Friday, May 26, 2017
11:00 AM EDT
Zion Lutheran Church
77 West 32nd Street
Holland, MI 49423
Life Story / Obituary
Christina June Albers (nee Barber) passed away peacefully in her sleep into the Lord's welcoming arms on April 29, 2017. Chris was born July 15, 1931 to Niles & Rose (Moon) Barber in Toquin, MI, the last of 7 children. Chris never knew her father, as he died from a brain tumor when she was five months old, leaving Rose as a single mother with six young children.
When Chris was two, the family moved to Eagle Street in South Haven, and later to Saugatuck. Chris didn't like the moves, but still formed many lasting friendships wherever she was. Chris was quite the tomboy in her youth, climbing trees, playing The Lone Ranger with her brothers, and climbing more trees. Saugatuck's Big Pavilion was an important part of Chris' young adult life - she fondly reminisced about roller skating to Sun Valley, the live shows, and working there before it was destroyed by fire. Chris eventually moved back to South Haven to live with her mother and step-father, Tom Rumzek until her marriage on June 29, 1957 to C. Richard Albers. Chris also spent many years caring for her disabled mother. She loved her mother dearly and missed her every day since her passing in 1974.
Chris' hobbies were many - sports, drawing, writing, more sports, music, record collecting, fishing, and still more sports. While living on the Black River in South Haven, brothers, nephews and in-laws always joined her to fish for pike, bass, catfish, or the occasional salmon or carp, either from the river bank or out in the old rowboat. Chris also loved animals and her home became a refuge for strays or drop-offs that found their way to the huge pan in the yard she kept full of food. When her favorite cat Calico died, she said never again would she have or get attached to another pet. There would be at least 9 more 'never agains.'
Chris was a longtime Detroit Tigers fan, and was Michigan football's biggest fan. It made her life when grandson Nick treated her to the U-M & Delaware State game at the Big House. She tailgated like a champ and even though it was cold, she loved every minute of it! Chris loyally followed the South Haven Rams teams through the 60's - 80's. After a break, she picked up where she left off following her grandchildren's sports with Saugatuck and Saginaw Valley. She was quite the recordkeeper, logging and scrapbooking results of Big Ten, Wolverine, OK Silver & SAC conference games years before anyone heard of scrapbooking! She put countless miles on many cars traveling to various destinations to watch her favorite teams play.
One of Chris' favorite moments was performing as a jester in the Feaste of the Nativity production at Zion Lutheran Church, where she had been a member. She was a natural ham and she easily brought that into the character she played.
Chris also loved her grandchildren more than life itself, and while not necessarily the best disciplinarian, she was the best grandma she could be, leaving her grandchildren with many funny and loving memories.
In addition to her parents and husband, Chris was also preceded in death by sisters, Lorraine Barber and Elizabeth Branham; brothers Verne, Gordon, Franklin, and Charles Barber; brothers-in-law Norman Albers and Raymond Branham; sisters-in-law Dorothy (Albers) White and Grace (Albers) Williamson; niece Diane Barber; and nephews Franklin Branham, Charles, Steven, and John David Barber; dearest friends Carol Birkholz, MaryBelle Cobb, Rose Jedlicka; and her daughter's father, Harry T. Dekker.
Christina is survived by daughter Sharon (Tom) Saarela of Saugatuck; grandchildren Crystal (Jonathan) Funckes of Zeeland, Nicholas Saarela of East Lansing, and Jenna Saarela of Saginaw. Additional survivors include brothers-in-law David (Lois) Albers, and John (Lynda) Albers, and sisters-in-law Alice (Vern) Avery, MaryEllen (Marvin) Hall, Doris (Jack) Sutherland, Judy Beckwith, and Irene Albers, numerous nieces and nephews, and Goddaughter, Dawn Lawson.
Cremation has taken place and cremains will rest beside her mother at North Shore Memory Gardens in Benton Harbor, at a later date. A memorial celebration of Chris' life will be held Friday, May 26 at Zion Lutheran Church, 77 West 32nd Street, in Holland, at 11:00 AM, with Pastor Ryan Winningham officiating. Arrangements are by the Dykstra Funeral Home-Mulder Chapel.