On behalf of the RCI family, and the countless lives touched by Christel DeHaan, we are deeply saddened by the news of her passing. We are comforted to learn that she was surrounded by her beloved family, and our heavy hearts are uplifted by the memories of her remarkable life.
Christel DeHaan was an accomplished business visionary, a philanthropist, community leader, and Christel House International Founder and Board Chair. Her family and all of her Christel House children around the world were her greatest joy and her circle of friends was boundless. Her legacy is remarkable in its diversity —and her ability to truly change the world for the better is something that inspires us all.
After co-founding RCI, the world's largest timeshare exchange company, in 1974, Christel went on to found Christel House International in 1998. The two organizations remain forever connected through her enduring vision and compassion. In January, at the annual RCI Event of the Year, I had the privilege of presenting Christel with the very first Industry Icon Award. Though she was unable to join us in New York to receive the award, she shared this video – reminding us, in her own words, of the life's work she carried out with such passion, grace, and joy. I will forever cherish this very special memory among countless others, reflecting the genuine friendship we shared.
Today, as I reflect on Christel's life so beautifully lived, I am reminded and humbled by the difference one person made in the lives of so many. We all have the potential to expand our view – it's a matter of opening our eyes, our minds, and our hearts. Timeless truths that are especially important now.
Together, our dedicated Christel House Board will continue to keep Christel's remarkable legacy thriving as we guide the strategies of learning centers in Mexico, South Africa, India, and the United States. Wyndham Destinations and RCI will continue our long history of supporting the mission of Christel House International. We recognize that through our support, the lives of deserving children around the world are transformed for the better. If you would like to join us in celebrating Christel's life, visit Christel House International.
If you knew Christel DeHaan, it's likely that there was love in your heart for her. To all of you, I share your sadness, and I encourage you to find strength in the memories you shared. She entrusted her legacy to us &emdash; and we will proudly carry on. A celebration of life will be hosted in the fall when we will gather to honor Christel's legacy. May you rest in peace, Christel —thank you for touching our lives so profoundly.
– OLIVIER CHAVY