Fifteen-year-old Christopher Ward was in a particularly happy mood on Thursday, celebrating a milestone in his young life. For on that particular day, Chris, as his friends knew him, had visited the orthodontist and had his braces removed.
This, however, would be the final milestone in the Dobie's freshman's life. During his sixth-period class, at around 3:50 p.m., the teen fell unconscious from his chair. Despite quick responses from his teacher, Gay Hollis, school nurse Mary Ann Clingan, and athletic trainer Jon Schmidt, Christopher never regained consciousness.
EMTs arrived on the scene about five minutes after the episode occurred. They resumed CPR begun by school personnel. A second unit arrived and administered shock treatments.
At about 4:30 Chris was taken to Memorial Southeast Hospital, said Dobie principal Jerry Speer. He died there at 5:55 p.m.
Sheila Halatsis, Chris' mother, said doctors concluded that the death of her only child was due to an enlarged heart. She said he had never displayed any symptoms in the past.
On Friday morning, Dobie students remembered Chris, a ruddy-faced flute player in the Dobie Band with a moment of silence.
Band director Gary Wilkes said on Friday band students tried to air their feelings to ease their emotional upset regarding the tragic incident. The students, he said, have taken up money which will be forwarded to the Texas Heart Institute.
"He was just a super kid," said Wilkes. "He taught us all a lesson. If we all worked as hard as Chris did, we'd have an incredible band program."
On Monday, services for Christopher Bradley Ward were held in Bixby, Okla. at Riverview Baptist Church. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Tulsa.
He is survived by mother Sheila Halatsis and stepfather Dimitrios Halatsis of Eastridge Terrace; and grandmother Lena Logsdon.
The family suggests donations be made in Chris' memory to the Texas Heart Institute