December 22, 1946 – March 31, 2022 Christopher Madison, former CEO of ColorGraphics, one of the nation’s largest commercial printing companies, passed away peacefully at 75, surrounded by his loved ones.
Christopher N. Madison was born in Los Angeles, California, to Anne and Harold “Pete” Madison. He grew up in La Cañada, California, and was part of the first graduating class from La Cañada High School. He then became a resident of Pasadena, where he lived for over 50 years with his wife and children. He had strong ties to his community and worked with many local businesses and elected officials to bring together solutions to improve the city he loved and called home.
Chris attended Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles. During college, Chris worked his way through many positions at ColorGraphics, Inc., a company his father and Tom Graham, started in 1957. He learned all aspects of the business from driving a delivery truck, shipping and operations, to sales. In 1978, he was named President, CEO, and Chairman for Madison/Graham ColorGraphics. His multi-decade leadership of ColorGraphics developed this company into one of the nation’s largest commercial printing companies, which earned both him and ColorGraphics a reputation as an industry leader. ColorGraphics had printing plants in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Hawaii, and Orange County. After his illustrious career in printing, Chris took on a new challenge and became the Chairman of Sierra Nevada Investment Group, LLC (“SNIG”), a private real estate investment company located in Eagle Rock, CA. SNIG invests primarily in commercial real estate properties in Southern California.
Chris also served as a board member on several startup companies, charitable organizations, and educational organizations including; Junior Chamber of Commerce, Art Center College of Design, Kidspace, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and Pictage. Chris was a long-standing member of the Young President’s Organization and was honored to be the Chairman of the 475th Fighter Group Historical Foundation. This organization and museum was started by Chris’ father, Pete Madison, to perpetuate the legacy of the flying P-38 and 475th Fighter Group 432 Squadron, which Pete served with in WWII.
Chris is survived by his loving wife Lois, his two children Wendy and David, four grandchildren; Lyla, Christopher, Lauren, and Colin, and his extended family and friends.
Chris’s family was most important to him. He met Lois when they were 15 and spent 60 amazing years together. Their love for each other was immeasurable, and they had an incredible life. Chris and Lois shared a love of travel, spending their time exploring the world. The more exotic and remote the location, the more they enjoyed it. Their adventures have taken them to far off countries and destinations not even on the map. Chris loved being near water. Whether he was surfing the waves as a young boy, or enjoying the water from his boats as an adult. It was a wonderful privilege and the adventure of a lifetime being the captain of the Sea Wolf, a 62-foot Blanchard, which took Chris and his family exploring the Northwest and Alaska.
Chris’ legacy is simple, yet profound. Worry less about your reputation and more about your character, for character is what you are, and your reputation is what others think you are. Chris had an amazing character… He was kind. Hey was humble. Hey was generous. He was funny with a quick wit. He was adventurous, enjoyable, and loved playing Gin Rummy with a worthy opponent. To Chris, it was about the time spent connecting with his friends and not always about the win. He was gracious in victory and humble in defeat. Chris was genuinely interested in people and dedicated himself to the conversations they shared. He would raise people up and make them feel special, like they could accomplish anything. The saying goes…leave everything a little better than when you found it…after a conversation with Chris, he made everyone better. Chris’s depth of character knew no bounds. His kindness and generosity resonated with everyone he met. There is a void in this world that Chris once filled. We are all better for knowing him, and he will be forever missed.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the two organizations close to Chris’s heart: The International Printing Museum or the 475th Fighter Group Historical Foundation.
Published by Los Angeles Times on May 15, 2022.