At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Education Fund for Chris's Niece and Nephews c/o Lyn Rey
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Almost quirky in nature, Chris Rey lived on his own terms. He was very tech savvy, and he had an eye for the extraordinary which prevailed in his beautiful photography. Known to be on the shy side, Chris had a quiet sense of humor and once someone got to know him, he filled conversation with laughter. He possessed a bright smile, and his eagerness for learning and his way around technology in general was beyond measure. Always a respectful young man, Chris was not only kind and tenderhearted, but he would go out of his way for anyone in need. For these things and so much more, Chris was loved abundantly and will be dearly missed and remembered in the hearts of those who knew and loved him best.
The year 1994 was filled with advancements in technology and more as the world looked for better ways to improve and explore. While The Lion King and Forrest Gump took theaters by storm, OJ Simpson was making headlines off the football field. Despite these ever changing times, Mark and Lyn (Ackley) Rey of Kalamazoo, Michigan were anticipating the birth of a new addition in their lives, and on May 4, 1994, they were blessed with the birth of their youngest son, Christian Phillip Rey.
Born and raised on the west side of Kalamazoo where Chris made his forever home, as the baby of the family he joined his older brothers, Alex “Ali” and Nick “Slicky”, with whom he was always spoiled, and close. As an infant in his stroller, Chris and his mom used to walk his brothers to school at nearby Indian Prairie Elementary School. Chris and his brothers got along well, and together they enjoyed many adventures during their youth. Chris’ father provided for his family as a welder at Landscape Forms while his mother worked as a nurse at Borgess Hospital where she has remained for 32 years.
When Chris was little and rode in the car he would do anything to see “hotorcycles” on the road. Even though he never had one of his own, he had many toy motorcycles and models of them growing up. One of his all-time favorite possessions was his “Lovie”, a crocheted afghan from his great-grandma. Always within his reach, and he hauled it around everywhere. Once on a family trip they were halfway to Florida and upon realizing it was left behind, they returned all the way home to retrieve it. Through the years Chris and his family drove to Florida to spend time at Disney World multiple times where great times were enjoyed by all. In 2014 Chris enjoyed yet another memorable trip there with his brother, Nick, sister-in-law, Tara, and his nephew, “Graem Cracker”.
Their family also spent wonderful times on the weekends at their cabin up north near Tustin creating lasting memories. With no TV or phone, the boys always played outside, although Chris liked it more than his brothers because it never mattered to him if he was connected to the outside world or not. A close-knit family, it was especially tough for Chris when Alex left for college and Nick moved out to get married and start a family.
Chris attended MLK and Indian Prairie Elementary Schools, and Hillside Middle School. Never really into sports, Chris did play soccer at home with his brothers who were really into the sport and he also played AYSO soccer for one year. During his formative years at the age of 15, Chris was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. For the most part he took it in stride and he tried not to let it bother him, yet it was hard for him to deal with. Despite this setback, Chris graduated from Kalamazoo Central High School in 2012 and went on to further his education at KVCC. For nearly three years Chris worked at Angelo’s Italian Eatery which helped him come out of his otherwise shy shell. There he helped customers, answered the phone, and filled in where needed. Chris made many friends through work and playing video games. Quite the gamer, he chatted with and played video games with friends every single night. He was a night owl, although it caused him to sleep nearly all day.
Chris possessed several talents that he came by naturally. Good with technology and computers, he even built his own computer, and helped set one up for his mom. He aspired towards a computer science degree, and always tech savvy, he wanted to learn to write code. Typical of Chris, he was always trying to teach himself new things in this field. In addition to technology, Chris knew his way around a camera. He took beautiful, intriguing yet inspiring photographs. Chris also loved taking pictures of his niece and nephews, flowers, bugs, and anything interesting that caught his eye. He took great pictures of his dog, Zoey. In fact, Chris often referred to himself as her “favorite” owner, especially at the dinner table within earshot of his brothers! He also loved collecting old money and often went with his grandmother to antique shows in search of old coins and bills. He’d swap his tip money for unique pieces, and one time he landed a prized 1945 dime that he kept securely in a box with all of his other treasures. He also had a huge collection of nutcrackers.
When it came to food, Chris liked anything sour, like Skittles and Gummy Worms. He dabbled in a little cooking with the crockpot, referring to it as “crappot”. One of his chores around the house was emptying the dishwasher. He and his mom had a running joke about who was going to put the dishes away once he unloaded them! While gaming he liked listening to Mumford & Sons and Tycho. Action movies were of interest to Chris, but he was very particular about movies. And from the moment he saw a trailer, he could tell if it was something he wanted to see or not. Most of all, Chris loved spending time with his niece and nephews drawing, playing hide and seek, and golfing together. His nephew Graem called him, “Uncle Crinky” which always warmed Chris’ heart.
Chris had his share of idiosyncrasies and he found comfort in compartmentalizing his life. He had friends while at work, and gaming friends he chatted with every night, but he was extremely close with his nephews and niece with whom he had the most fun. Unconventional in nature, Chris had a sarcastic sense of humor with those who loved him, but he was always respectful. The heart of Chris was tender, kind, quick to tears, and he always felt bad for the underdog. He’d do anything for someone with just a hint of being in need. For a time he even served as a volunteer at the SPCA caring for dogs and cats. And he was always close to his family.
No matter the cost to him, Chris never liked disappointing anyone, and at times it caused him to be prone to depression. He enjoyed his own company while his family brought him the greatest joy. He experienced good and down days, but Chris enjoyed surrounding himself with the things and the people he loved most. Gone much too soon, Chris will be deeply missed and remembered with love.
Christian “Chris” Rey, age 21, died February 22, 2016. Along with his parents, he is survived by two brothers: Alex Rey and Nick (Tara) Rey; niece and nephews: Graem, Elliot, Joshua and Amelia Rey; grandparents: Dorothy Ackley, Stu and Kandy Ackley, Phillip and Mary Rey; aunts and uncles: Scott Ackley (Mary Ponicki), Jim (Jennifer) Ackley, Phillip “Sam” (Debbie) Rey; and many cousins. Visit with his family and friends on Friday, 5-8 PM at the Life Story Funeral Homes, Betzler–Kalamazoo; 6080 Stadium Drive (375-2900), where services will be held Saturday at 11:00 AM. Memorials may be directed to the family, c/o Lyn Rey for the education fund of Chris’ niece and nephews. Special thanks and gratitude to all the law enforcement agencies, especially Sgt. Mike White and the Kalamazoo Township Police Department. Also, for the continued prayers and support of neighbors and the entire community. Deeply missed, never forgotten and always loved. Please visit his personal web page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can share a favorite memory or photo of him and sign his online guestbook before coming to the funeral home.