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Funeral Set For Fallen Paris PD Detective

Obituary from Fry Gibbs Funeral Home

Paris, Texas – Detective Manuel Christopher (Chris) Widner, 47, of Powderly, TX, entered into the presence of the Lord on August 22, 2021, in Tyler.

Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 pm Friday, August 27, 2021, in East Paris Baptist Church, with Rev. Chris Kelley officiating, and burial will follow in the Forest Chapel Cemetery. Paris Police Department Honor Guard will provide pallbearers and honors. The family will receive friends from 6:00 pm till 8:00 pm Thursday at the Fry-Gibbs Funeral Home.

Chris was born in Fort Campbell, KY, to parents Emmanuel and Laura Widner on July 19, 1974. He graduated from Hot Springs High School in 1993. Following high school, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice hired Chris. During his time there, they promoted him to Lieutenant of the Field Department. TDCJ employed him for 15 years, and the City of Paris hired him in 2010, where he served with integrity and honor as a Patrolman and as a Detective. He also served on the Honor Guard and as a hostage negotiator. 

Chris was named Officer of the Year in 2016. He was deeply loved and respected by all of his brothers and sisters in blue. Each of them knew they could count on Chris on the job and in life.

Chris loved the outdoors, including hunting and fishing, especially with his son Cameron. He enjoyed riding his tractor and mowing. He wanted anything that had to do with being outside. Chris was known for his love for cooking, especially for his family and for large groups. With Chris, you knew there would always be more than enough food.

Chris was a man of faith. His faith in Christ and his relationship with God had become the foundation of his life. He was a member of the Gospel Lighthouse Pentecostal Church of God, where he had served as a deacon and was currently the Men’s Ministry Leader. Chris loved his church family, and they returned their love deeply.

Chris married the love of his life, Michelle Sparks, on April 8, 2006. For over 15 years, they have built a beautiful life of love and respect together. Chris was a doting and loving husband and lived his life to take care of Michelle and his family. God blessed Chris and Michelle with an awesome son, Cameron. It was easy for all who knew Chris to see that Cameron was Chris’s pride and joy. Chris and Cameron had a love for one another that every father and son should have. Chris loved Jay, Chelsie, and Amber just like they were his own. He loved all of his grandchildren deeply as well. His love for his parents, Emmanuel and Laura, his brother Vernon, and his sister Deanna was evident. Not only did Chris love his family, but his family greatly loved him. Chris had more friends than could be counted and was loved by each of them. All will miss him.

Chris was a man of faith, character, and integrity. He lived a life that serves as an example for all of us to follow. Chris impacted more lives than he could have ever imagined.

He was preceded in death by his brother, Cpl. Vernon Ralph Widner, his step-son Sgt. Jay Hoskins and his father-in-law Rev. James Sparks.

Michelle Widner and son, Cameron Widner of Powderly; step-daughters, Chelsie McKnight and husband Colby of Paris; and Amber Young of Irving, TX; sister, Deanna Gilbert and husband Michael of Lorena, TX; parents Emmanuel and Laura Widner of Gatesville, TX; mother-in-law Lynn Sparks of Powderly; grandchildren Kylee Young, Kinsey Walters, Aiden Walters, Karlee Vaughn, Jaycee McKnight, Ashton McKnight, Tristen Hoskins, Jay Wyatt Hoskins, Rowen Hoskins, Piper Hoskins; and nephew, Nolan Gilbert will forever cherish Chris.

The family requests that instead of flowers, you can donate to the Gospel Lighthouse PCG building fund. Mailing address 7600 Hwy 271 North Powderly, TX, donations can be made online through the tithe.ly app.