Christi Marie Fisher went to be with our Lord on Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, after bravely battling cancer for over a year. She was the loving wife of Todd Fisher and proud mother of three children, Vanessa, James and Brandon.
She will be remembered always in everything she loved - sunsets, sunflowers, winding creek bottoms, country landscapes, a warm summer breeze, the smiles of happy children waiting for their next painting lesson ...
Christi was born in Tulsa, Okla., in 1957 to Larry and Marie Zabel. Growing up she was a "straight A" student, budding painter and rodeo queen. She graduated from Kern Valley High School in 1977 and moved to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a professional artist. Soon after arriving in LA, she became a high-profile set dresser and make-up artist and worked with entertainers such as Michael Jackson, KISS and Cher.
Christi met and married singer, Johnny Rivers, and had three children.
After the divorce, she moved with her children to San Luis Obispo County, where she and Todd Fisher began their life together. In 1989, Christi and Todd bought a ranch in Creston which they proudly named Freedom Farms. Christi lived out the rest of her years in Creston with Todd, passionately teaching art class at Creston Elementary. She also worked as the head of the art and costume department for the Hollywood Motion Picture Museum, which was founded by Christi's mother-in-law, Debbie Reynolds.
Christi's two greatest passions in life were her family and painting. Taking after her father, western artist Larry Zabel, Christi painted hundreds of amazingly unique and beautiful artistic representations of scenes that she found captivating and beautiful in the world around her.
Her artwork embodied her love of nature and people of all ages, and her aura exuded that of a mother that would rather be playing in the creek with her children than doing anything else in the world.
Throughout her life Christi opened not only her home, but also her heart to many children in the community who needed to have a safe place to be nurtured and loved.
Christi will be greatly missed by all her family and is survived by the love of her life, Todd Fisher; children Vanessa, James and Brandon of Creston; father, Larry Zabel; sister, Rebecca Zabel; brothers, Steve Zabel of Montana, and Jon and Serena Zabel of Las Vegas, Nev.; stepsisters, Shannon Owens of Reno, Nev., and Kelly Hanning of Lake Isabella, Calif.; stepbrothers, Patrick Hanning of Bakersfield, Calif., and Carson Hanning of Porterville, Calif.; mother-in-law, Debbie Reynolds, and sister-in-law, Carrie Fisher, both of Beverly Hills, Calif.; and nieces and nephews, Neal and Amie Preston, Cody and Jenna Preston, Lane and Logan Graham, Billy Lord, and Rusty Hanning.
Christi is preceded in death by her mother and stepfather, Marie and Leonard Hanning; and stepmother, Sharon Zabel.
Christi's life exemplified the true purpose of our lives, "to truly love and to be loved." Because of that she was able to accomplish more in her 51 years than most can hope to accomplish in a lifetime.
To celebrate Christi's life, there will be a memorial service at 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21, at Freedom Farms. A memorial service will be held in Montana in July 2009.
In lieu of flowers, donations in her honor may be made to Creston Elementary School.
Published by Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Aug. 27, 2008.