Christine K. Springer of 2 Falls Street, Trumansburg, passed away at the Cayuga Medical Center on Sunday, December 2, 2007 at the age of 71.
Born in Ithaca on May 17, 1936, Chris was the daughter of Carl and Iva Holden Keim. She was a talented musician who played the cornet and trained as a mezzo-soprano. Following graduation from Lansing High School, Chris won a scholarship to attend the Ithaca College School of Music as a voice major. Shortly before classes started, her father suffered a serious farm accident, and, in the first of countless occasions in which she dropped her own plans to support the people she loved, she gave up her scholarship to care for him.
After her father was well, Chris worked as a secretary at Ithaca College, where she met her husband Stan, who was a student there. They started their family, and Chris followed him as he began his career. She was a homemaker who created a home full of joy, fun, and warmth as she nurtured her own children along with the many other people who were drawn to the circle of light pooled on her kitchen table.
After Stan’s death, Chris realigned and rearranged her life once again. She faced her difficulties with sadness and bravery as she began the career that would end up touching so many lives. She first worked as office manager in the Dore Dentist Office, and later as the Court Clerk for the Village of Trumansburg and Town of Ulysses. She was elected to the Town Justice position in November 1993.
Chris approached this work with deep seriousness and dedication. It was more avocation than vocation – it allowed her to extend her kindness, compassion, and wisdom to the people who appeared in her court. Her home phone rang steadily with calls to complete arraignments, with calls from people who were hurt and confused, and with calls from people who kept in touch with her, sometimes for years, after appearing in her court. She would interrupt whatever she was doing to take those calls, and with each one she was fully there for the caller. She would get up in the middle of the night, sometimes more than once a night, to go to the police station and begin the justice process.
Her goal, always, was to create just solutions in which people’s mistakes and missteps could be the source of lessons that would help them move on to good lives. She wanted to bring real justice to everyone involved in very painful situations. She often said that her first meeting was with people – victims as well as defendants – who were appearing before her at their lowest moments, and she wanted to help them climb back up. She believed in second chances and the power of redemption. Chris was sought after to perform weddings. She took great joy in giving deep thought to make the occasion as meaningful and personal to the bride and groom as she could.
As important as work was to her, Chris’ family was the true focus of her life. She mothered her children and grandchildren from a place inside her that was always pointed true north. She was proud of her status as grandmother and even prouder when she became a great-grandmother. Her advice was essential. Her family relied on her to love and help them with big decisions, small decisions, and the quirky little things of everyday life. She was funny. She was feisty and stubborn. She was fair. She was clear-eyed about what was truly important in any given situation and honestly said what she thought, no matter how awkward or painful that honesty might be. She was vibrant. She was compassionate and sometimes impatient and she didn’t appreciate nonsense.
Chris sang like an angel. She believed that angels walk with us. She grew flowers, read books, watched for hummingbirds, and took care of her grandchildren. She stood straight for what she believed in. She had dark times in her life when she taught her children to survive sadness with courage and dignity.
In addition to her parents, Chris was preceded in death by her husband, Stanley L. Springer, in 1984. She is survived by five children: Robin Springer (Dave Roach) of Hartwell, GA, Molly deRoos (Jan) of Ithaca, Kate Horey (Chris) of Trumansburg, Michael Springer (Sarah) of Albany, Scott Springer (Paula) of Uncasville, CT; nine grandchildren: Elaine Griffin (Kirk), Colin Brown, Anna Roach, Meredith Roach, Ali Brown, Eva Horey, and Timothy, Maggie and Hannah Springer; one great-grandchild, Benjamin Griffin; one sister, Gloria Farrell (Don Isenbarger) of Etna; one niece, several nephews, many cousins, and countless people who considered Chris a mother as well as a friend.
The family will be present to receive friends on Wednesday, December 5, 2007, from 6-8 pm at the Ness-Sibley Funeral Home, 23 South Street, Trumansburg.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, December 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm at the Trumansburg Conservatory of Fine Arts, corner of Congress and McLallen Streets, Trumansburg, with the Reverend Timothy W. Dean officiating.
Those who wish to remember Chris in the form of a memorial contribution are asked to kindly consider the scholarship which will be established by her family. Please mail contributions for this scholarship to: Tompkins Trust Company, C/O Cheryl Reynolds, P.O. Box 702, Trumansburg, NY 14886. Be sure to include your name and address and indicate “Christine K. Springer Scholarship.”