Obituary of Mary Jane Christian
March 20, 2017
Mary Jane Christian, beloved mother, grandmother, and friend, passed away peacefully at Spring Hill Manor in Grass Valley, California, on March 10, at age 94. Her husband of more than 30 years, Walter Christian, preceded her in death in 2002. Survivors include daughters Jean (Randy) Bjerke, Nancy (Kenji Hakuta) Goodban, Sue Goodban, and Janet Goodban; stepchildren Walter (Sherry Batterson) Christian and Carmen Christian; loving grandchildren Justin (Tara) Christian, Sachiko (fiancé David Martinez) Hakuta, Luis Hakuta, Merritt Walker, Austin Walker, and Brooklyn Christian; and great-grandchildren Daiden and Azaria Christian, as well as her daughters' stepmother, Nadine Goodban, whom Mary Jane recently embraced as her "sister." Mary Jane was preceded in death by her parents, Ellen (Kiesling) and Louis Agassiz Dyar of Waitsburg, Washington; and her sisters Sally Winslow and Jean Everly.
Mary Jane was born in Wilbur, Washington, June 27, 1922 and grew up in Waitsburg, Washington. She attended the University of Washington, and received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley and a master's degree from the University of San Francisco. In the 50s and 60s she raised her four daughters with her first husband, Alan Goodban. She later met and married the love of her life, Walter Christian, in 1979. After living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Arizona, and Idaho, she and Walt settled in Grass Valley in 1993. Here she continued her art work, joined a writers' group, and played the ukulele with the Strum Bums for 15 years up until the last few weeks before her death.
She was creative, a dreamer, an artist, a musician, and a writer. As an artist she worked in watercolors and oils, sculpted in seaweed and papier-mache, and created elaborate and whimsical collages — all of which are treasured by family and friends to whom she gave her creations. At one point, with her sister-in-law and good friend Suzan Goodban, she even created a six-foot papier-mache fire-breathing dragon complete with a baby dragon emerging from a hatching egg. She enjoyed life and loved new experiences and adventures, always looking forward without regrets. One early adventure was riding her bicycle around Puget Sound in 1934 when she was only 16, with her oldest sister Sally. In later life she enjoyed traveling throughout the U.S. and Europe and to numerous elder hostels with her husband Walt. She visited Hawaii, and with her daughters traveled to France, Italy, and Mexico. She was deeply committed to social justice and civil rights. She was spiritual, positive, and optimistic. She loved wildflowers and the beauty of nature, especially the beach where she collected driftwood and seaweed for wonderful artistic creations. She enjoyed collecting rocks her entire life starting with picking them up when she was a toddler. She loved card games and word games of all kinds. Family and friends remember that she still won many card games even while living in a nursing home.
A celebration of her life will be held at a private location in May. The family extends their sincere gratitude to the wonderful staff at Spring Hill Manor for their care and compassion during her stay there, as well as to Hospice of the Foothills. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Wildlife Rehabilitation and Release, P.O. Box 868, Penn Valley CA 95946, http://bit.ly/2mQshft.