Kris Gmür, 1973-2017
Kris Gmür was given rest and relief on 13 March 2017 when he passed away peacefully with his wife and his mother by his side at les Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, following a marathon differential diagnosis which began in December 2014.
Kristopher John Gmür was born on 25th October 1973, in Green County, Wisconsin, USA to parents Karl & Sheila, and joining siblings Monika & William. After his mother’s tragic young passing, Kaye entered the family’s life and Kris was blessed to gain another loving mother.
Kristopher graduated from New Glarus High School, attended the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse, graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and later earned his MBA from Edgewood College in Madison, Wisconsin. Following completion of his undergraduate degree and thanks to his dual nationality, Kris spent a winter season living and working in Switzerland, which planted in him a deep connection to the mountains that lived within him and beckoned him back.
After a 3-year courtship, Kristopher married Teresa Kazmerzak on 1st June 2013, under a canopy of oak trees and surrounded by the things he loved most: family, friends, live music, and by honoring his Swiss heritage. This was the greatest day of both Kristopher and Teresa’s lives, and a celebration for the ages.
Although Kristopher was a sport enthusiast of all seasons, baseball was his great joy. An Original Tourist (#25) for the New Glarus Home Talent baseball team, Kris spent many summers partying way too much and getting into (more than a little) trouble—but he also played a lot of baseball and made some of the best friends one could ever hope for.
Kris was a strong man and although he could be quite tough in business, he was always compassionate and fair. This combination of skills and traits made him successful in dealings and respected as a colleague. Kris’ career did not solely define him, but his strong work ethic meant that he was driven to succeed in all he set out to do. After starting his career in banking as a teller at the Bank of New Glarus, Kris worked his way up in the banking and business community of Madison, Wisconsin and the Greater Midwest. His most recent post was Business Banking Area Manager of Greater Wisconsin for JP Morgan Chase Bank. In 2013 Kris was featured among the area’s “40 Under 40” list.
Kris was always looking for a party, whether it was joining his dad for Thirsty Thursday at Puempel’s Tavern, listening to The Jimmy’s at Töfflers, or polka dancing at the New Glarus Hotel on a Saturday night. His presence in the New Glarus community was especially known during festival weekends-- being active in the Wilhelm Tell drama, playing drums during Polkafest and Oktoberfest, selling beer during Music Fest, and any other way he could support America’s Little Switzerland. Kris was a proud member (tenor 2) of the New Glarus Jodlerklub and Männerchor, (he was a master of talerschwingen), and enjoyed traveling and competing with the groups in Green County and across the USA, Canada, and Switzerland.
Kris and Teresa shared an uncommon bond, and a devotion to one another that disease only made stronger. Early in their relationship they knew that they would move to Switzerland to satisfy their need to grow, explore, learn, and experience a new way of life. When they made the move in the summer of 2014, Kris and Teresa knew it would be difficult to start over in a place they didn’t know, and where they only had each other. Although they couldn't have known what lay ahead, they were as prepared for it as any couple ever could be, and grew deeper in their love with every new hurdle.
It is fair to say that Geneva was not exactly as they had dreamt, but in other ways they found just what they were looking for: a passion for life and an understanding of love that can only be found when faced with the most arduous of circumstances. The friends that became their family during the worst of times helped them see the best that life could be and could offer.
Above all other things, Kristopher valued family and a sense of home. For most of Kris’ life, New Glarus, Wisconsin, USA was his home, but for always, Switzerland was his Heimat. Travel and adventure enriched his life, but his many communities sustained him.
Kris is preceded in death by his parents, grandparents, and several aunts and uncles.
He is survived by a family that cannot fathom a world without their husband, brother, son, uncle, cousin, grandson and friend: wife, Teresa Gmür, step-mom Kaye Gmur, sister Monika (Bob) Pernot, brother William (Lynnette) Gmur, parents-in-law Rod & Christine Kazmerzak, siblings-in-law David & Heather Meyer, Justin & Annette Baumgartner, Franz & Angie Schuttenhelm, Tom & Jamie Kazmerzak, many nieces and nephews (Trisha, Trevor, Jakob, Josef, Lauren, Kara, Avery, Mara, Talia and Mary), cousins, aunts, uncles and grandmothers, as well as by the friends that love him like family in the USA, Switzerland and across the globe.
A memorial service will be held at Kris & Teresa’s church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva, 20 Rue Verdaine, Genève 1204, on Saturday 18 March at 15:00 CET. Family and friends are welcome to visit Kristopher from now until 9:00am Monday morning at Funèbres Murith at 89 boulevard de la Cluse, Genève 1211. You may enter at any time of day, but on the weekend, or after normal hours by pressing 1988A on the door code. Kristopher is in salon 5.
In accordance with Kris’ wishes, he will be cremated, and his ashes will be dispersed at the lookout point of the Girengärtli in Amden, St. Gallen, Switzerland.
A memorial service will be held in New Glarus, Wisconsin, USA soon, with details to follow.
In lieu of flowers, Teresa requests that donations either be made to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Geneva (English Speaking Congregation), or to a memorial fund being established in Kris’ name to benefit the causes he held closest to his heart (please go to the following link:
Teresa’s address in Switzerland:
Route de Florissant 130
In the USA:
P.O. Box 191
New Glarus, WI 53574