Christine Ellen Wilkinson Peters Kjosness was born in Peterborough England on September 8, 1927. Her father, Charles John Wilkinson was a train conductor and mother, Annie Ethel Noble Wilkinson sewed furs. She had one brother, Gerald a police detective and a sister, Joan.
Christine lived during WW2 and often told stories of the war to her family. She went to school in the bomb shelters and was not able to complete school due to the war. As the war planes bombed and flew overhead, she would tell the story of the pianist in the bomb shelter who would play the piano so loud to block out the bombing. Christine however was sharp and knew what was going on. She even told the story of one time saving a little boy’s life. When walking outside once, she threw herself and a little boy into a ditch and put her body over him to avoid a German bomb falling from above.
You’ve also likely seen the picture; a beautiful young Christine as the Regatta Queen in England. She spoke of the US actress, Joan Collins, whose husband chose Christine one day as the queen. She was presented with a crown that was a replica to Queen Elizabeth’s and she reigned for a year in Peterborough, England. The photo was in her room to the end.
Like many from Great Britain, Christine thought a lot of the queen. They were both the same age.
As a teen and young adult, Christine worked as a British telephone operator. One evening, she and her girlfriends met some US Air Force men stationed at Fairford Royal Air-Force Base. One of those men was Chuck Peters. After a courtship, they were married in England. She requested to Chuck when she married him and relocated to the US, that she would always get to visit her homeland in England. Chuck always made that wish for Christine come true. Shortly after they married, Chuck had a debilitating accident on the Air Force base in England. He was flown to Walter-Reed Army Hospital in Washington DC and his leg was amputated. Christine was always by his side.
A short time after his leg was amputated, Robin was born at Walter Reed Army Hospital. Chuck, Christine and Robin, as a baby, moved to a small town near Lafayette Indiana. Chuck returned to Purdue University to finish his degree. After that, they moved to Oaklandon, IN. Colin was born five years after Robin.
When living in IN, on two different occasions, she took Robin and Colin to England for a time and the boys attended school there. Their daughter, Mary was adopted by Chuck and Christine at age 5. They were so excited to have a beautiful little girl. Robin was 15 and Colin was 10 years of age.
Robin recalls when all his friends visited the Peters home in Oaklandon, IN that his buddies looked forward to his Mom’s British pastries. She would make them scones, lemon tarts and mincemeat tarts. Christine would spend her evenings baking or gardening in her beautiful master British gardens.
She won many ribbons from the Indiana State Fair for her amazing floral arrangements and her pastries. Her ribbons were also with her to the end.
Christine was a member of the Daughters of the British Empire since moving to IN around 1952. It is a non-profit 501 C 3 organization founded in 1909 for British women living in the US. She still had her blazer and pen.
After Christine and Chuck divorced in 1974, she moved back to England for some time with Colin and Mary. Robin was in college and stayed in IN with his dad. After living in England with two of her children, Christine decided to move back to the US. They settled on the west coast in Washington state in the city of Anacortes.
She worked very hard as a baker in Anacortes, raising Colin and Mary for several years. Robin and Colin remember her great cooking, immaculate flower gardens and Yorkshire Pudding.
One day, when she was about 57, she went to a dance and met a man named “Bob Kjosness.” In her initial meeting and first dance with him she said, “you do not look like a Bob, I’m going to call you Robert!” And from that day on, his name was Robert. Christine often did this. Colin’s wife Keala became “Keyla” and Colin’s son Noah was called “Nor.” In honor of his mother, or just to be funny, Colin sometimes still calls them by the names his mother gave them.
Robert and Christine married a short time later. Robert was close to 70 years old. She was proud that Robert was a retired Colonel in the Navy and retired from Boeing. Robert loved Christine and gave her everything possible. She always talked about pink towels Robert once got her. When family moved Christine back to Indiana from Honolulu in May, they found all the pink towels.
Robert built Christine a large custom British Tudor home overlooking the ocean in Washington state. They traveled to England and brought back chimney pots, their front door and many other things from England. Robert was retired then but became a Realtor at age 77. Christine always said working would keep him young. They lived there happily, visited England often and came to Indianapolis from time to time.
In 1999 Robert was diagnosed with a very malignant brain tumor and passed away after a short illness. He was an amazing man and had everything in motion so Christine would be well-taken care of. He even thought so far ahead in planning for Robin to do her finances that he purchased Robin a life-time subscription to Money magazine. In true Robert style, the Money magazine arrived to surprise Robin after Robert’s death.
Christine was 72 years old and was faced with what to do next. Her options were to move where one of her sons were living, IN or Hawaii. Of course, her choice was Hawaii. She had been with Colin since he was born.
Colin and Robin worked together often to plan everything for their mom. After her home overlooking the ocean sold, Colin waited in a lawn chair for two days to be the first in line to get Christine the best unit in a condo complex being built.
Christine had a second Hawaiian family just three miles up the road in Keala’s relatives. She visited with all of them for the holidays. She called Keala’s three brothers Duckie. The word Duckie is a British slang word of endearment meaning dear, sweetheart, darling. To this day, these three grown men still call her Duckie and have kept up with Christine via Facebook posts.
In May of 2019 when Christine’s Health was failing, Robin, Colin and their wives presented to Christine she could live in assisted living in Hawaii or return to IN. To their amazement, she decided to return to IN. She moved into Hamilton Trace assisted living. Just like Honolulu, Christine immediately met many other residents that became her friends. Everyone became “ducky.”
Christine’s British furniture, from a couple generations back, followed her from England to Indiana to Anacortes, back to England, to Anacortes again then to Honolulu, then back to Indiana. She cherished her British furniture heirlooms from her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.
After her move to Fishers, one of her granddaughters, Katya took her out twice a week to interesting places around town. She often commented on the trees and homes in Fishers.
Christine had three good friends in Hawaii. Two of them, Pat and Jackie, moved from Honolulu to Greenfield and continued to visit her often at Hamilton Trace to the end. Christine and Pat both shared their British heritage and have been friends for 50 plus years. Christine’s third friend in Honolulu is named Carol. They met years ago walking out of Ross department store in Honolulu. They became instant friends and often traveled to England together. Carol was devastated when Christine moved back to IN. She continued to write her letters 2 to 3 times a week.
Christine was proud of all her grandchildren. Living in Honolulu, she was able to see Luke and Noah from birth to grown tall young men. She was able to visit some of their Hawaii school events and commented on what great boys Luke and “Nor” were. After moving to Fishers last May, she would watch for Trevor on the local news and enjoyed watching him saying “he’s ever such a handsome Chap.”
Recently, she was able to face time Lena in Barbados and they laughed together. She cherished the time she spent with Katya two evenings a week, for outings, since moving back to Indiana. Christine joked saying she wanted to be one of Katya’s bridesmaids whenever she married.
Every Thursday for the past 20 years, Colin recalls taking his mom to breakfast and Safeway to grocery shop. Their mother-son standing date was always at 10:30 every Thursday morning. As she walked out of the restaurant she always stopped and talked to every person even though they didn’t know one another. They’d talk about their common knee pain as Colin patiently waited for his mom.
Christine’s family credits the entire Hamilton Trace staff for going above and beyond with Christine’s care in her last ten months of life. One of the young, sweet PT staff members said learned a lot from Christine about British heritage and how to cook Yorkshire pudding.
She gained so many friends at Hamilton Trace, residents and staff members. This past week her room was flooded with staff members and residents who came to bid their good-byes and sit with her. The head nurse said, “everybody knows Duckie!”
Christine never met a stranger and lived a happy and full life.
In addition to her parents, Christine was preceded in death by her first husband, Charles D. Peters, second husband, Robert W. Kjosness; brother, Gerald Wilkinson and sister, Joan Scothern.
Survivors include her sons, Robin (Lisa) Peters and their children, Trevor, Lena and Katya; Colin (Keala) Peters and their children, Luke and Noah; daughter, Mary (Dave) Floyd and their children, Elizabeth, Brian and Sarah; and Jones Ohana.
Family and friends will gather on Sunday, February 23, 2020 in Northview Chapel, 12900 Hazel Dell Parkway, Carmel from 3 – 5 pm with the Funeral Service beginning at 5 pm.
In memory of Christine, donations may be given to Daughters of the British Empire, 8700 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513. Envelopes will be available at the church.
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