Chris (AKA “Chrissie) Taiani passed away on March 24, 2017 due to complications from colorectal cancer. He was born on December 15, 1952 at the Naval hospital in Portsmouth, Virginia. The family moved to Cocoa Beach, Florida in 1957 to join the growing NASA community as pioneers in the space race. As part of the Naish Avenue gang, he enjoyed many boyhood adventures—hunting ducks before school (sometimes during school), fishing mullet with bow and arrows, and surfing.
Chris graduated from Cocoa Beach High School in 1971, then the University of Florida in 1975 with a degree in recreational education. Afterwards he was lifeguard captain in Martin County where he made life long friendships with fellow guards. He moved on in the 1980s to work for Ron Jon Surf Shop, traveled as a merchandise salesperson for rock and roll shows, and later joined the field crew of Indian River Mariculture, the first shellfish farm in Florida. He helped to plant the first farm-raised clams in Cedar Key, literally planting the seeds for what is today a thriving shellfish aquaculture industry. In 1991, he joined the staff of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution as an instructor, teaching fishermen how to grow clams and oysters in Cedar Key and Oak Hill. He established the Big T Clam Farm in 1993 and remained a small aquatic farmer for the rest of his life. He met his wife Leslie Sturmer in Cedar Key where they were wed on Seahorse Key in 1997. Chris was a waterman since childhood. He enjoyed the outdoors–water and woods–fishing for reds and grouper, lobstering in the Keys, scalloping, and hunting with friends at his camp by the Ocala National Forest. Chris lived a big life in a quiet way and will be remembered for his witticisms or “Chrissieisms”. A favorite, “they’re getting away…” can also be taken as an important life lesson. All of our days are precious and should be treasured.
Chris is predeceased by his mother Isabelle, grandparents, and faithful retriever companions (Thor and Hydro). He is survived by his wife of 20 years, dog Splash, father Angelo of Cocoa Beach, sister Brigid (Mike Reed) of Merritt Island, brother Mark of Seattle, extended family of aunt, uncle, cousins, nephews, and nieces, and the many many friends he made and kept throughout his life. A celebration of his life will be held in the near future. Donations in his memory can be made to the nonprofit organization, Fight Colorectal Cancer; go to https://give.fightcrc.org/christaiani.