Born on April 3, 1923 at Silver Lake Farm outside of Hawley, Minnesota, Chris was the second of Simon and Alma (Gerhardson) Hanson's three daughters. She was baptized one month later at Solem Lutheran Church five miles away. Her childhood on the family farm included playing with her sisters on the shores of Silver Lake, performing the evening chore of bringing the cows in for milking, Saturday piano lessons followed by a store-bought cookie treat, and heavy involvement in 4-H and church activities. After attending a rural one-room school through eighth grade, she graduated from Hawley High School in 1940, ranking 3rd in her class. From there she attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she majored in English and Office Practice.
Upon graduation in 1944, she taught for two years in Fertile, Minnesota, before she followed her sister to Montana, taking a teaching job in Roundup. As she would walk to work, she caught the eye of John Liggett who had recently returned home from Army service in WWII, and was a man in need of some settling down. Which Chris did admirably. They were married August 17th, 1947 at Solem Lutheran Church in Hawley, Minnesota and made their home in Roundup until her death nearly 69 years later. They raised five children: Steven James, Ann Marie, David John, Thomas Lee and Jane Elizabeth.
The main focus of Chris' working years was making a home for her family. Although never fond of entertaining and feeding large crowds, her frugal nature equipped her to stretch one can of soup into lunch for seven. Her children remember that supper was dependably served at 6:00 sharp every evening, that it included milk instead of pop, and that it was eaten together around the table instead of the television. Except for Sunday – her evening off – which was designated as fend-for-yourself night.
During those years, she served as a Cub Scout leader, began her life-long membership in the local PEO chapter, and taught Sunday school and played organ at Zion Lutheran Church. She enjoyed knitting, sewed all her own clothes and taught her daughters the same, enjoyed weekends at the family cabin in Red Lodge, and in later years, toured with John on his Honda Gold Wing. An avid reader, Chris' weekly trips with her children to the public library led to her becoming first the substitute and then the permanent city-county librarian. Her tenure there, from 1970-1991, included the innovative task of merging the public library with the newly-built high school library in 1974.
In her pragmatic and understated manner, Chris served in the community in a variety of ways. At church, she participated in WELCA, helped with quilting projects, and in 1957 became a founding member of the women's weekly Fellowship Bible Study, which she led until just a few years ago. She served as a museum guide for many years, and when she noticed its lawn was neglected, she regularly had John load up the lawn mower so she could mow it. Most recently, she and John volunteered in the elementary school reading program, and delivered Meals on Wheels to “old” people until retiring at age 90.
A gracious and genuine person who didn't like to be fussed over, Chris embodied the 8th Commandment principle to speak of people and explain their actions in the kindest way. Her lifelong Christian faith practices equipped her to be a person of service, compassion, and hope.
Chris is survived by her husband John; sister Charleen Weidenbach of Minneapolis, Minnesota; children and spouses Ann Sweeney (Chuck) of Columbus, Montana; David (Pam) and Tom (Dixie), all of Roundup; Jane (Derek Grimmell) of Hutchinson, Kansas; by nine grandchildren – Cristina Hornbuckle; Tucker, Bryce, Cody, and Devin Sweeney; Melissa Carlson and James Liggett; Derek and Sarah Liggett; and seven great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Esther Johnson, her son Steven and daughter-in-law Barbara.
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