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Working Hard Runs in the Family

Family History

Raised in rural Indiana as the sixth child of a close-knit brood of twelve kids, Christine learned quickly that you had to work hard and work well with others to get ahead.  Her father Mike, a 50+ year small business owner, and her mother Beverly, a fulltime bookkeeper, taught Chris and her siblings to value education, be responsible for your own actions, treat everyone with respect, and help others along the way.

A Helping Hand

You never know when you might need the help of others or your government.  Sometimes, hard work isn’t enough.  There are times when you need assistance.  When Christine was a senior in high school, her father became gravely ill.  Faced with eleven children still at home (and with four of those children in college), her parents needed help.  The family small business and the family itself were in crisis.  Fortunately, Christine’s family received Social Security Disability supplements to see them through the crisis.  This temporary help paved the way for a successful financial recovery.  All of Christine’s siblings went on to successful careers including law, optometry, teaching, sales, manufacturing, small business and publishing.

At the same time her family struggled financially, Christine was applying for college.  Because of federally funded Pell Grants, low interest student loans, and private scholarships, she was able to attend the University of Notre Dame. Christine received another helping hand at a critical moment in her life.

Christine remembered these experiences and used these values her entire life - from her first job at age 16, to working with large corporations across the country, to raising her own family and starting a small business, and to volunteering countless hours of leadership and service to the community.

Strong Family Roots in Business and Labor

When Christine’s mother, Beverly, passed away from breast cancer in 2009, Christine took on the role of family historian.  Researching her family roots uncovered, not surprisingly, many examples of hard work and success:

  • Grandfather Walter Corrigan worked on the Grand Coulee Dam in the mid 1930s as part of FDR’s PWA initiative and was a long time member of the Plasterers Union.
  • Grandfather Edmund Jeffirs was a founder of the Indiana Motor Bus Company, a transportation lifeline in Michiana.  After selling the bus company, Edmund went on to start the town’s first Chrysler dealership and worked until his death in 1976.
  • Grandmothers Margaret Brunner Corrigan and Ethel McChesney Jeffirs worked in factories in the 1920s.  They knew at an early age to take advantage of work opportunities to earn their own way.
  • Father Mike and mother Beverly started MJ Package Store.  Mike is still working 6 days a week at age 82.
  • Mother Beverly went back to college and completed her degree the same year Christine earned her degree.

Christine and her siblings continue the family tradition. Whether in a courtroom, factory, office or a union hall, Christine’s family knows the value of hard work.  With eleven brothers and sisters and more than 35 nieces and nephews, the list would be too long!  Here’s an abbreviated list of their efforts:

  • Sister Marlene, a telephone operator, belonged to IBEW Local 723 for 17 years and served as its steward for 15 years. Marlene also served on the Executive Board and Negotiating Committee.
  • Sister Laura, a high school social studies teacher and department head, has been a member of the local teachers’ association for more than 15 years and currently serves as its co-president.
  • Brother-in-law Rick is an experienced electrician with IBEW 723. Rick is a proud member of more than 30 years.
  • Brothers Steve and Kent earned law degrees and brother Mike a doctorate from Indiana University.
  • Brothers Mark, Steve and Kent and sister Janis also graduated from the University of Notre Dame while sisters Dana and Laura graduated from St. Mary’s College.
  • Brothers Greg and Mark are managers in the manufacturing industry while brother Doug is a sales executive in Chicago.
  • Brother Matt is a director of graphic arts in the publishing industry and has illustrated several books using his drawing and graphics artistry.
  • Niece Holli is a freelance editor of web-based communications.
  • Nephew James is a firefighter and EMT. He belongs to Elkhart Firefighters Local 338.
  • Niece Bethany is a proud third grade public school teacher and teachers’ association member.
  • Nephew Joe is a member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way (BMWED), maintaining high safety standards for northern Indiana’s railroad lines.
  • Nephew Nathaniel teaches English in China while Christine's son Andy teaches English in Japan.