Gerald L Brouillard
Shelly M Smoker
Christine L Smoker
F, b. June 25, 1965, d. December 5, 2009
- Birth: Christine L Smoker was born on June 25, 1965 in Coldwater, Branch Co, Michigan.
- Marriage: She was married on July 21, 1984.
- Death: She died on December 5, 2009, at age 44, in Howe, Lagrange Co, Indiana.
- Note: HRISTINE L. PURLEE age 44 of Howe, Indiana was surrounded by her family early Saturday morning December 5, 2009 at her home when she was called home to be with her Lord and savior following a hard fought battle with cancer . She was born June 25, 1965 in Coldwater, Michigan a daughter to Roger and Genevieve (Brouillard) Smoker. Chris had resided in Howe since 1984 coming from Sturgis, Michigan where she graduated from Sturgis High School with the class of 1983. On July 21, 1984 she married Gregory A. Purlee at the First Baptist Church in Sturgis. Chris had been employed as an executive secretary at the Kirsch Company in Sturgis until the birth of her son at which time she became a stay at home mom and home schooled her three children. She also did medical transcribing from her home for several years. She was a very active member of the LaGrange First Church of God in Lagrange, Indiana and truly valued and loved her church family. Chris was always looking for ways to give of herself to others and had become active in Forgotten Children Ministries. Through this mission outreach she had taken several trips to Honduras ministering to street children and orphans. She enjoyed going on walks, watching birds, making rugs and quilting. For many years she made sunshine baskets that were anonymously given to people suffering from illness or cancer . Chris was always active and involved but what she cherished most was time with her family. She is survived by her loving and dedicated husband of 25 years, Greg, One Son; Aaron Purlee at home, Two Daughters; Jenna Purlee and Robin Purlee both at home, Mother Genevieve Smoker and her special friend Joy Kent of Winter Haven, Florida, Father and Step-Mother; Roger (Darlene) Smoker of Bronson, Michigan, One Sister; Shelly (Dennis) Case of Bronson, Michigan, One Brother; Scott Smoker of Bronson, Michigan, One Step-Sister; Vicki (Reid) Greene of Bronson, Michigan, One Step-Brother; Ron (Cheryl) Post of Georgia, Father and Mother-in-law; Kenneth and JoAnne Purlee of Burr Oak, Michigan, Sister-in-law; Ann (Tom) Darrington of Burr Oak and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her grandparents and one step-sister; Deb Preder. In accordance with her wishes cremation has taken place. A memorial service celebrating the life of Christine Purlee will be held at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, Dec. 12th at the LaGrange First Church of God, 777 N. Detroit St., Lagrange, IN 46761. The Rev. Brian VanOsdol will officiate. Private burial of the ashes will take place at Riverside Cemetery in Howe, Indiana at a later date. The Hackman Family Funeral Homes – Hackman Chapel, 114 S. Nottawa St., Sturgis, MI 49091, 269-651-2331 is handling the arrangements. The family suggests those wishing to make a memorial donation in Chris's memory consider the Forgotten Children Ministries, P.O. Box 24085, Chattanooga, TN 37422-4085.
- Note: My wife Chris hated being late. It was an early morning in December, the 5th to be exact, that she was as on time as ever with an appointment we didn't want her to keep. Keeping this appointment left her with mixed feelings; she felt sad because she knew that she'd be leaving us for a while but within the same heart was happiness because she knew also that when she saw us again, it would be for eternity. So it was on that early December morning, that we spoke a heart-breaking farewell and Chris was reunited with her heavenly Father. The best thing about this appointment was that she was made new again; no more radiation, no more chemo, not even the brain tumor.
It's been over a year now but the pain of not having my sweet Chris around is almost more than I can bear. It's hard for me to write this without a sense of sorrow swelling up inside me and coming out in the shape of tears. But when I think about my wonderful wife, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride and joy as well, for I know that her legacy lives on in so many marvelous ways.
She was diagnosed with cancer shortly after her first mission trip to Honduras; a trip that changed her life, as well as ours.
She never let cancer slow her down and she never once felt sorry for herself, as so many of us would. It's understandable I suppose, she was just extraordinarily unusual. She didn't question why, or even think about blaming God. If there's one thing that I know, it's that anyone who knew her would say how amazingly selfless she was. God placed in her heart a love for her family and friends, and a passion for Honduras missions that would burn bright for all to see. She never lost sight of what God wanted her to do. Her mission in life was to be the best wife, best mother, best teacher and best friend there ever was. If there is any among us who could say that they've fulfilled their life mission, it was her; and if there is any among us who would say that they didn't even come close...that was also her.
God and family were her highest priorities. Chris never fussed about herself; instead, she was always looking for ways to bless others; even though she was fighting a disease that would ultimately take her life. We all experienced this mission first-hand. She would make sunshine baskets and deliver them anonymously to people who were struggling with their own sickness or personal heartache. These baskets consisted of about twenty small, wrapped packages that had a bible verse taped to everyone. The packages were meant to be unwrapped, one at a time, every day. Altogether, she sent out about a dozen sunshine baskets; some to people whom she didn't even personally know. These blessing were meant to bring encouragement to someone who needed it, and I believed that mission too, was well accomplished.
This all took place while we were busy going back and forth to Duke Hospital in North Carolina every six weeks for her treatments. Amidst all of this, Chris found the time to venture five more trips to Honduras. Her love for the homeless boys there grew and grew, just as the ministry did. Our whole family got to experience this wonderful ministry of hers personally.
Five years after her first surgery, they discovered that her tumor was growing again. Another surgery was performed, followed by more radiation and chemo. More heartache sprung up as we found out that this had failed to stop the growth of the tumor. She was given only a few months to live. Little did we know, we would actually have another two years with our beautiful Chris. She struggled to communicate as the tumor raged on. I know she thought that she would never be able to see the boys in Honduras again, but like she always said, "God is good."
In August of 2009, Chris returned to Honduras with our two daughters. As soon as she got home, she turned right around and began making plans to go again. She crocheted rugs for her far away friends and began collecting things to take back.
That October, she was sitting on our front steps talking on the phone with a friend when she fell. I ran out, and as I lay with her on the side walk, she told me she was ready to be done. My heart broke over her; I held her and wept as never before. She was flown to Ft. Wayne, IN where it was discovered that there was bleeding in the brain, nothing could be done. We returned home to spend our final days with her. The first morning we were back, she and I held each other and just cried. Soon enough, she began to list the things she wanted to accomplish before she left.
She had been in the process of making a sunshine basket at the time and of course, she insisted that it be finished and delivered. Next we put together a duffel bag full of items she wished to go to Honduras for the boys and her friends. On Chris' last trip there, the boys had been playing marbles nonstop, so we set about the house finding what marbles we had, which wasn't much. But over the next few weeks, we experienced an outpouring of friends and family and, miraculously, the marble collection grew. I made a promise to her that I would deliver these things to Honduras personally.
On December 12th, we had a memorial for Chris and over 600 people showed up; the support was overwhelming. We directed memorial donations to Forgotten Children's Ministries of Honduras. In June of this year, Aaron, Jenna, Robin and I will all be returning to complete this journey. Chris' legacy lives on in so many ways and your support of this special blend of coffee, "Chris' blend" will continue the work that she was so passionate about. It's hard for me to try and write about someone so perfect with only faulty words at my disposal, but for everyone's sake, I've tried my hardest.
M, d. yes
- Death: John Idding died yes.