Christine Joy Greenberger, surrounded by family in her Sonora home, died peacefully on Tuesday, August 24th, 2021. She was born in February 1952 in South Bend, IN. Christine’s family moved to Camden, ME, when she was two. Ten years later they moved to California.
After high school, Chris moved to Tuolumne County to attend Columbia College. In 1974 she graduated from Cal-State, Stanislaus. During those years, she worked for both Columbia College and Tuolumne County Libraries, sparking a career in library work.
Chris loved all kinds of music and studied piano. In 1978 she met Sam Greenberger, an old-time fiddle player from L.A., who came to Columbia to play music with the Fiddlestix band. In 1980 they married and moved to Venice Beach. Later two sons arrived, and life focused on family. She and Sam visited Tuolumne County often for music and friendships here.
In 1987 Chris received her Master’s Degree in Library Science from UCLA, then joined the American Library Association and the Association for Library Service to Children. For 16 years she served as a Children’s Librarian for the prestigious Santa Monica and Los Angeles Public Libraries. A chance to return to Sonora, her Northern California hometown, came in 2004 when Chris was chosen as Tuolumne County’s first Senior Librarian, overseeing Youth Services.
Chris’s legacy includes many innovations, such as a major renovation, funded by Sonora Sunrise Rotary Club, which helped create the nationally recognized Children’s Library Mural by artist Tracy Knopf. Retired Head Librarian Connie Corcoran remembers, “Chris guided staff on best practices for serving the public. She excelled at engaging young people, and helping them fall in love with reading books. It was a delight to work with her”
When Chris learned she had Multiple Myeloma, she contacted UCSF’s Oncology Department, where her journey as a medical warrior began. Working with Dr. Tom Martin, associate director of UCSF’s MM program and a leading expert in hematology-oncology, Chris participated in several research studies. She continued work at the library for as long as she could, with inimitable courage and the utmost privacy. She became one of the world’s longest surviving MM research subjects. Dr. Martin respected her deeply, and said, “Always a willing participant, Chris contributed to Myeloma research. What we have learned from her will help many others. We will truly miss her beautiful smile, friendly and caring nature, and how she cared for others.” Through it all, Chris stood with grace, laughter, and admirable strength.
A devoted sister, wife, and mother, everyone loved her cooking, her gardener’s green thumb, especially with California Native plants. She enjoyed her AAUW Book Club, and had a passion for creating meticulous hand-stitched quilts. While in living L.A., Chris helped organize a quilting group for Santa Monica Children’s Librarians. For 30 years they met regularly. Even during the COVID Quarantine, they sewed together on Zoom. Through it all, music remained a life-long love.
Donations can go to “California Native Plants Society: Sierra Foothills Chapter,” 2707 “K” Street, Suite 1, Sacramento, CA 95816. Preceding Chris in death are sister Carol Cottier, mother Betty Sklar, stepfather Simon Sklar, father Norman Cottier. Remembering her are husband Sam, sons David and Thomas, sister Anya Brooks (Ian), brother Louis Sklar, nephew James Cottier, cousins, friends and cat Halo. A music-filled memorial is planned for Spring 2022.
“She’s Dancing While The Angels’ Band Plays On.”
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Obituary written by friend BZ Smith
- Date of Death: 08/24/2021
- Age: 69
- Residence: Sonora, CA