Barbara H ‘Butch’ Christensen


Barbara H ‘Butch’ Christensen


Barbara Christensen
Barbara Christensen

Barbara H “Butch” Christensen was born at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings on July 27, 1937, where her father, Richard Chapple, was a physician. Butch’s mother, Gladys Price Chapple, was an English and music teacher.

Butch met Gerald Christensen when they were both students at the University of Montana. They were married on Aug. 26, 1957, in Billings, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and were blessed with two daughters; Rene’, born in 1958; and Stephanie Bryn, born in 1964.

Butch was an accomplished musician, playing both the piano and the organ at numerous weddings and funerals, as well as being the organist at St. Luke’s. She was known for playing the organ with a “beat,” consistent with her personality. Those fortunate enough to experience Butch’s music left church with a smile, a song in their heart and rhythm in their step.

Butch was a true perfectionist and excelled at any task she undertook, be it as a legal secretary, her role as Chairman of the utility board for Billings, as President of Junior Women’s Club, as a Shrine Lady and most certainly as a wife and mother.

Butch is survived by her husband, Jerry, of 59 years; her daughters, Rene’ (Terry Tritz) and Stephanie Bryn (Cory Lovell); grandchildren Jerry Lovell, a student at the University of Montana in Missoula, and Kaycee Rene’, a student at Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, Wash. Butch is also survived by her sister, Margaret (Mac) Belknap of Portland, Ore.; and three nephews, Wade Belknap (Sheila), Wendell Belknap (Barb) and Jim Belknap (Michele).

For our family, Butch was birthdays, Christmas and Thanksgiving. Holidays will never be the same without her. She has left a void in the lives of those who loved her which can never be filled — in other words, Butch, we love you now and forever.

Services for Butch will be at 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4, at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 119 N. 33rd St.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Al Bedoo Shrine Crippled and Burned Children’s Transportation Fund, 1125 Broadwater Ave., Billings, MT 59102.

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6 thoughts on “Barbara H ‘Butch’ Christensen”

  1. Butch,
    Thank you for being an incredible mother in law and even more such an incredible mother to Stephanie and grandmother to Jerry and Kaycee. I met you 26 years ago and you made me feel as though I was part of the family instantly. I will never forget all of the great trips we took as a family and how special you made each and every day, especially the holidays. I will never forget seeing you hold Jerry and Kaycee for the first time and how proud you were to be their grandma. I have always been very proud to be able to say that Butch Christensen is my mother in law.

    Love you forever, or as you would say to the kids, “To the moon and back”


  2. It was a pleasure to know the Chapple family growing up next door. I remember Butch, and Mac well. They were wonderful neighbors, and I really looked up to them, and still think of them. Please accept my condolences on her passing.

  3. My heart, thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Butch was such a wonderful, dear person! Butch was always quick to smile and always had words of kindness. I remember meeting Butch back in 1980 as Bryn’s lovely mom. Bryn has always been one of my dearest friends and her mom was one of those mom’s that made her friends feel welcome. Butch was a great mom to Bryn and was one of those mom’s to treasure. You are all in my thoughts and prayers as you go through this. Know Butch/Mom/Gramma is still there by your side and she wants you to keep smiling and enjoying life as she did. May God wrap his arms around all of you during this hard time. In sincere sympathy, Deane

  4. Butch,

    My remembrance of you, is that you gave the most amazing and thoughtful gifts! I treasure each and everyone of them. Whenever I use them I always think of you. My favorite is the stainless steel measuring tape 😉 Thank you for always thinking of us. When I was selling real estate I came across an article that stated Butch Christensen was a mover and a shaker!!! and that you were, thank you for being a part of our life’s !!

    Love you

    Mike and Regina

  5. Charla McFarland Hayward

    Butch Christensen loved her family, and hated cocktail parties. As the always conscientious and careful mother, she would refuse to join in on Jerry’s dangerous adventures. One such adventure occurred when Jerry decided to explore an erupting volcano during one of their many trips to Hawaii. And she was also never stepping foot on Mexican soil again after she and Jerry were detained for sometime at the border before being allowed re-entry into the United States. Butch, in explaining her reluctance to “join in,” would roll her eyes and state quietly and firmly, “Our daughters are not going to be left parentless.” That was Butch.

    Butch loved antiques and “old-fashioned” items. The antiques that she most treasured were heirlooms from her beloved family. Butch passed on her love for “old fashioned” German glass ornaments to me. Each Christmas as I hang the ornaments that Butch bought for me, I think about her. Since she never did anything on a small scale, I have boxes of beautiful, “old fashioned” German glass ornaments. That was Butch.

    Butch was fiercely smart. She was not really a legal secretary, but a defacto probate attorney and office manager who also dabbled in real estate law. I was extremely fortunate to work under the guidance of Butch for a number of years at the law firm of Olsen, Christensen, Christensen & Gannett. (Make no mistake I did not stutter). The clients and everyone in the office trusted, admired and loved her That was Butch.

    Butch loved Jerry. They were husband and wife for almost 60 years, and for at least 30 years they worked together in the same office. Not many marriages can withstand those riggers. Sandy Becker, who also had the immense pleasure of working with Butch and Jerry, told a great story that may explain in part their successful marriage. Jerry told Sandy that when he and Butch were in college and dating, they were walking down a flight of stairs. Butch was walking behind him when Jerry fell down the stairs. Jerry maintains to this day that Butch pushed him. Butch vehemently denies to this day that she pushed him. In any event, one thing is for certain. Behind every great man is a great woman, The great woman who was behind and beside Jerry Christensen all of those years–that was Butch.

    With deepest admiration and love,

    Charla McFarland Hayward

  6. Butch was a very special cousin. I have many wonderful memories of fun times with Butch and Jerry, Rene and Stephanie (Brynn) when I was younger. My Dad (Butch’s Uncle Dave) was so very fond of Butch. My heart goes out to all of you. May you take comfort in knowing that Butch lives on in the hearts and minds of all who were fortunate enough to know and love her. Cherish the memories — they are yours to keep forever.

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