FLORENCE - Mary E. "Bitsy" Christenson, 62, of 29 Keyes St., Florence, passed away peacefully Sunday, June 9, 2013, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, surrounded by her family.
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Bitsy was born May 30, 1951, in Northampton, the daughter of the late Leonard and Rose (Poudrier) Russell.
She was a lifelong resident, growing up on Coolidge Avenue, and graduating from Northampton High School.
She furthered her education, receiving her degree in psychology from Springfield Technical Community College.
Bitsy began her career with the former Northampton State Hospital and eventually joined Cooley Dickinson Hospital where she stayed for 37 years before retiring in 2010. She made many lifelong friends at Cooley, they were a second family to her.
Bitsy loved spending time with her family, traveling to Maine and having her special outings with devoted friends. She loved going to antique shows and flea markets and enjoyed collecting antique vases and English china.
She leaves her beloved children Jon Christenson of Holyoke, Jessica Christenson of Florence and the apple of her eye, her loving granddaughter Kayla; her siblings Barbara Marczyk and her husband Al of Easthampton, Patricia Russell of Northampton, Peggy McDaniel and her husband Rob of Jefferson, Maine, and Debra Cross of Newington, Conn.; eight nephews; a niece; and several great nieces and nephews. She also leaves her former husband Jon Christenson.
In addition to her parents, Bitsy was predeceased by her brother Dennis Russell.
Calling hours will be Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton.
A celebration of Bitsy's life will be held Monday at 12 p.m. at the Czelusniak Funeral Home of Northampton followed by burial in St. Mary's Cemetery in Northampton.
Because of Bitsy's lifelong love of animals, we ask that donations in Bitsy's memory can be made to the Dakin Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 6307. Springfield, MA 01101 or http://dpvhs.org to make an online donation.
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Published in Daily Hampshire Gazette on June 13, 2013