Christopher D. Cea passed away peacefully on February 12 with his loving family by his side. Christopher (Chris) was born in Burbank, CA on December 10, 1950. He had a love for life and it showed in his witty sense of humor. Chris loved making people laugh and loved finding anyway to take a serious situation and turn it into something funny. His family moved to Encino and then moved to Simi Valley where he graduated from Simi Valley High in 1969. He joined the Air Force National Guard (1969-1990) after graduating High School and attended Moorpark College (1969-1972). He was married to Judy Arrington from 1975-1996 and they had 3 beautiful children Tim, Melinda, and Ryan. Chris met the love of his life while country western dancing, Janet Riewald and they married in 1998. They have one delightful daughter, Emily, who they adopted from Russia in 2004.
One cannot talk about Chris Cea without talking about baseball. He loved and played baseball with a passion. His parents signed him up for Little League where in 1963 he was on the Little League All Star Team. He excelled as a shortstop and once said that when he was growing up nothing would stop him from playing the sport of baseball. He played at Center Junior High from 1965-1967 where he was noticed to have the fundamental tools necessary to become a pro-baseball player. He played on the West Valley Senior League All Star Team and had a .312 league batting average with 41 stolen bases. Chris went on to play baseball on the Simi Valley High School Varsity team for all 3 years in High School (1967-1969). Chris’ parents cut out and saved all the newspaper clippings every time Chris was written about in the newspaper while he was in High School and College of which there are too many to count. Recently, the family poured through them and the articles were so descriptive that they felt they were right there watching him play. In many of the articles it mentioned how he played against the actor Kurt Russell who played baseball for Thousand Oaks High School. His coach from High School once said about Chris, “He’s real quick. Quick hands. Quick feet. Quick reactions''. While playing baseball, Chris earned the nicknames “Sparkplug” when he played Little League, “Mr. Flash'' in High School, and a “Ball of Fire” by baseball scouts who came to watch him play. Where did he get his quickness from? His father Nick Cea was so quick at baseball that he signed on with the Cincinnati Reds but a leg injury kept him from pursuing a full career in baseball.
Chris also played on the All-Channel League Second Team in High School where his batting average was .412 mark and again led the team in stolen bases. It was while playing for the team it was written, “ Cea reads the ball before it’s hit and has the quickest hands the author of the article said he had seen in many, many years. The author of the article also wrote about Chris stealing bases and referred to him as another Maury Wills or Lou Brock. This particular article also said that Chris made only 3 errors while playing on the Channel League Team and said that “there are not too many players that can say that without smiling”. Chris was a professional baseball prospect. He played for Hawaii in the California Angel’s AAA Farm Club and the Angel’s Farm Club at Santa Monica.
All the while playing baseball, he was drafted during the Vietnam War. He narrowly escaped going to Vietnam because he was being scouted by the L.A. Dodgers and the CA Angels. He was able to do his military service state side by joining the Air Force National Guard where he received an honorable discharge and the rank of Master Sergeant.
At this time he played baseball for Moorpark College where he was added to the 1972 edition of the Outstanding College Athletes of America. In June of 1973, Chris signed on with the Kansas City Royals Class A Farm Team in Billings, Montana. The terms of his contract were not disclosed, but he did sign under an incentive plan. Unfortunately, Chris did not make it to the majors, his ultimate goal, but he’ll always be our Hall of famer.
Chris went to work for UPS in 1979 and worked there until his retirement in 2004. He moved to the Antelope Valley in 1989. He loved his family, camping, fishing, travelling, and the outdoors. Chris was an avid San Francisco 49er and Notre Dame Football fan. He had a love for life and it showed in his witty humor. Chris loved making people laugh and loved finding any opportunity to say or do something funny. His sense of humor carried him through life. He had a love for Volkswagen bugs and camper vans owning both in the 1970’s. For his 70th birthday this past December, his family took the letters he earned at Moorpark College which he had never put on a jacket and put them on a letterman’s jacket for him. They also rented a 1972 Westfalia VW camper van like the one he owned and drove him around town. He was a devout Catholic attending St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church growing up and became a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church when he moved to the Antelope Valley. While his daughter Emily was attending St. Mary’s School, Chris volunteered to coach 3 sports at the school, football, soccer, and softball. He loved coaching and encouraging students to reach for their dreams. Chris also volunteered with traffic at the school standing by the exit gate for 8 years never missing a day.
Chris played many roles but by far his favorite was Dad. Chris is survived by his loving wife Janet, his 4 children, Tim, Melinda, Ryan, and Emily, his 4 grandchildren, Tim Jr., Tommy, Timia, and Giuliana, and his two sisters, Nickolina Eastwood and Felicia Nachreiner. He is preceded in death by his parents Nicholas and Dolores Cea. A Rosary and Funeral Mass will be on Thursday, March 4th. The Rosary procession will begin at 10:00 AM with the praying of the Rosary at 10:30. The Funeral Mass will start at 11:30 AM. Military honors will be presented immediately following the funeral and an outdoor reception will be offered to all who attend. The services for Chris will be live streamed and a link will be given on the Halley Olsen Murphy website. Instead of flowers the family is asking that you make donations to either St. Mary’s Church in Palmdale or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in his honor.