By Chris Dubuque….
It is with profound sadness that we have to inform our community of the passing of Christopher J. Middleton who passed away on September 23, 2023.
I first met Chris Middleton in the early 1980’s when both of us had just graduated from the same high school in a suburb of Seattle. I didn’t know Chris during school since he was a few years younger than I was, but we met shortly after when he bought his first Citroën; a 1965 DS19M Pallas. Ever since that first meeting, Chris and I have had an extraordinary 40-year friendship.
Since the last Citroën dealer in Seattle had shut down in the late 1970’s, there was an overwhelming need for someone to take on the challenge to help out the local Citroën owners with repairs. Chris took on the challenge after high school and started fixing cars in his dad’s garage. It was not long before he had opened a shop in the Interbay neighborhood of Seattle. Within a few short years, he was not only fixing cars, but he was performing complicated and extensive restorations. In the first few years of the shop, he had several colleagues to help him refine his welding, metalwork, and mechanical skills, but Chris went on to do nearly all of the work himself.
Chris kept his business low key; no websites, no social media presence, no signs outside the shop. Instead, he focused on cranking out repair after repair after repair.
A momentous moment in Chris’s life was when he met his future wife, Deirdre. She offered him a balance in life and he suddenly was less interested in having a beer with his car buddies and instead got more serious about family and making his time at the shop count. Soon, two kids came along. I have had the pleasure of watching them grow and they are truly exceptional. They were even willing to sit through Chris’s movie selections, often esoteric European fare, American art house cinema, or film noir classics.
Even with a thriving business going on, Chris more-or-less hand-built his modern house in North Seattle. Tall sides, butterfly roof, and hand-built cabinetry typified Chris’s other passion; architecture. Near the end, we had a chance to take a drive in my DS around Seattle to look at newly-built modern houses. He was very weak at the time, but he seemed to really enjoy the drive. And he knew the builder and architect of nearly every interesting house we found.
In the spring of this year, he started having a health issue that ultimately took his life. Until the very end, he was incredibly courageous and filled with grace. Even though he felt miserable, he made time to talk to his friends and former customers. With every phone call or visit, he made all of us feel comfortable and at ease.
I just don’t know how to describe the incredible loss his absence brings to all of us. Fortunately, Deirdre and the kids have a large community of friends and family to lean on.
Goodbye my friend.