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Quilts are patchwork of memories.

Byline: Jim Feehan The Register-Guard

Pieces of four quilts tell a story of a Eugene man who died in a car accident 13 months ago during an icy commute to work on Interstate 5.

The memory of Christopher Norman Draper, 19, lives on in the individualized lap quilts using pieces of his clothing.

The quilts were hand-sewn and pieced together by Draper's mother-in-law, Diane Shores, and her mother, Anita Ward. The pair spent five to six hours a weekend since last summer working on the quilts, Ward said.

Shores and Ward presented the quilts to Christopher's parents - Leon and Annette Draper, and to his siblings, Brandon, 19, and Amanda, 17 - for Christmas.

The quilts include a portion of Draper's wedding shirt, the shirt he wore at his high school prom, Hawaiian shirts, Navy Sea Cadet shirts, and Disneyland T-shirts from a teenage visit to the Magic Kingdom.

Favorite work shirts, a towel from his days as a member of the Willamette High School swim team, a Hooters T-shirt and a pair of heart-shaped boxer shorts also are woven into the quilts.

Draper's involvement in the Scouts also is reflected in the quilts, which include fabric from his Boy Scout uniforms. A member of Troop 22, Draper was named an Eagle Scout, the highest honor awarded by the Boy Scouts, during his sophomore year of high school.

Draper was killed in December 2003 when his southbound 1997 Ford pickup truck slipped off the roadway into the median and rolled over into northbound traffic. It was struck by a northbound 1985 Freightliner truck pulling two trailers loaded with plywood. The accident occurred just north of the I-5/Highway 58 junction.

Assembling the quilts has been healing to both sides of the family, Shores said.

"This should show people who are grieving over the loss of a loved one that you can do something therapeutic," said Christopher's widow, Andrea Draper, 23.

The two met at Willamette High School, fell in love and were married a month after Christopher's graduation.

Annette Draper said she keeps her quilt by her bedside.

"At first it made me sad to see his clothes, but I like it. It's part of him being here with us," she said.

Leon Draper said he, too, appreciates the heartfelt gift commemorating his son's life.

"I miss him every day," he said.

CAPTION(S):

Christopher Norman Draper, who died in a car crash at age 19, is memorialized in quilts shown by (from left) Leon Draper, Diane Shores, Andrea Draper, Anita Ward and Annette Draper. The quilts were made by Shores, Christopher's mother-in-law, and Ward, her mother.
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Title Annotation:General News; The clothing of a young man who died in a car crash is incorporated in a project that commemorates his life
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jan 10, 2005
Words:435
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