"There are no
ordinary people..."
C. S. Lewis

Christine A Murray

Date of Birth: 
6/2/1949
Date of Death: 
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Birthplace: 
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

 

Christine Allen Murray, age 68, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, December 12, at Peace Health St Joseph Hospital, in Bellingham, WA, with her family at her bedside.

Christine grew up in Oakmont, PA, the second of six children. Christine’s life took her to many parts of the world collecting friends as she went. After receiving a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration from Carlow College in Pittsburgh. Christine worked for aerospace companies in New Jersey, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, the Marshall Islands and Alabama.

She moved to Point Roberts, Washington six years ago and worked at the Internationl Marketplace as a cashier. Everyone who met her there would leave with a smile and a chuckle. Chris also put her love and energy into animal rescue with Point Roberts Animal Wellbeing Society (PAWS) and into her many close friendships.

Christine is survived by her sisters Cathy Allen, Carolyn Allen and Candace Uricchio and her brother Tom Allen. She is preceded in death by her Parents, Tom and Ruth Allen and her sister Cindy Bartholomew. 

 

Guestbook Entries

Submitted by Rose Momsen on

Chris will be sorely missed by her freinds at the Point Roberts Library.  She was a great recommender of good audio books, and always was up for a funny story or joke.  Condolences to her family and friends.

Submitted by Toni Levi on

Memories of Chris

by Toni Levi

Chris was one of the first friends I made when I moved to Point Roberts over four years ago.  I wasn't exactly looking for a friend. I was looking for a cat sitter and someone told me that there was a woman who worked  at the supermarket who did a lot of the cat sitting.

It didn't take me long to identify Chris and ask if she would be willing to cat sit for four days while I attended a conference in San Francisco. She said "Sure," and the next day she stopped by my rented cottage in South Beach to meet the cats and check out the situation. I asked if she would be willing to come twice a day, adding that if that was too much, she could just feed the felines once a day and give them larger portions. I reminded myself that she wasn't in the same position as my cat sitter in New Westminster who lived one floor up from me so that coming over more often was pretty easy. Chris would have to drive over. But she said she didn't mind feeding them twice a day.

That's going to cost me, I thought, but when I asked how much she charged, Chris said she didn't charge. She suggested I give a donation to PAWS and bring her a present from San Francisco which is what I did. I was a bit nervous, leaving my fur babies with a stranger, but when I returned it was clear that Chris was a hit with the kitties. They knew the sound of her car pulling into the driveway and came prancing out to greet her as she entered the living room.

"Do you like Rachel Maddow?" Chris asked me when I got back. I told her I did. "I couldn't get MSNBC on your TV," Chris added. I explained that I did not use a cable service. I streamed using Roku, but could and did watch Rachel on my computer. "That's not too comfortable," she said, and invited me to come over to her place for an early dinner and The Rachel Maddow Show.

It was a typical Chris dinner: Johnsonville brats with mac and cheese. White wine. No veggies. Chris was not big on veggies. For dessert, we had ice cream and a long political tirade after the show ended. And so began our friendship.

That friendship continued when I moved out of the rented cottage and into a home I bought in Deltaview. Among its many advantages was that it was closer to Chris. She continued to feed my felines when I went away, so I wasn't too surprised when she asked me if I would be willing to do the same for her when she had eye surgery. This time it was me who said "Sure."

But it turned out there was more to this than just feeding her tribe which, at that time, consisted of four cats: Bubba, Valentine, Turtle, and Pumpkin. Chris knew she would be gone for at least three weeks so she'd organized a team, thus ensuring that no one person had to do too much. Chris was a grand organizer. And I now know most of the people who turned out for that organizational meeting, and also the wine and cheese spread Chris served.

And so things continued. We met regularly for wine and The Rachel Maddow Show followed by a political tirade. When we didn't meet in person, we spoke on the phone. When the eye surgery did not produce the desired results and Chris stopped driving outside the Point, I often took her for dental and other appointments, usually followed by lunch at White Spot, Speed's Fish and Chips or Fatburger in Delta. And we continued to feed each other's cats when necessary. It was a simple, undemanding friendship, but no less valuable for that. I expected it to continue for longer than it did.

It became far more demanding when I was finally diagnosed with subglottic stenosis; my airway was shutting down. It required two surgeries and four hospital stays in Seattle to get that under control. Worst of all, I needed a tracheostomy and returned to Point Roberts unable to speak. And the University of Washington Medical Center only wanted to communicate with me by phone.

"Have you seen my medical records?" I wanted to scream at them. "Do you understand that I have no voice?" But I couldn't scream; I couldn't speak at all. Chris did my screaming for me. She made the phone calls I couldn't make, and she organized my new, voiceless existence, setting up appointments, assuring that medical supplies would be delivered, and arranging for another neighbor, Ron, to drive me back and forth to Seattle.

She also stopped by once a day to feed the cats and clean the litter box, even when I assured her I was physically able to do these things again. She felt I should not be exposing that open trache to cat litter. Anyway, that's what she said. Actually I think she was just checking up on me, making sure I was OK. But she didn't want me to know that. She didn't want to worry me or demand gratitude even though she got it. And eventually, my voice returned along with improved breathing and we resumed our friendship on the old terms.

That came to an abrupt halt about three weeks ago when I received a call from Gail saying Chris was being taken to the hospital in Bellingham in an ambulance. She asked me to feed her cats. No problem. I had a key to her house by that time, and although I was concerned, I expected her home in a week or so.

That did not happen. When I went to visit her and deliver an update on the cats a couple of days later, she told me that she probably would not be able to return home -- ever. I was stunned and at first didn't believe it. But I knew Chris was not given to high drama, or even low drama, or any kind of drama. I did know she'd had breathing problems and that she'd been initially diagnosed with asthma and pneumonia, but there are medicines for those.

Sadly, Chris was right in her prediction that she would not be returning to Point Roberts -- ever. She deteriorated very rapidly. I continued to feed her cats and assured her that I would take them if she died.

"I'm going to die," she told me in the same matter of fact tone she used for so many other aspects of life. "And so is Valentine. You'll have to take her to be euthanized." Valentine was Chris's oldest cat. She had moved with Chris from Kwajalein and she was obviously on her last legs. Chris had talked all summer about having her euthanized, but she kept putting it off. "Poor Valentine," she added. "Now we won't even be able to say goodbye." And that's when we both lost it and cried.

Submitted by Gail McSkimmings on

Chris Murray was bossy, opinionated and had no time for fools.  She was also a generous, kind and loyal friend who had a soft spot for children.  Chris was one of the first friends we made when we moved to Point Roberts.  Of course we met her when she worked at the Marketplace and Chris was immediately drawn to our two daughters Mia and Emme.  Her sometimes gruff demeanor disappeared when she interacted with them.  She remembered birthdays and came to school events and was always interested in their lives.  Emme was especially fond of one of her foster cats - Bubba Stump - and had amusing conversations with Bubba (via Chris) when they ‘spoke’ on the phone.   Chris would often know when I would be bringing the girls to the market and made sure that she wore a pink shirt to match Mia.

I spent many hours with Chris taking her to doctors’ appointments and shopping in Bellingham.   She swooned over “dishy” doctors and complained about their incompetent staff.  She had great stories about the people she met and the places she traveled.   Chris was also a good listener and supported me when I needed it.   

Even though Chris and my husband were on opposite sides of the political spectrum, they bonded over her support of veterans and her appreciation for their service. 

As she slowed down in recent years, Chris stayed engaged in life with her love for animals, music, books, and art.  Everything she did showed her passion for these things.   

When Chris called me on November 21st and said that she wanted an ambulance to take her to the hospital, I knew that the situation was serious.   When I saw her off in the ambulance I was convinced that she would be back soon.  I was in denial over how serious her condition was until almost the end because she continued to be Chris - demanding and complaining and trying to direct her life – and the end of it - from her hospital bed.

I am happy Chris is at peace and that she is now with Valentine.  I am saddened that my friend is gone.   I am so much better a person to have known her and the contribution she made to my life and my family’s life is more than I could ever express. 

Submitted by Bonnie Dinka on

 I knew Chris during my Pre-teen and Teen years. We used to talk. She was always open to being peppered with my questions and made my opinions feel validated. She made me feel smart, relevant, and accurate. What a self-esteem booster! I think of her as cozy, with a willing smile always at the corner of her mouth. I am sad for her family, friends, and cats. I think wherever she is....she is very comfortable. 

Submitted by Carolyn Allen on

Chris was proud of being bossy. I loved reading this. Thank you Gail. Carolyn

Submitted by D. Harris on

Dear Family, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your dear loved one and send you my sincere condolences. May you find comfort from God's word at Revelation 21:3,4 and John 5:28,29. Heartfelt prayers are with you during this difficult time. 

Submitted by ray kirkham on

My sincerest condolences to all of Chris's friends and family. I really liked her . She was a straight shooter. No BS. As "Jack Webb" used to say'Just the facts maam just give me the facts". After many trips to the point for groceries at Marketplace she found out I was a professional musician with the VSO in Vancouver and many other musical projects . She loved to talk music and we often held up other customers on occassion by accident, discussing music.. She is already missed by her customers. Rest in peace my friend. I hope I will have the pleasure of your company again some day. .We'll see you again whenever spring breaks through again.. God bless

Submitted by Fran on

Chris Murray hated black squirrels, anyone with Republican leanings, and green vegetables, she loathed salad.

I first met Chris in Kwajalein when I went to work in the Contracts Management department which was housed on the second floor of the Supplies Building. We met by chance, both of us would arrive insanely early for work, I’d pass by her when I went to use the copier and in short time would stop by her desk and visit. Chris had been on Kwaj for awhile and knew where “all the bodies were buried” (that’s figuratively of course). I soon had the lowdown on many of the people we worked amongst, why things were done the way they were and who to keep an eye on.

Chris was always opinionated and not afraid to make her feelings known, she ruffled more than a few feathers, and suffered some blowback as a result. The people in charge who were out of their depths professionally, were particularly unsettled by a woman who could work circles around them and knew the business much better than they likely ever would. I admired her spirit and felt bad for the ostracism she encountered, we became friends.

Our mutual love of all things with wings, fins, or four legs was our anchor. Chris was the best housesitter on the island, she took care of and loved our two cats, Peter and Emma, and our three enormous salt water aquariums and reef tank anytime we went away. She enjoyed Peter and Emma so much that she put her name in to acquire a feral kitten with the vet tech on island. Dear Valentine provided Chris with endless comfort and enjoyment and some consternation. Valentine would have nothing to do with me, in later years when Chris and I corresponded by email or phone, I would always end our conversations with “and kiss my niece on the lips for me”.  “Sure thing” she’d say, although I don’t think she did!

it was I who encouraged Chris to move out to Point Roberts, things had become very difficult for her financially and we had a grocery store here that always needed staff. It didn’t take too much convincing, and one bright sunny day Chris showed up in our driveway with Valentine in tow and nothing nice to say about the Canadian border officials at the Peace Arch border crossing! I guess they were concerned that she’d disappear into Canada, we’d received a call from them and had assured the caller that yes, she was coming to live with us on the Point.

Chris and Valentine did stay with us for a number of weeks prior to finding a place of her own to rent. As expected, she was snapped up by the “Marketplace” so fast that she almost suffered whiplash. In later years as Chris’s health deteriorated she was well looked after by a number of people, Gail was a godsend always taking Chris back and forth to her appointments.

In the early years, once Chris and I had settled into a comfortable relationship, she would often - to my frustration- state that “I know I won’t live longer than 60”, we had many discussions about being positive, and expecting good things, she would listen, shake her head and repeat, “but I won’t”. We differed Chris and I, she had shed her rose coloured glasses years ago.

i will miss Chris, I am confident that if she is somewhere with “shark bait”, she has also looked in on P and E. We will meet again when we all cross the rainbow bridge.

Submitted by Dorothy Gurney on

Such a shock to my system when I read in our All Points Bulletin that Chris had left us.  I spoke with her what seems to be only a few weeks ago in the Marketplace parking lot and though she wasn't well, she expressed confidence that things would improve for her.  I loved Chris -- her sincere "Did you find everything you needed?" at her cashier's spot and more than that, her sparkling smile and honest interest in me.  As with others, she was one of those very first great people that I met when I moved to the Point.  She was concerned and interested in everyone and later together we watched the passing of our common good friends.  Dear Chris, we will miss you and I know that in your heaven you will be at peace sharing space with those who were there waiting for you.  I look forward to my time with you again.

Submitted by Kathy Kennedy on

I met Chris at Carlow college around 1980-81.  We became fast friends & shared many wonderful times.  I certainly would have never passed statistics if it wasn't for Chris.  She had the same prof & course previously & tutored me for tests as well as helping me keep my sanity.  She also introduced me to sailing.  She had attended a singles workshop and folks signed up for activities they wanted to do.  There she met Dan who had recently bought a flying scot sailboat & sailed at a lake about an hour from Pittsburgh, PA.  Chris knew I loved water and thought I should try sailing.  Dan taught me to sail &. It has become one of my lifelong hobbies.  I met my husband at Moraine & we still sail there as well as bare boat chartering in the BVI. 

Chris was a unique person and a wonderful friend. Bossy, passionate, political, hated veggies, loved animals, great worker - all of the many things that all have said about her are so true.

i am glad to have seen Chris when she was in Pittsburgh in September even if it was for only 1 day.  My husband and I were going away and were only able to see Chris once during her visit but  as always we had a lovely time with her.

i was absolutely shocked when I had an email from Chris saying she was ill and in the hospital.  I am just devastated by her loss but hope she has found peace.   My deepest sympathy to her family and friends.

kathy

 

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