"He could make anyone feel like they could be his best friend," said Brittany Gleason of her boyfriend, Chris Buro. "He was a very friendly, very social person, and he knew how to connect with lots of people."
He has invariably been described as a gregarious charmer with a lust for life.
Buro, 20, of McLean, was one of three victims shot to death Christmas morning in a Great Falls home by Nathan Cheatham, 27, after Cheatham fatally shot his mother at their home in McLean and before he shot himself.
His father, Ronald Buro of Vienna, said Chris had been staying for a week or so at the home of Janina Price, where the shooting took place. He said Chris likely would have moved in with him in a month or two, when he got a car. Meanwhile, he was staying close to Gleason to catch rides with her to and from the Macaroni Grill in Reston, where the two had just gotten jobs. Alex Price, one of Janina's sons, was a close friend of his.
Ronald said his son's funeral was attended by some 200 people, from friends to his first Catechism teacher to school teachers from elementary through high school. He said the woman who had interviewed Chris for his new job at the Macaroni Grill was there crying alongside his family.
Ronald and his wife, Carol, Chris' stepmother, attributed the broad response to Chris' death to his ability to relate to people and draw them in.
In the eulogy Ronald wrote, which was read by Chris' godfather at the funeral, he spoke of Chris' knack for relating to his father's golf partners when they all played together, even when Chris was a teenager. "But most of all was when he was around younger children that same ability to connect and draw them to him was almost magical," he wrote.
"I know I'm his father," said Ronald, "but he was a really terrific kid."
"ALL OF HIS GUY FRIENDS cared about him so much, and it was so obvious because they'd do anything for him," said Glean. "It was really clear the love that they had for each other," she said. "And you don't always see that with guys."
Carol said many of his friends have gotten tattoos to commemorate him.
Friends responded to Chris' death via e-mail.
"One thing that I remember most about him ever since he was a young child was this intense sparkle in his eyes that never left him and that I haven't seen in anyone else again," Emma Danoff, who knew Chris as a child, wrote from Los Angeles. "That is how I will always remember him."
Classmate Robert Walker wrote, "Chris was a warm, kind-hearted young man, known and generally well liked by all that knew him. I will always remember him as the vibrant young fellow with never an ill word about anyone."
"He always had something funny and uplifting to say," wrote classmate Erin Foley, who said Chris was her third-grade boyfriend. "On different occassions he stood up for people that others were making fun of. He didn't care what other people thought." She also noted that he was comfortable with many different groups of friends and always had "a way with the ladies."
CAROL NOTED THAT during the year that they had been together Chris and Gleason had become inseparable. "He saw her every day," she said. And she gave accounts of how he attended all of Gleason's little sister's lacrosse games "and cheered really loud, just like a big brother," and how, when Gleason spent a few months in Brazil, Chris would go to her house and watch movies with her mother.
"He was a really comforting person toward me," said Gleason. "I don't think anyone else really got to see that side of him — the really sweet, sensitive, caring side." Most people, she said, got the "life of the party" side of her boyfriend.
And they got it often.
"He loved hanging out with his friends. That was his main thing. That's what he was doing every day," said Gleason.
Among his other interests, said his father, was golf. By the time Chris was 13, he was an all-star baseball player, said Ronald. But around the age of 14, he more or less gave up baseball to pursue golf.
His junior year at Langley High School, he was co-captain of the golf team that became the state champions, said Ronald.
"He got close to being a scratch golfer, so he was pretty good. He was about a one or a two," he said. "He started thinking that was what he was going to do. Not play professionally, but teach professionally." He said Chris was already doing some freelance work, giving lessons to children.
Carol said Chris and his father played golf together frequently. "His dad was always trying to get as good as Chris at golf," she said, noting that Chris had an impressive swing.
Gleason said Chris also excelled at pool and at Texas Hold 'Em poker.
And Carol said she hated fishing with him "because he would catch the fish. Always."
Gleason said she will always picture Chris with a smile on his face. "He always had a smile, and he always wanted a hug, and he always wanted me to tell him I loved him. And he always had a baseball cap on," she said, adding that the cap would be sideways.
The last time Carol and Ronald spent with Chris was when they drove down to Myrtle Beach to visit Chris' godfather for Thanksgiving, "and he held his little sister [Nicole, 2] almost all the way down," said Carol. "And on the way down there, Chris called Brittany about six times."
Gleason recalled when she was in Brazil and "all his money went to calling cards."
When she came back, she said, she was pleasantly stunned to get off the plane and find him, in spite of his aversion to "preppy" clothes, "standing there wearing a pink polo shirt with pink roses, without his hat on."
Christopher J. Buro is also survived by his mother, Kathleen Brandel, and her husband, Ralph Hendry; grandparents Bill and Dorothy Brandel and Jean Buro; brother Dominick; sisters Jeanette and Nicole; and step-brothers Brad Dutton and Bryan Hendry.