Born in Los Angeles to Mary Louise and Robert Stanton LaBonge on July 27, 1949, Chris was the fourth of eight boys. His brothers remember Chris as the one most counted on to break a silence and get the group to laugh.
Chris was raised in Silver Lake and attended John Marshall High School, Los Angeles City College and graduated from Occidental College. He was an all-league football player and team captain at all schools, and an all-around athlete. He was also “star” of the Marshall High production of Kiss Me, Kate.
Professionally, Chris was a pioneer in direct and digital marketing for over 30 years. He was named a Managing Director at Smith Hemmings Gosden when it was acquired by FCB in the mid-eighties and stayed in that leadership position for over 10 years. He went on to open up Grey’s Direct Marketing Division on the West Coast and built that division into a $100 million agency in just three short years.
Chris married the love of his life, Roberta Ullmann, in 1974. They started a family in 1978 with the birth of their son Matthew James, followed by Katherine Louise in 1986 and Michael Thomas in 1988.
Chris raised his three children on his own after losing his wife Roberta to cancer in 1991. He took great pride in his children, most recently walking Kate down the aisle at her wedding and welcoming his first grandchild, James, into the family in March.
Chris was generous with his time and enjoyed giving back to the community. To honor Roberta’s memory, he spearheaded the launch of the very first USC/Norris patient-care handbook designed to help patients navigate the overwhelming process of cancer treatment. In addition, Chris sponsored a room in the Norris dedicated to Roberta’s memory. Patients still receive care in the Roberta LaBonge room every day. Chris also served on the Board of Trustees at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy from 2008-2013. He was Chair of the Marketing Committee and was most recently working on the Leadership Gift Committee for the capital campaign.
Chris is survived by his seven brothers (Brian, Steve, Denis, Tim, Bob, Tom, and Mark) and his three children: Matt, his wife Meredith and son James; Kate and her husband Jon Paul; and Michael.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy’s capital campaign in his name: fsha.org/in-memoriam-chris-labonge?rc=1.