Cristyn L. Kostol Marble

Cris was born in Baker, Oregon, in the same hospital where her father, a small-town doctor, tended to his patients.

She was a rambunctious child, filled with an abundance of energy that her parents tried to channel into tap dancing, swimming, piano, baton twirling, and a host of other activities.

Although she always gave a humble account of her academic talents, Cris was a straight-A student, at least in the fall. (Kids in her family got to skip school and go skiing every Thursday during winter term if they had straight A’s in the fall).

She served as class president and was active in public service organizations like Key Club. But her proudest accomplishment of those years was her official FBI file for creating an unflattering poster of Richard Nixon.

When she enrolled at Willamette University, she had planned to study law. Instead, she became immersed in the arts.

She studied abroad at the University of Oslo, was a pitcher on the collegiate softball team, and even with all that, managed to earn a bachelor’s degree in art and complete her training to become a certified teacher.

After teaching art for one year at Baker Junior High School, Cris went on to study at the University of Arkansas where she earned a master’s degree that led to her career as a teacher of the blind and visually impaired.

This was the passion of her professional life: helping children adjust to blindness in a sighted world while helping their parents adapt to life with a blind child.

Cris and I met in the final few months of our college careers, introduced by a mutual friend. She was largely unimpressed; I was awestruck and persistent.

Our only common thread was a shared affection for Western swing dancing, an unusual skill in that staid environment. That first dance led to seven years of courtship, followed by 36 years of marriage.

She was my partner in all ways, and also my passion. We worked hard and played hard together, traveled widely, camped on the desert, ran the rivers, swam in the ocean, slept on the beach, and shared our life with many, many friends.

A tireless worker, she helped me become a much better person; this was no small task. I miss her tremendously.

Cris leaves behind three siblings: Carl, Teresa, and Lars, plus a large assortment of nieces and nephews, and many friends.

Cris decided some time ago that her passing would be marked by festivity and love.

There will be a pilgrimage to the Lazy M ranch in Crawfordsville soon to celebrate her life.

Tears are welcome, of course, but she has been clear: come with love in your heart and stories to tell.

Details of her memorial event will be forthcoming.

Until then, I leave you with this song for Cris: bit.ly/songforcris.

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