Chris Tocky Christ
1929 - 2020
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Chris Tocky Christ

Battle Creek - Chris Tocky Christ, 91, of Battle Creek, MI passed away peacefully in the early morning of Monday November 16, 2020. Chris was born in Battle Creek, MI on October 1, 1929 to Greek immigrants John and Ellen (Nitsas) Christ. He was a retired attorney from the law firm of Vandervoort, Christ & Fisher, PC in Battle Creek. As a man of family and faith, he was well known for his community service, advocacy and leadership. He has served on numerous boards and received multiple awards and recognition for his community service and leadership.

He is preceded in death by his beloved wife, Betty Jean Christ, who he married on September 29, 1956 at the First Congregational Church in Battle Creek, MI. He is also sadly preceded in death by his daughter Teri Elizabeth Christ who tragically passed away from an automobile accident in 1983; his granddaughter Heather Moana in 2015; his parents John and Ellen Christ; his parental in-laws Nels J. (Tobey) and Mary Mason of Battle Creek, MI; and his sister and brother-in-law Mary (Kalopy) & George Dale of Indianapolis, IN. He is survived by his children John M. (and Jill) Christ of Battle Creek, MI; Kristin L. Christ of Troy, MI; Scott M. Christ (and Kenneth L. Kish) of Kalamazoo, MI; grandchildren J. Matthew Christ; Teri E. (and Adam) Noaeill and David M. (and Ashley) Christ; great grandchildren, Annabelle Noaeill, Skyler Noaeill and Frankie Christ; his brother and sister-in-law Peter and Carolyn Christ of Battle Creek; multiple nieces and nephews; and multiple grand nieces and nephews to whom he is lovingly known as "Uncle Tock."

Chris was an Eagle Scout, and in 1995, he and Betty jointly received the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Southwest Michigan Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Chris graduated high school from Culver Military Academy in Culver, IN; a school he credits with his life of discipline and a school he pursued after seeing an advertisement in "Boy's Life" magazine. He graduated summa cum laude from Albion College, Albion, MI in 1951; and he received his law degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI in 1954. He also received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws from Albion College, Albion, MI in 1997.

Attorney Christ joined the law firm now bearing his name in 1959. He started his legal career as a trial lawyer and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney and progressed to a specialty in estate planning. He was a former member of the American and Michigan Bar Associations and is a past President of the Calhoun County Bar Association. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of Albion College, and a former Trustee of the Battle Creek Health Systems, the Battle Creek Community Foundation, and the Binda Foundation. In 2010, he was honored with the Healthcare Leadership Award from the Michigan Hospital Association.

Chris and his wife Betty were proud members of the First Congregational Church in Battle Creek, MI. He was a humble man whose purpose in life was to serve others. In his own words from a sermon he had presented at the church in 1977, he stated that his mission in life was to "…just try to do something with my life in a meaningful way every day - nothing spectacular, nothing earth-shaking, but maybe helpful to those who sought my counsel".

Of his numerous successes, some of his proudest professional accomplishments included his involvement negotiating the merger of two competing hospitals in Battle Creek, so that the citizens of Battle Creek could have better access to healthcare. He was also appointed to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he served as member and chairperson. There his communication and leadership skills were applied to a world stage. This afforded him the opportunity to meet with various world leaders to help establish problem-solving projects. This was a responsibility he took on with great pride. He and his wife Betty were also very proud of being cofounders with other community members for establishing the North Pointe Woods assisted living community. Chris and Betty also later served as co-chairs for this organization. This was an accomplishment which took Chris full circle, as the location of his passing.

As a music lover, Chris was an avid fan and supporter of the Brass Band of Battle Creek, and would often treat friends and family to their concerts. With recognitions, awards, trusteeships, board memberships and community leadership roles almost too numerous to mention; he would note that his greatest accomplishments were as a loving husband, father, uncle, brother, grandfather and great grandfather. His life well lived is now complete with his heavenly reunion with his life partner, confidant and beloved wife Betty and his long missed daughter Teri.

A private family ceremony will be conducted at Memorial Park Cemetery. Due to the Covid-19 virus, a memorial service will be held at a later date when it is safe for family and friends to celebrate his life. Arrangements are by Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home and Cremation Care. Personal messages for the family can be placed at www.farleyestesdowdle.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to:

Chris and Betty Christ Family Fund at the Battle Creek Community Foundation: 32 W. Michigan Ave., Battle Creek, MI 49017 https://www.bccfoundation.org/fund/chris-and-betty-christ-family-fund

Sherman Lake YMCA Outdoor Center: 6225 N. 39th Street, Augusta, MI 49012 https://www.shermanlakeymca.org/donate

Brass Band of Battle Creek: P.O. Box 556, Marshall, MI 49068




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Published in Battle Creek Enquirer from Nov. 18 to Nov. 22, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
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21 entries
November 24, 2020
My parents Dorothy and the late Jim Frey had very fond memories of Chris and Betty as friends, and leaders at Church and in Battle Creek.
God's Peace to the Christ family.
Kandi (Frey) Snodgrass
Friend
November 22, 2020
I am sorry for your loss. May your dad rest in peace.
Patti Magers
Neighbor
November 22, 2020
Chris and his young family moved into the house directly behind ours in the late 50's (I think). Our house faced on North 29th and theirs on North 30th. I think they only lived there a few years before moving out to Golden Avenue. They were great neighbors.
They may have moved but we didn't lose touch with Chris because he became a member of what soon became the Vandervort, McFee, Christ and Carpenter law firm in the old Security National Bank building in downtown Battle Creek. My parents owned the Security Sandwich Shop in the lobby of that building and Chris became a regular customer. Chris was unfailingly kind and always had a ready smile.
Fortunately, I got to know Chris even better later in life. After graduating from law school in 1973 I clerked at the Vandervort firm while I waited for my bar exam results. I worked at the firm most of the summer and through the end of that year before I went on active duty with the Navy. During my time at the firm I did a lot of work for Chris and considered him my mentor. Whenever he gave me a project he would discuss it with me first and make sure I understood it and when I finished he would return and we'd discuss it again. One time there was no easy resolution to an issue and he asked what I would do. I told him and he said it made sense to him and he wold follow my advice! Fortunately, it worked out fine, but I realized later that was probably what he was going to do anyway. But doing it the way he did gave me a lot of confidence.
Chris wasn't my last mentor, but being the first was very important and I used him as a model for the rest of my career. I practiced in LA for almost all of my career and so couldn't stay in as close touch as I would have liked, but I was able to see him sometimes on trips back to the area. He was always Chris: friendly, kind, caring and professional. That's what a mentor is after all.
Eric Dobberteen
Friend
November 21, 2020
To John: Our thoughts are with you and the entire Christ family. Your father was a very special person. We are fortunate to share many professional and personal memories with him. He always exhibited unquestioned integrity, compassion, and an uncanny ability to solve delicate problems. His contributions to his profession, community, friends and family will live on for many years. He will be missed!
Barb and John Carton
Friend
November 20, 2020
In the thirty years I served under Chris at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and with him on the Board of the Guido and Elizabeth Binda Foundation, I learned from his example how to be a better leader, a better colleague, and a better human being. Chris was, day in and day out, the kind of man I aspire to be on my very best days. The void he leaves can never be filled, but for those of us lucky enough to be his mentees, his inspiration will never dim.
Joel Orosz
Friend
November 20, 2020
So very sorry for your loss. I remember him from when I was a little girl and of course as i grew up. He was a great friend and advisor to my family. He will be greatly missed.
Patty hill
Friend
November 19, 2020
I am so very sorry to learn of Chris's passing. He was such a nice guy and a true gentleman. My mom and dad thought extremely highly of him and Betty. They had some wonderful times together
Steve Shouldice
Friend
November 19, 2020
Christ family. Thank you for loaning your Dad to Battle Creek. He was a force for good and a force for progress. Even though his name is not on street signs and buildings his fingerprints are everywhere in Battle Creek. And always to the betterment of the community. Plus, his sense of humor and bonhomie is something I will always cherish. My father loved your father. And respected him greatly. As did I. My favorite memories of him or when he would stop me in Shranks and asked me to imitate my dad and Russ Mawby. I love the fact that I could bring tears to his eyes, but in laughter. We are all better people for having known your father. I hope the Lord will give you peace in your hearts knowing what a loving and amazing man he was. God bless you all!
Regan LaMothe
Family Friend
November 19, 2020
Dear John and Family,
I am so sorry that you have lost your DAD. I do not think that I have ever known a better man! Peace be with you and all of your family.
John and Cindy Bauman
Friend
November 19, 2020
Have known Chris for 50 years. Dear man. Family attorney and friend. Will miss this guy!
william pearlman
Family Friend
November 19, 2020
Chris was my mentor when I first began to practice law with the firm in 1980. He taught me the really important parts of being a lawyer, the stuff you just don't learn in law school. He taught me to really listen to clients, to show compassion, to be creative in finding solutions to complicated legal matters, to be diligent in research and to be a life-long learner. Most importantly, he demonstrated the highest ethics and an integrity that made him the great attorney and man he was. He became like a second father to me and I grew in confidence, knowledge and expertise under his tutelage. While I left the firm to open my own solo practice, I have never forgotten the life lessons that have carried me through 40 years of the practice of law. He will always have a special place in my heart and he will be sorely missed. RIP Chris - With love, Kathie Cook
Kathie Cook
Coworker
November 19, 2020
Chris and Betty were wonderful people who shared a vision and compassion for the Battle Creek community. I have known Chris and his family since I was in grade school and have always found him to be an exceptional father, mentor, and community leader. As a board member of Archway Cookies, he provided stability, guidance, and support to all of us. He will always be a shining star in the Battle Creek community and beyond.
Gene and Melissa McKay
Friend
November 18, 2020
Chris was a wonderful friend of our family, my condolences to John and Kristy.

Bob Tieche
Bob Tieche
Friend
November 18, 2020
Such a lovely and well respected man. I'm glad I knew him.
Denise Poyer
Acquaintance
November 18, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Janice McKay
Friend
November 18, 2020
Battle Creek's GOAT. RIP, Chris.
Tom Blaising
Friend
November 18, 2020
Chris was a special gift to all of us at Archway Cookies.

Chris was a long-time peer of my father, and I had the good fortune to befriend Chris as a company director. He was invaluable. On multiple occasions, he played a key role in facilitating collaboration, often using his subtle gift of persuasion to reach the best of all outcomes.

His affable humility and genuine goodness earned the respect and admiration of all of us. When he entered the room, it always became a little brighter. I am certain that his deep-rooted faith was the foundation of his ever-present kindness and optimism. Chris was a rare and remarkable person who inspired everyone he met, and I am very grateful to have known him.

With sincere condolences, as well as many wonderful memories Tom Olin, Jr.
Tom Olin, Jr.
Coworker
November 18, 2020
Chris was a very kind, generous and humble man. My parents, Ginny and Larry Clark attended church with the Christs and were longtime friends with the entire Christ family.

Chris was also a longtime member of the Black River Conservation Association (BRCA), a Northern lower Michigan hunting preserve and tree farm. As a board member of BRCA and friend of Chris, I would like extend condolences to the Christ family on behalf of the BRCA. We will greatly miss our friend.
Doug Clark
Family Friend
November 16, 2020
To the Christ family our deepest sympathy. I worked for Chris as his secretary. He was the best. I'm sure he is delighted to be with Betty in heaven. I have a funny story, while working for him I had to ask him a question so I turned to face his office and I said grandpa! We both had a great laugh. He is the most respected and delightful man. So sorry for your loss but he had a wonderful full life. He loved his family most of all.
Vicky Wicker
Coworker
November 17, 2020
Chris, may you rest in peace with your beautiful Betty. I always considered you Mr. Battle Creek. You always thought of the community, and had one wonderful idea after another to help people.
Dottie Johnson
Friend
November 17, 2020
I have wonderful memories from my childhood of Chris, Norm Amos and my dad, Lauren Sackrider, enjoying their close friendship at family gatherings. Chris was always in the entry at church Sunday mornings, radiating love and grace. May he rest in peace.
David Sackrider
Friend
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