Christine Chandler passed away Thursday (May 2, 2019). She was a cherished sister, wife, mother, friend and nurse; an excellent cook and a world traveler. Her life was cut short by breast cancer, which was diagnosed shortly before her move to Boise, Idaho, from Anchorage, Alaska, where she had been an active community member for more than 20 years.
Chris was born and raised in Kankakee, and was fortunate to be surrounded by her five siblings and many cousins. She fondly remembered her Midwest summers spent at the community pool, Cobb Park and on the well-used tire swing in the backyard of her family home. Many will always think of her as that energetic cheerleader urging her peers to root for Bishop McNamara High School. To the end, she maintained close ties and friendships with people she met at “Bishop Mac.”
Her first job was working as a carhop at Jaenicke’s Root Beer stand across the street from her house in Kankakee. She spent at least one summer dressed in black and white tirelessly serving hot dogs, sauce buns and world-famous root beer. She paid her way through college by working as a camp cook in remote geological exploration camps in Alaska. Her love for cooking and food remained a constant part of her life, and she will always be remembered by those fortunate to share a table with her in one of her favorite rooms — the dining room.
Chris began college at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. After taking a break and traveling, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. Her first nursing position was with the Indian Health Service in Barrow, Alaska, a 12-bed hospital located 300-plus miles above the Arctic Circle.
It was in Barrow where Chris met her husband and lifelong partner, Randy Magen. Together they moved to Madison, Wis., where they were married in 1986, and had two children, Hannah, a teacher; and Noah, a Wildland firefighter.
Chris found her niche and followed her passion for nursing working in the community as a home and public health nurse. She worked in New York City providing home health to both the excessively wealthy and unreasonably poor. In Anchorage, she offered HIV testing in gay bars and brothels. In 2008, she earned her Master of Nursing Science degree and was licensed as a nurse practitioner. She was proud of the care she provided as a nurse practitioner for Southcentral Foundation in Anchorage and at University Health Services in Boise.
Her loving and caring nature was expressed in so many ways — through her excellent cooking, by her nursing care, with her interest in friends’ lives and her ability to push her husband and children to be better people. In her last weeks, some of which were spent at Huntsman Cancer Institute, she was constantly expressing appreciation to the staff for their excellent care. One friend commented that this was an example of how Chris’s own giving had come back to her.
In addition to her husband and children, Christine is survived by four of her siblings, Michael, Louise, Nansi and Denise; 11 nieces and nephews; five great-nieces and nephews; several close long-term friends; and a community of people who loved her dearly. Hers was a life well lived, and she remains well-loved and cherished by those whose lives she touched.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Christine Chandler Memorial Scholarship, School of Nursing, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, May 7, at Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel, 11 N. Latah St., Boise, Idaho, with graveside services to follow in Morris Hill Cemetery.
Please sign her online guestbook at relyeafuneralchapel.com.