Bonnie Christner was a godly woman who lived a life of strong Christian faith. Nearly everything she set out to accomplish was met with steadfast prayer. A firm believer, Bonnie faced every challenge with grace by trusting in her Lord and Savior. Prayer helped her survive cancer and helped guide her in helping others in times of trouble. Her family meant the world to her and there was nothing that she wouldn't do for each and every one of them. Many times she shared with them her faith life and encouraged them to lean on the Lord for comfort. Bonnie's life touched the hearts of many. Her warm memories will be cherished by all who knew and loved her.
The Roaring Twenties was a period of sustained economic prosperity with a distinctive cultural edge. Jazz music was booming, as well as the automotive industry, and the nation was seeing large-scale industrial growth which brought about significant changes during this era. With the media focused on celebrities, Isaac and Mildred Marie (Bixler) Kline gave birth at home to their newborn baby girl, Bonnie Jean on March 4, 1925, in South Bend, Indiana. Joining her older sister, June, she arrived during a time in history that was filled with feelings of freedom and independence.
There wasn't much that was left untouched by the effects of the Great Depression during Bonnie's growing years. Accustomed to hard times, her family relocated several times during her childhood. Attending local schools, Bonnie graduated with the Class of 1943 from Lagrange High School. Eager to start making a life of her own, she began working for the Lagrange newspaper shortly after graduating. Just three short years later, she would marry the man of her dreams, Rollin F. Christner who she met at a church function. She was immediately drawn to his Christian faith and they joined in marriage on March 9, 1946. Settling in North Webster they were blessed with three wonderful daughters; Yvonne, Connie, and Ginger.
As a mother, Bonnie was gifted and talented in many ways. She enjoyed sewing, cooking, and baking. Her daughters were blessed with a mother who cared for them affectionately over the years. She wanted nothing but the very best for each of them. Known for taking great pride in their appearance, she was sure they were properly dressed and had the best of manner for every occasion. She was supportive and nurturing teaching them the many aspects of being a woman in a changing world. In addition to her special care as a mother, she extended herself beyond the household to support the family business, Christner Milk Transport Company, a successful trucking company. Bonnie turned to bookkeeping for the Belgian Draft Horse Corporation in Wabash where Rollin served as Executive Secretary. Over the years they raised and showed Belgian Draft horses, as well as Arabian and American Saddlebred horses. Bonnie never felt that this was her passion, yet she sacrificed her time and resources to support her family.
Over the years, Bonnie also held many special interests. No one could imagine that she never had formal piano lessons, as she played so beautifully. Self-taught, she gave private piano lessons out of her home and played the organ at several local churches. With a dream of one day becoming a concert pianist, she took her talents to the North Webster Church of God where she became the founding Director of the choir. This led her to sing in the North Webster Church of God Trio, which included Bonnie, Sue Niles, and Jesse Carey. They performed at numerous events, churches, and sang on several radio stations. Bonnie was well known in her community for musical gifts. Bonnie also loved to garden. She loved to plant flowers in her garden beds as well as grow fresh vegetables to use in her favorite cooking recipes. Her specialty, however, was her homemade butterscotch pie made in her cast iron pan! It was so delicious and rich, it was almost always requested by her family!
A loving wife and mother, her life would forever be changed by the passing of her husband, Rollin, on April 30, 2005. The following year she sold their farm in North Webster and moved to be closer to her children in Warsaw. Bonnie was a compassionate and caring person who will be deeply missed and lovingly remembered by her many special friends and loved ones for generations to come. May her life remind them of the importance of sharing happiness and kindness as well as leaning on their faith in difficult times.
Bonnie Jean Christner, 93, of Warsaw (formerly of Syracuse and North Webster area) passed away peacefully on May 29, 2018, at Seasons Home Care in Warsaw with her daughters by her side. Survivors include her three daughters; Yvonne Keirn and Connie (Gregory) Meadows both of Warsaw and Ginger Peters of Pierceton; one sister, Jeanette Plummer of Syracuse; 8 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Rollin F. Christner, and 3 sisters, June Firestone, JoAnn Mock, and Jayne Timmons.
Visitation will be held from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. on Friday, June 1, 2018, at DeMoney-Grimes Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 2, 2018, at the funeral home. Douglas Plummer, a nephew, will be officiating. Burial will follow at the Mock Cemetery, North Webster. Memorial bequests may be given in Mrs. Christner's name to the John Douglas French Alzheimer's Foundation or the American Heart Association.
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