Cover photo for Christine Mary Groda's Obituary
Christine Mary Groda Profile Photo
1924 Christine 2024

Christine Mary Groda

January 5, 1924 — April 28, 2024


Christine Groda was born to Bill Ballis and Mary Foltin Ballis on January 5, 1924, in Houston. She was the third of a family of six.

In 1925, her parents took their children to Greece to visit family members. Christine spent eight years there, growing up in the village of Andritsena.

What followed proved the most traumatic time of her life. She and her two elder sisters were to sail to America to protect them from the impending rise of Hitler. At the dock, her father kissed Christine goodbye. She never saw him again. The cargo ship they sailed on was lost at sea for 10 days in a terrible North Atlantic storm
before reaching New York Harbor.

After graduating from high school, she became a welder at the Houston Naval Shipyards, an original "Rosie the Riveter," in support of the war effort. She then received a grant from the Army to attend nursing school in Houston.

In 1946, a young soldier was sitting on a bench at the Greyhound bus station in Houston, Texas. He was eying a beautiful girl on the bench across from him, that girl was Christine Ballis. Soon, he built up the courage to talk to her. Two strangers met that Monday in November. Two days later, Christine Ballis and Fennie Groda were engaged, and on Friday, November 22, the couple were married. Not long after marrying, Christine and Fennie celebrated the birth of their first child, daughter Ira Christine (“Kissy”) Groda, and the prolific couple were off to the family races. After Kissy came Mary, Joyce, Deborah, Karen, and twin boys, Ronny and Johnny. She had 19 grandchildren, 40 great-grandchildren, and 30 great-great grandchildren.

Christine and Fennie lived a life of adventure, moving the family numerous times: from Houston to Galveston to San Antonio to Del Rio, and finally the great trek from Texas to the Portland-Vancouver area in the Pacific Northwest where they would settle and live out the rest of their lives.

Christine worked several years as a pediatric nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland, Oregon. After 25 years, working as the night supervisor, she retired in 1985.

Especially important to Christine was her Catholic faith. She was a devout woman, whose steadiness came from her deep, abiding faith in Jesus Christ.

Christine and Fennie loved to be with family and friends. Their home was ground zero for droves of guests who would come and go, sometimes staying for lengthy periods of time. The couple thrived in the midst of these large gatherings, celebrating various holidays, birthdays, and get-togethers. Christine was the curator of the family, collecting mementos connected to the family's history through the years. She was also a connoisseur of spreading Best Foods Mayonnaise on sandwiches and looking at you with scorn if you forgot to add Sweet'N Low to her morning coffee.

Christine died on Sunday, April 28 th , at her home in Napavine, Washington, at the age of 100 and four months.

Christine was preceded in death by her husband, Fennie Groda; her mother Mary Foltin Ballis and father William Ballis; sisters, Anastasia, Athena, and Amelia "Mickey"; brothers, Tom, and George; daughters, Ira Christine “Kissy” Jensen and Karen Kontonasakis; son Ronny Groda; and grandchildren, Iris Lewis and Patrick Davis. Christine is survived by her daughters, Mary Groda-Lewis, Joyce Groda, and Deborah Groda; son, Johnny Groda; daughter-in-law, Debbie Groda; and sons-in-law, Harry Kontonasakis and David Lewis.

She is survived by grandchildren, Kimberly Davis, Michael Davis, Shanna Lent, Catrina Davis, Christopher Lewis, Lisa Cavales, Sheryl Cavales, Nicole Cavalas, Ishan Groda, Christy Groda, Elenetza Kontonasakis-Hall, Tony Kontonasakis, John Kontonasakis, Jonathan Groda, Elizabeth Groda, Staci Hoffman, Summer Lynn Tucker; and scores of great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends, and loved ones.

     On behalf of our entire family we would especially like to thank everyone who participated in Christine's care, especially those who helped mom during the last few years of her life.

A funeral service will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Battleground, WA, on Saturday, May 18th at 10:00am.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Christine Mary Groda, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Christine Groda Funeral Service

Saturday, May 18, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Pacific time)

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