Friday, July 27, 2012

Gentle Giant

Today we buried one of Dad's friends, Stan Christon. His obituary reflects the man so perfectly, I wanted to share it with you:

ROBERT "STAN" CHRISTON went to be with the Lord on July 22, 2012, at the age of 89 in the Linden Nursing Home. Born in Middlesbrough, England, on November 3, 1922, the youngest of seven children, Stan was a born leader. As a child, he was captain of his cricket team, and played a mean game of snooker, taking home the Christmas turkey on more than one occasion. At the age of 13, he received Jesus Christ as his Saviour. The next year he left school and began his apprenticeship to become a carpenter.

In January 1942 at the age of 19, Stan was drafted to serve in WWII. He received military training in Scotland, and was enlisted with the British 8th Army under General Montgomery. Stan served three years of intense front line action through North Africa and into Italy. He survived El Alamein, and his life was spared many times in front line battles. Towards the end of WWII Stan transferred to the Anti-Aircraft regiment. Peace was declared May 10, 1945. For two years following the war Stan worked as a guard at Prisoner of War camps in Italy.

Stan made a promise to God that should he survive WWII he would dedicate the rest of his life to serving Him. He graduated in 1948 from Cliff College, a Bible School in England, and was accepted by WEC (Worldwide Evangelization for Christ, an interdenominational missions agency), and he spent the next 25 years working in Ivory Coast in West Africa. During his time there he built a leper dispensary. He also built an orphanage for abandoned babies, along with many churches, mission stations and a wing for a hospital. Stan met and married Alice Kvigstad in 1955 in Ivory Coast, and together they raised their four children and continued to pioneer among the tribe's people. The African folk gave Stan and Alice tremendous support and referred to Stan as a man with white skin and an African heart.

Some people would describe Stan's life as stressful, turbulent and full of hardship and poverty. Stan would tell you he had a life that was exciting, full of adventure and extremely rewarding. He was a man driven to make the world, in particular the Ivory Coast, a better place.

In 1974 Stan and Alice and their four children returned to Canada and settled in Three Hills, AB. He continued to work as a carpenter for the next three years. In 1977 Stan had a major heart attack. We will always be grateful to the community of Three Hills, especially the folks at Manor Gospel Church, for all their help during this difficult time. Stan then worked as a painter for the Golden Hills School Division until his retirement.

Stan leaves as his legacy his faith in God, his generosity to those less fortunate, and a strong work ethic. The world is a better place because of Stan's life.

Grateful to have shared Stan's life are his children ...grandchildren ... great-grandchildren ... Stan's wife, Alice, his parents, Robert and Clara Christon, brothers Sid and Bill and sisters Dorothy, Louise and Doris predeceased Stan.

Stan's smile, grateful and generous attitude and gentle demeanour will be sadly missed. 

We wish to express our gratitude and heartfelt thanks to all the staff at the Linden Nursing Home for their gentle, compassionate care during Stan's last years of his life.


What else is there to add to a wonderful recollection of a life well lived? He was a great friend to Dad; Dad loved and admired this man. Stan loved music and singing. He would always sit next to the piano on a Tuesday morning at the Manor meetings and he would choose some of the old, exquisite, oft-forgotten hymns and then sing them melodiously and with feeling. When Dad would ask him to pray, he prayed with fervour and confidence, knowing that God was listening to him. Knowing that God was right there. When Dad would visit Stan they would share nuggets from Bible passages - both of them knowing where their treasure was being stored. 

He had the biggest hands of any person I've ever seen. Yet his hands were utterly gentle, able to tackle delicate tasks I would hesitate to take on.

And he had the heart to match those hands.

Stan will be missed enormously. Knowing him as superficially as I did, I miss him. Another prayer warrior in Three Hills has been silenced on this earth; the community of Christ followers will be the worse for it.

But his voice, which had faded away to nothing in the last little while, is once again restored to him and he is singing praises face to face to the One Whom he served and praised all those years on earth.

He was truly a wonderful man.


  1. Any friend of your father's . . .

  2. Thank you for your beautiful tribute to our grandfather. Coming home from his funeral yesterday we just googled his name and this blog came up. It is such a blessing to hear how he touched other peoples lives not just our own. Thanks again for your kind words.
    Michael(Brittany) and Justine Christon.

    1. My condolences to you both. Justine, you read the eulogy beautifully at the service. The reason I got to know your grandfather was because my Mum and Dad used to take the traditional Tuesday morning meeting at the Manor when Stan was still living there. When my Mum passed away, almost five years ago, I went in her place to play the piano / organ for the singing and to help my Dad with refreshments, etc. Your grandfather worked his way into my heart through those meetings. I got to visit him a few times at Linden as well, and his gentleness and positivity never wavered, even when he was having a less than stellar day. I think I might have actually met your Dad once too: my Dad and I went to visit Stan on his birthday, I think last year, and your Dad was there, having lunch with him!

  3. My dad and I were both born in Thornaby-on-Tees which is a suburb of Middlesbrough and my dad also attended Cliff College! Enjoyed your tribute.


I love to hear from you! Please leave me a leaf to read ...