Cover photo for Christine Bergstrom Thornton's Obituary
Christine Bergstrom Thornton Profile Photo
1943 Christine 2022

Christine Bergstrom Thornton

October 11, 1943 — September 3, 2022

Christine Bergstrom Thornton of Bainbridge Island passed away in September 2022, after a long fight with Alzheimer’s disease. She passed away at home, in the primary care of her loving husband. She will be missed by all who remember her concern for others, her self-sacrificing nature, her culinary and entertaining talents, her flamboyant fashion sense, and her love of music and dancing.

Christine was married to her husband, Geoffrey V. Thornton, for nearly 53 years. She is miraculously survived by her husband, a 14-year, double-organ transplant survivor, who credits his longevity to her decades of devoted care. She is also survived by her three children: Brittany Thornton of Bainbridge Island, Graham Thornton of Seattle, and Garrett Thornton of Poulsbo, all of whom enabled Christine’s final years in beautiful surroundings at the family’s Agate Point home. Sustaining love and support during Christine’s final years were provided by her dear sisters, Karen (Frank) Flanagin of Denver, Colorado and Janice (Tom) Krakowski of Douglas, Michigan; Karen (RN, retired) also personally attended to Christine in her final days. On her day of passing, chosen family Jonny and Linda Scott of Morton Grove, Illinois joined Christine’s immediate family for a remarkable celebration of her life and ~45 years of friendship.

Christine was born in Brooklyn in October 1943 and moved to Leominster, Massachusetts where she graduated from Leominster High School in 1961. In 1963, a teenage Christine sat in the front row for a Sarah Vaughan concert at the Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen, where her effervescent enthusiasm won the attention of Quincy Jones and a special invitation to attend Ms. Vaughan’s private recording sessions for the album Sassy Swings the Tivoli. Christine graduated from Michigan State University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1965. She was passionate about acting, and achieved critical recognition in the Chicago stage theater scene through her work with Hull House Theater. Christine’s stage success culminated in her playing the role of Dede in Haskell Wexler’s ground-breaking drama Medium Cool and her representation by the William Morris Talent Agency.

She decided that professional acting was not for her and moved back to Chicago in 1967. She married her husband Geoffrey on October 11, 1969; they met as teachers at Donoghue Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side. They enjoyed years of travel in Europe as working artists (especially in Brittany, France) before settling in Chicago to raise their family and build their careers as educators. She earned an M.Ed. through DePaul University in 1968. Christine and Geoffrey shared a deep dedication to elementary education, and to serving communities most in need of committed teachers. She made a positive contribution to the lives of thousands of young students over her 40-year teaching career.

In retirement, Christine and Geoffrey decided to trade harsh Midwestern winters for the year-round beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Christine enjoyed close personal friendships and impromptu dance parties to her favorite music, especially anything by Kool and The Gang or Earth, Wind, and Fire. On a recent August morning, she awakened the house by commanding Alexa to “shuffle songs by The Four Tops.” Her enduring memory for jazz standard lyrics was unparalleled. Christine also enjoyed leisurely afternoons outside surrounded by Geoffrey’s splendid and ever-evolving flower gardens.

Arrangements are entrusted to the Cook Family Funeral Home of Bainbridge Island. The family thanks Diana Wigod of Poulsbo for years of caring companionship to Christine.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Christine Bergstrom Thornton, please visit our flower store.


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