley, and Carl Korsgaard.

Born at home on May 26, 1949, Chris joined the community known as the “Happy Danes” in Kimballton, Iowa.  Population: 350.  He and his six classmates, most of them first-generation Americans, met with three other grades in one classroom.  Chris excelled in school, played the trumpet and sang in the school choir.

Keenly interested in current events, Chris faithfully read the newspaper every day.  Even when the ravages of ALS left him bed-ridden, he stayed informed through his trusty Kindle.

Chris held degrees from the University of Iowa, Oregon State University, and Linn-Benton Community College. In 1979, he came to Portland to work at Consolidated Freightways as a computer programmer and eventually became a freelance consultant. He remained in data processing through the famed Y2K conversion, then soon retired and devoted the rest of his life to cultivating exquisite gardens wherever he lived.

As a founding member of Portland Gay Men’s Chorus in 1980, Chris was integrally involved in its early success. Here he met David York and, after several years of friendship, they became committed partners on June 11, 1986. They became fathers on April 19, 2006 and were formally married on May 6, 2017.

In 2004, Chris and David were active participants in establishing what is now New Thought Center for Spiritual Living. Chris sang in the choir, assisted in the beautification of the church grounds, and brought joy and delight to all who had the opportunity to work with him. He was an ameliorating presence in all social situations through his mindful listening and well-placed witticisms.

In addition to spending time in his garden and with his family, Chris loved to travel. Choir tours took him to Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Russia, Estonia, Italy, and France.  Personal travels included cruises to the Bahamas, road trips to Canada and through much of the United States, and several trips to Europe, including to his parents’ homeland of Denmark.

Chris was generous with his time for family and community, with his good will to all who had the good fortune to know him, and with financial donations to a long list of charitable organizations – usually in support of the arts or the environment.

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The following poem was written by Andrea Carlisle, and dedicated to Chris in June, 2017.

Two Gates

Time is the gateway into Life

This gate has a lock and key

The womb lets you in, and you begin —  

The heart carries you through

Held in the certainty of Time’s hands,

you cannot lift the veil

of Eternity. All invisibility.

You cannot see it, it cannot be

Its gate has no lock, no key

It waits 

until the last beat sets you free 

To hold you and hold you endlessly

Used by permission of the author, Andrea Carlisle  © 2017
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Memorial donations may be made in Chris’s honor to “Portland Boychoir” via check mailed to P.O. Box 6844, Portland, OR, 97228 or credit card – click box below.

Thank you to the following for their generous donation:  Eugene & Susan Bell, John & Christine Booren, Dorothy Bruss, Annelee Lander, Kris & Karen Ledbetter, Stan & Diana Ness, Lena Pierce, Terry Schumacher, Marie Wachlin, Charles & Geraldine Willis, Barbara Wuest