Marion Irene Sellers Christy

PORTLAND – Marion Irene Sellers Christy of Portland died peacefully at home on Thursday, May 6, 2021. Known fondly by her friends and family as “Midge”, by her children as “Mother”, and by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as “Bakkie”, she nurtured beauty in her family and her garden for just over 100 years.

Marion was born on Sept. 13, 1920, in Portland to Lawrence and Ellen Sellers of Jackson Street. One of three children, she loved to read and skipped the 2nd grade. She graduated from Deering High School and went on to study at Northeastern Business College.

She met Roland Everett “Rolly” Christy at North Deering Congregational Church’s youth fellowship group. They were engaged on one of his leaves from military service during WWII and married August 5, 1944.

As a young married woman, Marion worked at American Mutual Life Insurance, taking a leave to work for the Bureau of the Budget in Washington, D.C., during the war.

In 1955, she helped Rolly build the family business, Christy’s Hardware, from nothing. She laid insulation, pounded nails, and once the store was built, tended to it in the morning so Rolly could go make money doing odd carpentry jobs. The store became very successful largely due to her business sense.

Because Marion was busy at work, there were no family vacations, so the Christys built a pool in the backyard next to the store to occupy their now three children in the summers so she could keep an eye on them.

The pool became the gathering place for the whole extended family from that first summer on. Generations of Christys gathered around it, eating, drinking, and laughing. Even on the most ordinary summer day, going to Bakkie’s pool became a party. Like her own grandmother, Bakkie always had a full cookie jar and a fridge full of popsicles, and you never knew which aunts, uncles, or cousins might turn up. Once a summer, a kids’ version of the Olympics was held by the grandchildren and judged by whomever happened by.

She lived a full, happy life: wintering in Florida after retirement with Rolly, travelling up and down the coast in the Winnie, waitressing at church luncheons and swimming well into her 80s, knitting, doing jigsaw puzzles, and reading novels and solving crosswords even in her final days. Her wish for her family was that they be common, ordinary good people (just like her).

Marion loved gardening and could often be found on her hands and knees in the garden. Her great-grandchildren picked blueberries in her backyard, being sure to leave enough for her to have on her cereal. She grew flowers and vegetables and enjoyed watching the birds from her bedroom window.

Marion was happiest gathered around the ping pong dining table at holidays, surrounded by her family. She cooked massive meals, all of which began with Chex mix and stuffed dates, and finished with chocolate mints. She was sure to include favorite dishes and made sure everyone felt loved and taken care of, supplying vegetarians with chocolate turkeys and conspiring with her grandson to avoid the peas.

A beloved matriarch, Marion presided over her family with her quiet strength, keen intellect, and patient perspective. She was always able to assure her family that all would be well “bye and bye.”

Marion is survived by her three children, Roland E. “Bud” Christy Jr. and his wife Susan Christy of Falmouth, Susan Christy King and her husband Stephen King of Portland and Steven Christy and his wife Barbara Christy of Gray. Bakkie is survived by her seven grandchildren, Amanda Christy Brown of Sherborn, Mass., Emily Christy of South Portland, Laura Christy Genese of Falmouth, Christina Johnston Spain of Tilton, N.H., Michael Johnston of Sunol, Callif., and Ben and Sam Christy of Houston. Bakkie will live on in the booties she knit to celebrate the birth of every one of her 10 great-grandchildren over the past 13 years, Jonah, Lilah, Sawyer, Lee, Susannah, Tommy, Nora, Asher, Lincoln, and Calihan.

A small family graveside service was held on Thursday, May 13.

Please visit http://www.jonesrichandbarnes.com to view Marion’s tribute page and to sign her online guestbook.

In lieu of flowers or donations, please remember Marion by planting something beautiful and celebrating its growth.

Guest Book