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Carmen Christy

Carmen Christy

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CHRISTY, Carmen Crittenden

Carmen Crittenden Christy, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, friend, avid horsewoman, birder, artist, published author, gourmet, lover of the arts, literature, history, travel and nature, passed away on July 19, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona, at the age of 74. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, on January 22, 1946, to parents Daniel LaMar Christy, Jr., and Joan Walmsley (Christy) Galloway, Carmen grew up in Fremont, Ohio, and Tucson. Throughout her life, she spent her summers in Kagawong, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada, and Carmel, California. Following graduation from Tucson's Valley School for Girls, she studied English and Modern Dance at Denison University. In 1966, she moved to New York City with her first husband, where their daughter Olivia was born, and she worked as a researcher for political historian Theodore H. White on The Making of the President 1968. In 1969, the family relocated to Tucson, where Carmen volunteered for Young Audiences of Southern Arizona and the Tucson Museum of Art.

From 1971 to 1979, Carmen lived in Patagonia, Arizona, where her daughter Carolyn was born. The family managed a private guest ranch and spent evenings and weekends riding and caring for the horses, which Carmen loved. During these years, she received a Master of Education with a focus in Reading from the University of Arizona, while teaching 8th Grade English in Nogales, Arizona. A natural teacher, she engaged her students in historical and cultural reenactments and projects such as the bicentennial reenactment of the Juan Bautista de Anza Trek of 1776. She later helped establish the US border to California section of the National Park Service's Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail.

Carmen's volunteer work for the Santa Cruz County Historical Society led to a role contributing in volunteer development at The Arizona State Historical Society and membership in the American Association of State and Local History. In 1988, she returned to Tucson and served as Director of Development for the Arizona Opera Company, The YMCA Foundation of Southern Arizona in Tucson and Tohono Chul Park. She was a member of several civic organizations, served on numerous professional and philanthropic boards and committees, and was an active member of St. Philip's In the Hills Episcopal Church. She retired in 2002.

As with everything else in her life, Carmen embraced retirement. She crisscrossed the country and Canada in her purple Dodge van, traveling with friends and visiting family. She enjoyed numerous Southwest canoe trips, rafted twice down the Colorado River, and went bird and whale watching in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Trinidad and Tobago. Her summer and afterschool "Grammy Camps" ensured time with her grandchildren Julia and Ian, which she relished. In her native Ohio, Carmen worked to establish the Christy Farm Nature Preserve. In Tucson, she studied drawing and entertained writing groups with fascinating stories of food, travel, and childhood in the Old Pueblo.

In 2011, Carmen met and married Walter Ridley. Together they explored the world by land, river, and sea. They took several cruises around Europe, the Baltic, Mediterranean and Aegean Seas. They traveled in Spain and visited London and Paris. Their final adventure was cruising around South America and kayaking in the Straits of Magellan. At home in Tucson, they bicycled every morning along The Loop, grand-parented birds nesting on their property, and walked their dog, Rocky. They cherished one another and their time together.

Her parents, stepfather, Charles Edwin Galloway, brother, Daniel Lamar Christy, III, and sister, Tamsen Elise Christy preceded her in death. She is survived by her husband, Walter Ridley, daughters, Olivia Crittenden Manders (Eric-Jan) and Carolyn Christy Laurie (Jesse William), grandchildren, Julia Elise and Ian William Laurie, stepdaughter, Janeese Duke, and her extended family. The family will hold a celebration of Carmen's life when it is possible to safely bring family and friends together again. Carmen's smile and energy lit up a room. Hers was a life well lived. She was much loved and will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate memorial contributions to the Paton Center for Hummingbirds via the Tucson Audubon Society or the Humane Society of Southern Arizona.

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