Remembering a Life Cut Short: Chris Oosterhuis '01
By: Matt Schiffman '01

I met Chris in the 7th grade at Landon and quickly started a friendship that would last a lifetime.

As the designated “big guys” in the class, we regularly found ourselves playing the same position in sports and always competing for playing time.  On the basketball court, we battled for the starting center job every single year, but after practice we would hit the weight room together until it was time to go home.  This was typical of Chris. He worked hard to be the best, but equally as important, he also wanted everybody around him to strive for that same level of greatness. He wanted me to succeed as much as himself. That was Chris.

Senior year Chris won the IAC golf championship by one stroke, shooting a 73. Chris' Dad tells the story of how Chris called him afterward and first described at length the two putts he missed before even mentioning that he won the title. That too was Chris. He was competitive, but mostly with himself.

We tragically lost Chris over a year ago. He died from rare and sudden cardiac arrest caused by a virus that attacked his heart.

His family held a memorial service for him in Boston where he lived with his beautiful wife, Jana, and their two little girls, Joya and Varra (now 5 and 3yrs old, respectively). Many Landon classmates were among the nearly 500 people who were there to remember him. Friends from his college days at Columbia, from his post-graduate days at Harvard and Wharton, and from his work at PIMCO in London and Convexity Capital in Boston, all joined with his family and us to talk about our memories of Chris and the mark he left on our lives.

I know that Chris had a great influence in my life. After college we moved in together in New York City and started our adult and professional lives together.  Our friendship would only continue to mature and strengthen as the next decade plus would come to pass. We talked all the time, even when living on different continents. I could talk to him about anything. We constantly shared new ideas to improve ourselves physically and mentally. We would talk about everything from career advice to the latest workout routines and nutritional studies. In the later years, he would share his experiences on how to be a better father and husband. I benefited a lot from his intense curiosity, his thirst for knowledge and his ability to apply logic and reason to all aspects of our lives.

Landon helped shape Chris. The school was a great fit for him. He thrived on its athletic fields and in its AP classes. In our class he was friends with everybody, from the jocks to the nerds. Through Landon he formed his thirst for knowledge and his eagerness to share that knowledge with his friends and associates. He loved Landon and he sometimes even talked of going back to teach mathematics after completing his career. In fact, last spring the golf team honored his memory by wearing shirts that included his initials, CMO, on their sleeves. It was a tribute I know would fill him with pride.

We have also been active in the formation of the OosterHealth Charitable Foundation, founded after his death, and now fully up and running. It is dedicated to furthering the subjects of his passion: exercise, nutrition and health. The Foundation will soon be making its first grant, for a project to provide medical school curriculums with techniques to better incorporate exercise and nutrition into patient treatment plans, an area where much improvement to patient outcomes can be affected. The Foundation's website, www.OosterHealth.org, describes its goals and how we all can help them be accomplished

While Chris' life was tragically cut short, his Landon classmates and I wanted to honor his memory at Landon. He left his mark on so many of us who were a part of his life. He will not be forgotten.