WINDSOR, Colo. (CBS4) – Less than a week after losing their loved one in a tragic accident, family and friends of Cristopher Lee Ramirez bid farewell for a final time. Ramirez, 26, of Boulder, was working in a trench installing utilities for a new Windsor neighborhood when the trench suddenly collapsed. He and coworker Jorge Valdez, 41, of Denver, were killed after being buried in a 15-foot-deep trench.
At his funeral, Ramirez was remembered as a loving man who was quick to forgive others. His sarcasm, drive to complete projects and passion for helping others were just a few qualities his widow Johanna Avita Hernandez recalled.
Hernandez invited CBS4 to the funeral in hope of showing the world how much her husband was loved, and how much he will be missed. She told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas Ramirez should be remembered for what he did on this earth, and not the way he passed.
“He was my Corazon (heart,)” Hernandez said. “(Cristopher ) was the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”
Hernandez said her love she shared with Ramirez was destiny. She met him at a party she originally didn’t want to attend, prior to St. Patrick’s Day in 2018.
“He was so cute. He asked me if he could kiss me. And, I said no,” Hernandez said.
However, Ramirez wouldn’t let her initial rejection stop him from pursuing his love. The duo would eventually realize their mutual love for movies and food, and would start their relationship. Though unplanned, the young-couple was thrilled to learn they were expecting their first child, a baby boy.
“His daddy loved him,” Hernandez said.
Due in June, Hernandez and Ramirez spent their final Sunday together at the flea market. They later went to a family get together, and embraced each other as they played card games throughout the night.
Hernandez recalled making dinner for Ramirez the next night. There was no way she could know it would be her last meal with her love.
“We talked about life, and how much we cherished each other. I told him how much I loved him, and how much I was happy that he was in my life,” Hernandez recalled.
Every morning, Ramirez would wake her up with a gentle kiss. The duo would cuddle in bed for a few minutes before Ramirez left for work. Hernandez said she followed their morning ritual, and gave her husband blessings as he left for work.
Later in the afternoon, the duo was sharing a quick conversation on the phone. Ramirez was on-location for work in Windsor. He was about to go back in to a trench to continue installation of a sewage pipe for a new housing development.
“He said, ‘I’m a little busy right now. So, I’ll call you later.’ And, later never came,” Hernandez said, as she wiped tears from her eyes.
Firefighters told CBS4 the two workers were buried below the ground, about 15-feet-deep. Large machinery was not useful, as it created a greater danger for those trapped. Therefore, crews had to use hand shovels to try and get to the duo without greater collapse. Unfortunately, efforts fell short.
“I will just always miss him, and I will always love him,” Hernandez said.
With a child coming in a couple months, Hernandez said she was excited to raise her son to be like the man his father was.
“When my son grows up, I’ll tell him, ‘Your Daddy was a hero, because your daddy went down there to help somebody. Unfortunately, he got stuck too. But, it is okay. He died doing what he loved to do, helping people,’” Hernandez said.
While she would do almost anything to bring Ramirez back, Hernandez said she was honored to keep his legacy alive by raising his son.
“At least he left me something very beautiful. He gave me the biggest blessing of my life, my baby boy, that I will forever cherish and love,” Hernandez said.
A GoFundMe page was set up to help family pay for funeral expenses, which include transporting Ramirez’s body to Mexico where his family originates.
While the pain of unexpected loss was deep, Hernandez said her love for Ramirez was a great as ever before.
“He’s not dead. To me he is not gone. I have him inside me forever and forever, because his baby is his legacy,” Hernandez said.