Edward Christ of Elgin loved to travel and feed birds -- rain or shine -- but what defined him was a great sense of responsibility, said his daughter, Cynthia Nelson.
Christ, 88, a former assistant chief with the Elgin Police Department, died Sept. 6 at Apostolic Christian Resthaven in Elgin, where he had been staying for the last two years. He grew up in Elgin and joined the Navy to fight on a submarine in the Pacific until the end of World War II. In 1958 he was hired by the city of Elgin as a public safety officer, and then became a patrolman with the police department. He became the department's first watch supervisor and later assistant chief, retiring in 1978.
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His sense of duty also applied to his personal life, as he assiduously cared for a great aunt in her 90s after she moved into a nursing home, said Nelson, of Leisure Lake, Iowa. "For the better part of three years he was there every single day. He never missed a day," she said.
Christ was devoted to his wife and high school sweetheart, Marilyn Alice Chapman, who died in 1996 after more than 50 years of marriage. In fact, he agreed to have children only because she wanted them so much, Nelson said.
"He loved to read, and as children, he would quiz us at the supper table on the word games out of the Reader's Digest, and instilled a love of books in us," she said. He also took his family on trips all over the country -- Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon, and more -- and later enjoyed traveling in an Airstream trailer with his wife.
In 2000, Christ married Dorothea Pokras, who died of cancer three years later. "Dorothea got him to open his mind to a few things he would have never done in his own -- dancing, theater," Nelson said.
Christ is survived by two children, a stepdaughter and step-grandchild, four grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Elgin. A luncheon will follow.