Friends and family of Christopher Baisley will gather to mourn his tragic passing this week in Peekskill and Cortlandt. Baisley, after saving his seven-year-old niece in the Hudson River in Peekskill Aug. 3. He was 52 years old.
Described as fun, loving, big-hearted, strong, active and caring, Baisley’s loved ones have been leaving messages of support for his family and describing fond memories of him on Patch and on Facebook. Baisley worked as an operating engineer in New York City for United Rentals.
Visiting hours will be held Monday at Joseph F. Nardone Funeral Home, at 414 Washington St., Peekskill. The Funeral Mass will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. at St. Columbanus Church, with burial to follow at Assumption Cemetery, both in Cortlandt.
He is survived by his parents, Albert and Christina Baisley, of Cortlandt Manor, a brother, Craig (Kathy) Baisley, of Charlotte, NC, nieces and nephews, Kayci, Kylee, Joseph and Averi, and his longtime companion, Kathy Cancerelli. He also has several cousins, according to his obituary published on LoHud.com.
“A family-loving, big-hearted, hard working, always a smile on his face, fun-loving guy died a hero, trying to save his niece,” wrote Sean P. Bowdren on Patch.
Christopher Baisley, had taken his nieces and nephew out for fun in the river when the youngest niece fell off of a tubing raft. After he jumped in to save her, he apparently suffered some kind of distress and drifted away from the children as they pulled their sister safely to the boat. The children screamed for help for an hour until they figured out how to contact the coast guard. A tour boat found his lifeless body an hour later, just as the county police arrived on the scene.
All three children were wearing life jackets, as is required by law. Baisley was not wearing a life jacket, but there was one on the boat for him, which is all the law requires for adults.
Baisley’s mother told the Journal News’ Marcela Rojas that he suffered from asthma and that she thinks he must have had either an asthma or heart attack. Rojas reports that the Westcester Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy Saturday and said the results are pending further studies.
Friends who grew up with Baisley, as well as more recent friends from his adult life, have been writing messages about him on Patch. One pointed out that Baisely was hard working and overcame many obstacles in his life.
Baisley served as a counslor for people in Alcoholic Anonymous for the last ten years, and has been described as someone who would always go “out of his way to help.”
“Christopher definitely lived life one day at a time, making the most of every day. He was a very talented, hard-working man. We had fun in every season, winter, spring, summer, and fall,” wrote a Patch user.
Please share your memories of Baisley on the comments here if you would like.