Christopher Calma, who died in a boating accident earlier this month, loved adventure, the outdoors and animals, but he was especially attached to his 13-year-old son Luke, his family said.
“His son was all his life,” said Calma’s sister Charlene Thomas of West Islip.
Calma, 50, of Bethpage, fell overboard while fishing with his son near Northport Bay in Huntington on July 3. Calma could swim, family members said, but he wasn’t wearing a life jacket when he fell into the water. Suffolk County police recovered his body on July 9, officials said.
Family members said Calma was a warm and generous man who got the best out of people.
“He treated everyone he met with dignity and respect,” said Brother Andrew Calma. “He was ‘the guy’ who was always there to save the day when you needed him most.”
Calma loved animals – he had a dog named Chewy, after the Star Wars character, and kept several reptiles as pets, including snakes, turtles, and a bearded dragon – according to his family.
“He knew everything about animals, furry and not furry,” said his ex-wife Tida Calma
Calma also loved building things, said his family. “There’s nothing he can’t fix – cars, motorcycles,” said Tida Calma.
Calma was an avid boxer, surfer, and dirt bike rider. “He was always ready for anything,” said Thomas, remembering her brother wrestling with an alligator once in Florida. It is important for Calma to share his passions with his son.
“He always wanted to have fun with Luke,” agreed Tida Calma. “He was totally devoted to Luke.”
Calma grew up in Massapequa and has a degree in biochemistry from Stony Brook University. He worked for 23 years as a sales specialist at Medtronic, a medical technology company specializing in complex spine surgeries. Nurses, surgeons, and his colleagues knew him as “a selfless, accomplished professional,” said Andrew Calma.
“His honest, personable and easy-going manner has earned him the respect of his colleagues and patients alike,” said Calma’s brother.
In addition to his son, his ex-wife, his sister and his brother, Calma leaves 10 other siblings.
A wake for Calma will be held Tuesday from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the William E. Law Funeral Home, 1 Jerusalem Ave., Massapequa.
A funeral mass will be celebrated on Wednesday at 9:45 am at St. Raphael Church, 600 Newbridge Rd., East Meadow.
The Calma family asks anyone who wishes to donate to Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue.