Chris­tine McFarlane

The Mercury News - - Obituaries & In Memoriams -

Aug 3, 1946 - Sept 13, 2018 San Jose

Chris­tine Michaels McFarlane died on Septem­ber 13, 2018, sur­rounded by fam­ily, af­ter a heroic bat­tle against mul­ti­ple myeloma.

Born in Wel­wyn Gar­den City, Hert­ford­shire, Eng­land on Au­gust 3, 1946, Chris­tine was the first of six chil­dren of U.S.Army Air Force Cap­tain Wil­lard L. Michaels and his Bri­tish bride, Jean Twiddy. She came to the US at the age of three months, and the fam­ily lived in Ne­braska, Wy­oming, Mon­tana, Illi­nois and Wash­ing­ton, where she fin­ished high school in the town of Moses Lake. Her par­ents re­lo­cated to San Jose in 1966, while she be­gan at­tend­ing Colorado Women’s Col­lege. When her fa­ther died sud­denly in 1967, she moved to San Jose to help her mother with her five younger sib­lings.

Chris­tine met Gene McFarlane in Colorado, and they were mar­ried in San Jose in 1968. Their son, Bran­don, was born in 1973. Bran­don pos­sesses the same hu­mor and wit so beloved in his mother and was a great source of pride to his par­ents. Gene passed away in Oc­to­ber 2017, in their fifti­eth year of mar­riage.

Chris­tine had a long and dis­tin­guished ca­reer with Cal­i­for­nia Wa­ter Ser­vice, be­gin­ning as an ad­min­is­tra­tive as­sis­tant in 1969. Her hir­ing man­ager shared his rec­ol­lec­tion that on the day she started at Cal Wa­ter, she came to work wear­ing white gloves; an ex­am­ple of both the re­gard she held for her work and of the eti­quette she epit­o­mized in all as­pects of her life. Chris­tine took a brief ma­ter­nity leave when Bran­don was born, but re­turned to Cal Wa­ter in 1976 to be­gin a re­mark­able ca­reer in Hu­man Re­sources. Work­ing ini­tially in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of ben­e­fits, she rose to the po­si­tion of As­sis­tant to the HR Di­rec­tor, tak­ing over as Di­rec­tor in 1991. Named an Of­fi­cer of the com­pany in 1996, she served as Vice Pres­i­dent of Hu­man Re­sources and later as Vice Pres­i­dent and Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer, the ti­tle she held upon her re­tire­ment in 2012. Apart from her rapid pro­fes­sional ad­vance­ment, Chris­tine left her mark on the em­ploy­ees of Cal Wa­ter in the form of her deep com­pas­sion for the com­plex­i­ties of their lives. It is a rare HR Di­rec­tor who flies to Hawaii and back in the same day to at­tend to a sen­si­tive em­ployee-re­lated is­sue. She reg­u­larly vis­ited em­ploy­ees in the hospi­tal, at­tended their wed­dings and fu­ner­als, and gave her per­sonal, as well as pro­fes­sional, at­ten­tion to im­prov­ing their lives in the con­text of their em­ploy­ment. Her ac­com­plish­ments and ded­i­ca­tion were rec­og­nized not just within Cal Wa­ter but more widely by the Amer­i­can As­so­ci­a­tion of Busi­ness Women.

Chris­tine is sur­vived by the fam­ily to which she was de­voted: her mother Jean Michaels Borst; her son Bran­don, daugh­ter-in-law Ly­dia and their son Evan. Bran­don and Ly­dia are await­ing the birth of Evan’s younger brother in Novem­ber. Chris­tine was with all of her sur­viv­ing sib­lings dur­ing her fi­nal days: Bill (Diane), Mike, Linda, and Robert (Deb­bie) Michaels, as well as her neph­ews Kevin, David, Justin and Robby and her niece Katie. She is deeply missed by all of her fam­ily in­clud­ing her pug­gle, Bax­ter.

A cel­e­bra­tion of her life will be held at the Mon­talvo Cen­ter for the Arts on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 21, 2018 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM.

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