CHRISTOPHER B. ELSER
Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. Mr. President, Christopher B. Elser of Camden, SC, died on the afternoon of April 18, 2004. Christopher, a student at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD, died from stab wounds he received from an early-morning intruder who entered the room where he was sleeping. Christopher had spent the night in a fraternity brother's room after a party so his friend would have a quiet place to study.
Christopher was a junior in the Zanvyl Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at the University. He was also a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity and played soccer his freshman year. He was known as a consummate gentleman, both on campus and off. As one of his fraternity brothers said, "We all strived to be gentlemen, but we never had anyone embody it as much as Chris." His memorial service on April 19, 2004, drew more than 1,000 friends and family members to honor his life. Their numerous stories and memories further cemented Christopher's status as a gentlemen and also demonstrated the tremendous positive impact he had on everyone he met.
At an early age, Christopher developed an affinity with the thoroughbred horse business, nourished by his father's occupation as a thoroughbred trainer and consignor. As a precocious 10-year-old, he began his tenure on the Stable Crew at the August Yearling Sale in Saratoga, NY, serving with young men twice his age. Until his death, he worked in Saratoga for two weeks every August and was known for his infectious smile and inexhaustible spirit in both his work at the sale and in numerous after-hours adventures.
Christopher's memorial service in Camden, SC, was held outdoors at the Carolina Cup Steeplechase Museum on April 23, 2004. In an atmosphere reminiscent of his easygoing fun-loving demeanor, Christopher's friends and family gathered to celebrate his 20 years of life. As tales about his life unfolded, it became clear to all present what had made Christopher so special: his love for life. This trait brought more than 100 people together to honor an extraordinary young man's life and to mourn his untimely death. After the service, friends and family ate, drank, and told more stories of Christopher and, as he would have wished, there was more laughter than tears on this beautiful, South Carolina morning
Christopher is survived by his father, Kip, his mother, Rhetta, and his sister, Taylor.