Retired farm and ranchwife, homemaker and former newspaper proofreader Theone “Toni” Marie (Johnson) Christman, 92, died April 18, 2021, of natural causes at Teton Peak Assisted Living in Choteau, where she had resided since early February.
Toni was born on Dec. 30, 1928, in Great Falls to Ernest and Myrtle (Moi) Johnson. She attended Great Falls Public Schools and graduated from Great Falls High with the class of 1946.
On June 29, 1947, she married Ben Christman and the couple moved to the family farm and ranch north of Choteau, where they were blessed with three children, Benna, Sharon and John.
Toni was a consummate farm and ranch wife, keeping an orderly home, a neat and carefully landscaped yard and making cooking for a crew look easy. She enjoyed being a homemaker and taking care of her family and her gardens.
When she was younger, Toni belonged to the local Home Demonstration Club and was a Girl Scout leader when her daughters, Benna and Sharon, were in school. She lost Ben to a heart attack in 1989 but was a fiercely independent woman who stayed in their home on the farm until last February, when failing health made it necessary to move into the assisted living facility.
When her children were older, Toni went to work as a news clerk, proofreader and “old news” columnist for the Choteau Acantha. She was a stickler for proper punctuation and grammar and knew the correct spelling of all the Choteau names. For 35 years, she read every single advertisement and article that appeared in the Choteau Acantha every week. She took the rare typo that got past her sharp eyes personally.
Every year before Christmas, she would host a ladies’ brunch for her co-workers at the Acantha, treating them to a lovely home-cooked meal, tea in china cups and a sweet dessert.
Toni was also a great help to Sharon, working with her in the spring to plant bedding plants that Sharon would sell in her Heartland Flowers greenhouse.
Toni was proud of her Norwegian heritage and greatly enjoyed traveling to Norway twice to visit her relatives there.
She enjoyed reading and working Sudoku puzzles and was talented with a needle, doing needlepoint, cross stich, hardanger, embroidery and quilting. She also was active in the Choteau United Methodist Church.
She loved spending time with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and her great-great-grandchild.
Her survivors include her children, Benna Stansberry of Great Falls, Sharon (Norman) Haug of Choteau and John (Danetta) Christman of Snohomish, Washington; her sister, Erma (Henry) Badt of Hamilton; eight grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild. She also leaves behind her brother-in-law, Bill Bannerman.
She was preceded in death by her husband; her sister, Amy Bannerman; and two great-grandchildren.
Cremation has taken place under the direction of the Gorder-Jensen Funeral Home and a celebration of life will be held April 24 at 1:00 pm at the United Methodist Church in Choteau with interment in the Choteau Cemetery.
Memorials in her name are suggested to the Intermountain Children’s Home, 500 S. Lamborn St., Helena, MT 59601.
Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com
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