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Christopher Roger Carwardine (October 2, 1937 - April 16, 2020) was an American entrepreneur and the founder and long-time CEO of Carwardine Parks, and also was chief experience officer (CXO) of Brazilian conglomerate Grupo Wágner from 2009-2015, as well as the founder & CEO of two separate companies, eMagic LLC and American Telephone Entertainment Services Inc.

Biography

Christopher was born in Hillsboro, North Dakota. His mother was of Ojibwe Indian descent and his father was of English and Norwegian descent.

He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1964 at age 26, he met his wife, Hiroko Carwardine (Formerly Hiroko Hashimoto) in technology class. They married shortly after their graduations.

Christopher was a notable real-estate agent in the Richmond, Virginia area, best known with his advertising slogan "Chris Carwardine will sell it!", and also known for entertaining visitors to open houses with his comedic stylings.

In 1978, he bought a disused landfill in Newport News, Virginia and cleared the site to begin the construction of Carwardine Colony, which took 2 years to build on that very site. It opened in 1980, and was described by Coasters as "America's Best New Theme Park of 1980".

In 1986, Christopher founded American Telephone Entertainment Services Inc., incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Lynbrook, New York, to operate 1-900 numbers.

In 1992, he founded Dept. 2 productions.

In 2016, Christopher retired from Carwardine Parks due to his struggle with Pancreatic cancer. He named Wayne Carwardine II as the new CEO of Carwardine Parks.

Christopher died peacefully on April 16, 2020 at his home in Franklin, Virginia. He was given a state funeral in Richmond at the Virginia State Capitol, which was held behind closed doors due to the then-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. He is buried at Greenlawn Memorial Park in Newport News.

Trivia

  • His appearance inspired Lyle Lanley from the Simpsons.
  • In 1986, He lost his glasses at Carwardine Colony, they were found in 2011.
    • The glasses were sold on eBay for $37,000 by one of the employees of Carwaridne Colony that was a part of Carwardine Capsule excavation.
  • A memorial plaque is planned to erected at Carawardine Colony on the site of the Carwardine Capsule.
  • Christopher is regarded as a great benefactor in the state of Virginia, including paving over notoriously pothole-ridden roads, building schools & hospitals in rural areas, and making donations to hundreds of charities and Virginia PBS member stations.
  • He was often called "Mr. Carwardine" or "Lord Carwardine" by his employees.
  • He was an owner of a few Chuck E. Cheese's animatronics that he had in a private collection. The animatronics were relocated to be retrofitted for Jeepers stores.
  • He was a Chuck E. Cheese's franchiser, currently, his franchises are owned by Alex Carwardine.
  • The Crazy Chris' Wild Ride roller coaster at Carwardine Corners was named after him.
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