In Memoriam: Christian Souza

 

Christian Souza was born July 9, 1965 in Gridley, California. It was apparent from a very early age that Christian’s life, full of love and support from his family, would never be mundane. His creative nature and abilities knew no bounds.  He would delve deeply into every artistic genre; writing, music, painting, film and theatre.  

Highly competent in math, he was encouraged by teachers to pursue that field.  He could be creative when he reached calculus, they said.  But that was not how he saw creativity.  One book he borrowed often from the library as a child had him making “Costumes from around the World.”  The die was cast although he had no way of knowing theatre was in his future.

While still in high school, he won the first nationwide film search for “Visions of the U.S.” sponsored by Sony and the American Film Institute with his film “The New Coffee Generation”, which he produced with friends as actors. The contest was open to amateur and professional film makers alike and was judged by Francis Ford Coppola (Academy Award-Winning Film Director), Jim Henson (Creator of the Muppets), Joan Lunden (Good Morning America) and others.  The following year he was asked to, and judged the contest with Mr. Coppola, Mr. Henson, David Byrne (Talking Heads) and others.

While in high school, he participated in student government, ran track, played football, was a member of the first Butte County Academic Decathlon Team and founded a band with his friends.   For four years he designed the floats for his Gridley High School class of 1984; they never lost a competition. He enjoyed backpacking in the Marble Mountains Wilderness with his father, brothers and friends.   He loved watching Saturday cartoons with his younger brother, was a huge Monty Python fan and wrote and produced a play.

He attended Butte College, studied theatre at Chico State University and film at San Francisco State University, ultimately graduating in theatre from Fresno State University.  From there, he followed his artistic instincts wherever they led him, which had him moving about a great deal, a nomadic life for the most part.

He was known by many for how much he cared for others. Homelessness was a grave concern to him, which found him doing what he could to help people living on the streets. He wrote a novel based on the life of a homeless man living in a canyon in Los Angeles, the draft of which was written while living for a year in the jungles of Hawaii.

Christian left us far too soon in the summer of 2010 but led an amazing life.  He is survived by his parents, Earl and Marilyn (Cummins) Souza, brothers Aaron and Jeff Souza (Robin), his aunt, Myrna (Cummins) Montgomery and his cousins, Denise (Montgomery) Bell (Ralph), Erin Moriarty and Patrick Cummins.

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