PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Loved ones are left remembering a Portland couple killed in a tragic crash in the Bay Area last week. Friends say Michelle and Christian Deaton lived every day to the fullest and were always on some sort of adventure.
“They just lived life 100%,” Cholee Thompson, a close friend of the couple, said.
Whether it was hiking or camping or listening to records at home, the Deatons were always finding ways to have fun. Thompson and her family were often along for the ride, from relaxing in the backyard with a bonfire to group getaways, laughing until they cried.
“We would call each other sissy and missy, and the guys would call themselves brothers. It instantly became a family,” she said.
Thompson added that the Deatons were also close with her 12-year-old son, Jack.
“Since they didn’t have kids to raise on their own, they would be the community that helped all of us raise our kids, so they were always there for them,” she said. “They went to Jack’s basketball games and whenever we’d have a party for him, the last party we went go-karting and they went full-in, you know?”
Michelle, 48, and Christian, 52, were often on the go. Most recently, they were on a trip to California, camping, cycling, and going to concerts.
It was a trip that came to a tragic end last Tuesday. The Napa County Sheriff’s Office says the two were killed in a crash while biking along the valley’s Silverado Trail.
Thompson says it’s a devastating loss that still doesn’t feel real, even after her husband told her what happened.
“He even sent me the article, the news feed, and it just wasn’t real. I couldn’t grasp it. The first thing I wanted to do was to call Michelle with this epic news, and then it hits you,” she said. “You’re just like, ‘Michelle would totally love this,’ or, ‘Oh, that’s Christian,’ and then it just hits you over and over,” Thompson said. “There’s still moments like nah, it can’t be, they’re just on an adventure and they’re going to be home.”
Friends say the Deatons were a big part of the Portland community, making a lasting impact on everyone they knew, many now coming together as they navigate this loss.
“They had all these beautiful and strong relationships in these different circles and through this, it has connected those circles,” Thompson said. “Right now, those memories, and there’s so many memories. Everything links us back to them. Right now, it links us back to a sadness. All of us are trying to get to the point where we can honor them by living our lives like them. We can’t take any moment for granted.”
Thompson says they’re also remembering their friends for how they lived.
“They took every opportunity. They never missed a chance to say, ‘I love you,’ or to give you a hug and you always knew where you stood,” Thompson said. “I love that no one talks about them of what they were for their careers. They weren’t identified by their careers, and they were both highly successful, but they were, instead, how good of a friend, how good of a son, how good of a daughter, and how present and full of life that they were. What greater honor could we give them?”
Right now, Thompson and friends and family are working on organizing a celebration of life fitting for Christian and Michelle, and say they plan to share details with the community once they settle the details.