Mary Jo Christy
1928 - 2020
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Mary Jo Christy

Dallas - Mary Jo Dell Christy passed away on November 13, 2020, in Dallas, Oregon, shortly after her 92nd birthday. She was born October 1, 1928, in McPherson, Kansas, to Samuel Milton and Miriam Wenrick Dell. She was the middle of three children. Mary Jo met her husband, Melvin (Mel) Christy, in 1946 at the Church of the Brethren Camp Pine Lake in Eldora, Iowa. They were married May 28, 1948, in McPherson, Kansas. Following graduation from McPherson College in 1950, Mary Jo and Mel served with Brethren Volunteer Service in Puerto Rico before returning to McPherson to start a family. They have three daughters: Vicky van Santen, Lori Christy, and Trudy McKinnell. In 1965 she left Kansas and has since lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Marshalltown, Iowa; Salem, Oregon; and Dallas, Oregon. Mary Jo had a career as church secretary in three churches in three states for a total of thirty years. Mary Jo was also busy volunteering in many ways throughout her life, from block captain in fund raising campaigns, teaching vacation Bible school, serving as President of the Hospital Auxiliary and Spanish language interpreter at the hospital in Marshalltown, Iowa, to volunteering at the Elsinore Theater in Salem, Oregon. She used her Spanish language abilities not only here in the states but also during medical mission trips to Honduras and Peru and volunteering in a Pediatrics Department in Heredia, Costa Rica. If it needed done and helped others, Mary Jo was there. Mary Jo had a wide range of interests including singing in the choir, sewing, knitting, cookie baking, Christmas candy making, golfing, bicycling, and traveling. She and Mel especially enjoyed traveling. Highlights included touring Germany on their tandem bicycle with friends, visiting Mexico, The Bahamas, Hawaii, several locations in Europe, Banff, Canada and spending ten winters in Costa Rica.

Mary Jo has contributed to not only her family's lives, but to the lives of countless others across the country and around the world. She will be remembered as a loving, vibrant, joyful, positive, active and engaged, strong woman. She will be greatly missed.

Mary Jo was preceded in death by her husband Mel in 2018 after nearly 70 years of marriage. Earlier this year she was also preceded in death by both her siblings, Robert W. Dell and Leona Ikenberry. She leaves behind three daughters: Vicky van Santen, and her husband Edzard, of Auburn, Alabama; Lori Christy of Salem, Oregon; and Trudy McKinnell and her husband James of Salem, Oregon; six grandchildren: Christina Hierath and her husband Tilman of Berlin, Germany; Jakob van Santen and his wife Anna of Berlin, Germany; Katharina van Santen and her husband Matthew Robinson, of Atlanta, Georgia; Kelsey Preuit and her husband August of Albany, Oregon, Kathryn McKinnell of Elkhart, Indiana, and Skye McKinnell of Cassopolis, Michigan; and six great-grandchildren: Carl, Conrad, and Constantin Hierath; Peter and Paul van Santen; and Felix Robinson.

Memorial gifts can be sent to Dallas Retirement Foundation, 377 Jasper St, Dallas OR 97338, or made online at Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Statesman Journal from Nov. 21 to Nov. 22, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service and Oakleaf Crematory
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4 entries
November 22, 2020
We got to know her as a very caring and loving person.
Petra & Haymo Wirth
November 21, 2020
What a wonderful life she had! My heart goes out to her family. Lori touched my life in a special way as she did many others. "Mary Jo" can be so proud of Lori.
Cindy Jackson
November 20, 2020
Dear Family of Mary Jo Christy,
We were so sorry to hear of your loss. Our daughter, Kathy Cotton Gauby informed us of her death and today sent the Link for her obituary. Her sister, Leona Dell Ikenberry, was Esther Ikenberry Cotton's sister -in-law and Esther's sister, Betty Ikenberry Robinson who died Sept. 17, 2019, was a dear friend and they attended McPherson High School together and graduated in 1946. Esther stayed with Mary Jo and Melvin one summer when she was in college. The Dells and Ikenberrys were next door Neighbors in McPherson from 1944-46 and she Babysat Bob Dell during that time . We were like family and Esther spent Holliday meals at Prof. and Miriam Dell's home when she was in college. She and Miriam traveled to France together from Montreal in 1955, when Prof was a Heifer International volunteer and Esther's husband, Dean, was stationed in Germany. Esther was sometime "tag-along" when Mary Jo and Betty went places (with a 5 year difference in age) as Betty had to Babysit her sister. Many ties, many years but then we lost track but never forgot what a wonderful and kind person she was! We extend our Deepest Sympathy to you all! Esther and Dean Cotton
H.Dean and Esther M. Cotton
November 20, 2020
Mary Jo was a fantastic lady. I love her dearly. We saw each other a lot whilecthey were spending time in Costa Rica. She was always fun and loving. It waz a privilege to know her and Mel
Magaly caballero
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