One time, a few years after I had stopped going to the show, I drove down to Philly for a Phillies game with my brother and a friend. As we’re driving down Broad St. in S. Philly, I see Chris in the back of what I believe was a fruit truck- I forget, but maybe he was working at a fruit stand on Broad St. when he was younger? I drove around the block, and passed the truck again, and this time, yelled out to him. He disappeared to the back of the truck. I drove around again, and got out of the car. I called to the back of the truck, and he very hesitantly came toward me. Now, he and I hadn’t seen each other in two or three years, but had spoken on the phone. I literally had to remind him of who I was! We laughed, because we had spoken on the phone fairly often. He actually thought I was someone who he had issues with from his school. He asked me to drive him home, which was literally a block or two away, and we talked for awhile before he got out of the car, and went our separate ways. When I got home that night, I had a message from him on my answering machine, just laughing about what happened earlier.
When we were younger, and Chris wore a “tail” in the back of his hair, I used to tease him that “tails have been played out in NY since the early ’80’s, so get rid of that ridiculous thing!” He used to argue back that “we’re in Philly now, Ron!” On the rare occasions I saw him, I would always joke with him “Did you get rid of that ridiculous tail yet?”
The next time I saw him was maybe 6 or 7 years later, he came up behind me this time, and I was the one who didn’t recognize him! But it was great to see him. I was at a restaurant in S. Philly, sitting at the bar. He was at a table with some people. He noticed me, and came up behind me. We hadn’t spoken on the phone in probably two or three years at that point, but it was like we had spoken every day. But then again, that was Chris(and by the way, first thing I said to him was “Did you get rid of that ridiculous tail yet?). We’d talk every so often after that, and probably hadn’t spoken in three years, other than every so often on Facebook.
Now, I’m not going to claim to have been very close friends with Chris. But we were friends. Definitely more than acquaintances. I feel I knew him well enough, at least going back, to say that everything about him was genuine. It was real. I think sometimes when we say someone is “a nice person,” it’s taken as a bland, or neutral comment. I disagree. Sometimes, it’s the greatest comment you can give. And when I think of Chris, some of his best qualities are the simple ones. They came out in his dance when we were younger. It brought millions of teenagers across the country joy for many years. And while he danced for no one but himself(as any competitive dance does-and he loved to battle), it had to give HIM great joy knowing how much it impacted people- because he enjoyed making people happy. One thing I got from him at times was that he was a “people pleaser.”
As shown by the amount of people who were lucky enough to attend the services these past few days, Chris pleased a lot of people. He earned the respects paid to him by the thousands who stood on S. Broad in frgid temps to say “so long.” How did he do so? It’s easy to say that it was because of his creativity, his teaching ability, the friendship he offered to so many. There are many reasons. But there’s ONE underlying reason- Chris was a NICE PERSON.
It’s taken me days to write this, as I seemed to not be able to put this whole thing in perspective, even from afar. I am not certain that my words do my feelings and memories of him justice. But I am thankful for him, for getting to know him better through everyone elses memories, and Eddies stories and pictures, and thankful that this forum has been opened up to share and pay tribute to him.
So long, Chris, and thank you. Rest peacefully.]]>
Today I went to the visitation service for Chris. The amount of people there was s amazing. This was obviously a man whose lives Chris was part of was incredible to see.
In 2007, I left an industry that I was burnt out on, and took a job as an assistant at my old tech school, Middle Bucks Institute of Technology. I was lucky enough to be placed as the assistant in Chris’s classroom. Chris demanded nothing but their best efforts, from his students, but he also supported them, listened to them, and motivated them more than any teacher I had seen before.
He made time for each and every student to walk through his door.
I think it was the opportunity to work with him that secured my idea that I wanted to become a teacher. I loved watching Chris run a classroom, he made his students laugh, he made them think, he made them discover talents of their own that even they didn’t know existed.
While I worked my way through school to earn a teaching degree over the next few years, I would at times tell Chris about the intense education theories I was learning, and how I wasn’t sure they actually applied to a real classroom. Chris would be able to break things down into simple terms, tell me how they were used and even provide me examples of what he did in the classroom.
Over those 2 years I worked for him, it was like having a college advisor on demand at times. That was Chris, he always had time as long as it resulted in the person he helped making the most of the time themselves.
In the years after I left MBIT to start my own teaching career, I lost touch with Chris, as often times happens as we move between different stages of our careers. Occasionally, in my own classroom I would have questions about how to present a new lesson, and I would shoot an email to Chris an email. He would always get back to me that same day, often his responses would be a page long and full of ideas.
In the summers, I would occasionally run into Chris at a Phillies game. He always made me laugh. He would tell me about all the successful students in his program at MBIT, and the new things he was working on. He would catch me up with the successes and achievements of the students that were in his class at the time I worked with him. It was at those times Chris seemed the most proud.
In some of my higher education classes, I’ve heard professors state that with great teachers, their legacies are often the lives that person inspires. I think it is obvious that Chris inspired many including colleagues, and students. Many people learned from him. I know I did. Chris was an exceptional teacher; one of the best. I’m glad I had that opportunity to work alongside him.
This is a man who for a long time to come will be remembered.
So I choose not to say goodbye, just thank you.
Thanks Mr. Chris Tully for being who you were, a genuine, and inspiring person who always made anyone he came in contact with strive to be the best that they could be.
It was a pleasure knowing and working with you.
there are no words that can change this tragedy, I don’t even know the pain for each of you, I know it’s deeps and a great lost to all… I send my deepest symphony and prayers.
Christopher will always be remembered for his beautiful smile, whit, intelligence, boldness, sweet voice, talent and commitment to being and doing the right thing and excelling when ever he could.
We have to wonder how someone so special can be so troubled. Will never know but we’ll remember, things and people aren’t always as they appear!
Christopher will be remembered and missed by many,
May Christopher find his peace in heaven.
sending love, heart to heart!
peace be with you all!
— Darlene Mea]]>
— Maura Finegan]]>
— Rebecca Lake]]>
I had the pleasure of having conversations with Chris when I saw him at Centennial where he would assist his students with filming the school board meetings. He never ceased to amaze me. He was the kind of person who motivated others to be their best. He made quite an impression.
My son graduated almost three years ago but fortunately ran into Chris quite a few times while he was working at an Apple retailer. They had great conversations and I know now that my son will always treasure the time Chris spent with him.
I know I will never forget Chris and will keep his family and students in my prayers. The loss is so great.
I just saw the heartbreaking update on the news tonight and my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. There are so many great and positive stories from many other students and colleagues about Mr. Tully and hope these interactions help in knowing that he was such a great person in school. If there is anything I can do I would be more than happy to help any way possible.
My sincere condolences,