Lillie M. (Arnholt) Christopher, 97, passed away peacefully in her sleep June 16, 2022 at her home in Seymour, Indiana.
Lillie Mae, daughter of Edward and Bertha Arnholt and little sister of Carl, was born July 10, 1924 in the farmhouse on State Road 7 just east of the 7 and 31 junction in Columbus, Indiana.
Lillie had a lovely childhood. A favorite memory was playing under the State Road 7 bridge near her home where, even on the hottest summer day, it was nice and cool and where there was “the best sand pile you could ever imagine.” Using mussel shells, she, Carl, and neighborhood friends plowed roads for their little trucks and cars, and they caught fish that their mother cooked. Another favorite memory was going to Western movies every weekend with her best friend, Bernie (Wehmeier) Krieg. Afterwards they spent the rest of the day acting out the movie—pretending to ride horses, falling off them at the top of the hill, and rolling down until they had worn the hill bare.
After graduating from Columbus High School in 1942, Lillie attended St. Vincent School of Nursing in Indianapolis. For her final year of nursing school, she was a Senior Cadet Nurse for the Army Service Forces, studying for three months at a Military Psychiatric Hospital in St. Louis and six months at Fletcher General in Cambridge, Ohio. By the time she completed her R.N. degree, the war was over, so she took a job at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Sharing an apartment with some other young nurses, working as a Registered Nurse, and enjoying the social scene in Indianapolis was a very fun time in her life.
July 19, 1947 Lillie met her future husband, I.U. student Kenneth Christopher. A mutual friend, Freda Krieg, set them up on a blind date. When Freda asked Lil if she would like to go out with Ken, Lil replied, “Yes, I can stand anything one night.” That evening Ken was smitten. They were married June 20, 1948, and that “one night” turned into a very happy marriage of almost 65 years.
Lil loved being a wife and mother. Taking time off from nursing, she created a very loving, secure, and peaceful home for her family. She was always available to listen, and she knew when to help and when to let her four children figure things out on their own. She loved spending time with her family—playing games e.g., Shanghai, Rummy, Euchre, Scrabble, and Dominoes; hiking/camping; looking for arrowheads in freshly plowed fields; and birdwatching.
Lil returned to nursing in the 1970’s to help put her four children through college, working at Columbus Regional Hospital. When Ken took early retirement from Cummins to fulfill a life-long dream of owning his own business, Lil was very supportive. Together they owned and operated a little country grocery store in Dudleytown, Indiana called “Christopher’s Country Store”. For nine years, Lil made homemade soups and sandwiches for the farmers who came there for lunch. After selling their store, Ken and Lil had more time for ball room dancing, bowling, and traveling.
After Ken died in 2013, Lil moved to Independent Living at Lutheran Community Home where she lived out the rest of her life. She especially appreciated not having to maintain a home by herself, frequently saying, “If anything goes wrong, I just call my dandy handyman.” She spent her last few years enjoying Word Search and playing countless games of dominoes with her children. In fact, she played (and won) her last games of dominoes with her daughter, Gina, on Sunday, June 12th—just four days before she passed away.
Recently, one of Lil’s daughters found a High School English Composition that Lil wrote dated January 30, 1940 entitled “A Satisfying Life”. It concluded with the following thoughts: “I’m sure that if people would stop rushing around thinking only of their own pleasure and stop long enough to really think about someone else and what they could do for them, they would find no need to hunt happiness. It would come to them. But if one led the best of lives, one couldn’t be completely happy without God and His help and comfort. So my idea of a ‘Satisfying Life’ is to have a happy home life, live simple, help others all you can, work a lot and enjoy it, and trust in God to help you through every sorrow and trouble.” A very good summary of how Lillie Mae lived her life. It was a philosophy that defined who Lil was as a person: kind, patient, laid back, grounded, loyal, reflective, reverent, and classy combined with a subtle and delightful sense of humor, fun, and play.
Lillie was predeceased by her husband Kenneth Christopher, her parents Edward and Bertha Arnholt, and her much loved brother, Carl Arnholt.
She is survived by her four children—Fred J Christopher (Debbie) of Muncie, Carla Jo Sekula (Richard) of Danville, Linda Jane Scheidt (Colin) of Columbus, and Gina Marie Zimmerer (Mark) of Nashville, Indiana; seven grandchildren—Kaus (Kelly) Christopher, Karryn Christopher (Adam Fike), Ryan Sekula, David Sekula (Jade), Matthew Scheidt (Dana), Elizabeth Scheidt, and Katherine Laker (Andrew); eight great grandsons—Kiehl Christopher, Finley Christopher, Nathan Scheidt, Peter Scheidt, Ryan Scheidt, Henry Fike, Micah Sekula, and Henry Laker (due July 29th); and niece Gayla Alesandro (Mike).
A Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, June 25th, at Emanuel Lutheran Church in Dudleytown, 2174 South County Road 750 East, with Pastor Ken Davidson officiating. Visitation will be from 9:30 to time of service. Burial will be at Emanuel Lutheran Church Cemetery. Arrangements are entrusted to Burkholder Chapel of Thorne-George Family Funeral Homes, Seymour, Indiana.
Memorial contributions may be made to Schneck Medical Center Hospice, Lutheran Community Home Foundation, or Emanuel Lutheran Church.
Online condolences and special memories may be shared with the Christopher family at www.burkholderfuneralchapel.com.