Inspired by a generosity that lives on.
The CrossClef mark was conceived in the fall of 2001. My father, Chuck Risser, died earlier that year of a heart attack at the age of 59. Though I live in Southern California, I was in Minneapolis for the baptism of my new Goddaughter. So I was fortunate enough to enjoy breakfast with my father the day before he died.
Aside from the commotion and anguish that accompanies such a sudden and tragic loss, there are always details to take care of. Such as a gravestone. My father’s wife, Maria, handling the situation with grace, dignity and incredible strength, asked if I’d like to design my father’s gravestone. I, of course, was honored.
The challenge was to create artwork that reflected the lives of both my father and Maria, since she would be sharing the stone eventually. Other than family and friends, the two most significant aspects of their lives are the church and music.
“Artwork that combined music and worship seemed most appropriate.”
My father was very involved with the church throughout his life – seminary trained and a member of countless choral groups. Maria is a career church organist. So the music and church connection was strong for her, as well. Furthermore, they first met each other when my father took piano lessons from Maria. Thus, artwork that combined music and worship seemed most appropriate. And the CrossClef was born.
CrossClef continues to grow and grow.
What truly distinguishes the CrossClef is how the Clef wraps around the Cross. They are intertwined – reflecting the inseparable nature of the union between music and worship.
In summer of 2002, my mother and I were examining the CrossClef gravestone artwork when she commented on how it could make a nice piece of jewelry.
Then she suggested maybe I could make pendants as memorial gifts for those closest to my dad. “In fact,” she said, “maybe others would want them, too.” And the wheels started turning.
“Ideas for products came flowing out. And CrossClef soon grew in potential.”
One of my first thoughts was to take proceeds from the sale of products and create a foundation in my father’s name that would support the causes he believed in. Suddenly, CrossClef grew in importance. Ideas for products came flowing out. And CrossClef soon grew in potential.
The first results are the fine products you see on this web site. And there are dozens more in development for the future.
From an interesting history to an exciting future.
The future looks bright for CrossClef. The products created thus far have been received very well – consistantly garnering gracious compliments.
And we have plenty more products in development.
Knowing my father’s goodwill and generosity lives on is what fuels this endeavor.
What’s most important, though, is how these products will give back. The Chuck Risser Foundation is in its infancy. As sales of CrossClef products grow, so will the Foundation. Knowing that my father’s goodwill and generosity lives on is what drives me to continue down this wonderful journey.
CrossClef couldn’t have gotten this far without the tremendous support, guidance and assistance of those around me. Here is just a short list of the many very special people to whom I will always owe an infinite amount of gratitude:
Maria, Mom, Karyn, Wes Billman, Alison Guidry, Michael Mark, Lynne Cooper, Josey Miller, Bob Siemons, Eric Mowrey, Harry Hamill, Carl Johnson, and Denis Zimmermann to name just a few.
– John Risser