Sunday, 24 March 2019

Christine Gropper — April 3, 1943 to January 30, 2019

Christine Gropper — April 3, 1943 to January 30, 2019

CHRIS was born and grew up in Guiseley, near Leeds, steps from the original Harry Ramsden fish and chip shop.

She was a Yorkshire lass through and through with both sides of her family having lived within a 10-mile radius of Leeds from as far back as the 1600s.

Perhaps because she had three older brothers, Chris developed a strength and independence that helped her through the rest of her life.

She attended the local grammar school before training to be a comptometer (mechanical calculator) operator.

At the age of 17 she accompanied her brother Kenneth and his wife and children to Ottawa in Canada, where she worked at the Union Bureau of Statistics.

In December 1961 she returned to the UK on the Queen Elizabeth through one of the worst storms for many years.

In 1962 Chris met Edward through her job at a firm of chartered accountants in Leeds.

Following their marriage, they moved to Accra in Ghana, where she lived through a military coup and an attempted military coup and may have unwittingly smuggled diamonds into neighbouring Togo. She enjoyed her eventful life in Africa and her first child David was born during this time.

In 1967 she moved back to the UK, setting up home in Aberford, near Leeds, where her other children, Joanne and Antony, were born.

The big move down south came in 1979, when she settled in Henley. While in Yorkshire, Chris became a qualified driving instructor and carried on this business when she moved to Henley, starting the Christine of Henley School of Motoring.

She taught many people to drive during the Eighties and Nineties and was proud of her reputation and her pupils’ pass rate.

She made many friends along the way and liked nothing better than socialising, going to the cinema and watching musicals.

From a very early age, she developed a love for travel, experiencing more than 100 countries and many different cultures.

In later years, as travel became more difficult, she enjoyed the security of cruising.

Two high points in her life were when her grandchildren, Lily and Jack, were born. They brought her much joy and she enjoyed visiting them at their home in the Cayman Islands.

Over the best part of the last two decades, she fought breast cancer, macular degeneration and Alzheimer’s.

She faced these illnesses with courage and determination and did not let the illnesses define her.

She received great support from Young Dementia UK and spent the last three-and-a-half years of her life being wonderfully cared for at the Watlington & District Care Home, where she passed away peacefully on January 30.

She will be greatly missed by her family and friends and will always be remembered for her sense of fun, style, love and compassion.

It was a privilege to have had her in our lives.

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