Christine (Chris) Klima Baer, 67, passed away peacefully on 27 December 2017, of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. She is survived by two daughters, Jenna Hart (Wes) and Alexa Cutten (Ashley), three grandchildren Eva, Archer and Ryan; brothers Rod, Tom, Richard and Dave; and numerous nieces and nephews. She also leaves behind loving relatives and friends. She was predeceased by her mother, Jean Gustafson Klima, and father, William John Klima. She was born October 29, 1950 in Washington D.C., grew up in Alexandria, graduating from Francis C. Hammond High School, and Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in history. She later moved to Lake Ridge, Virginia where she was a devoted mother to her two daughters. Her marriage ended in divorce.
While in high school Chris was a Candy Striper volunteer at Alexandria Hospital. During college she worked at the White House as a summer intern and as a result of her work ethic and performance was offered a position in Presidential correspondence when she graduated. She remained there until she retired in 2005. She worked for seven administrations; Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II, and was a witness to, and involved in, much history. She was an indispensable worker and contributed to preparing extensive Presidential correspondence, Legislation, Executive Orders, State of the Union addresses, and Presidential Proclamations (“The President is waiting to sign this document!”). There wasn't a job she couldn't do, and produce high quality work under pressure. She remained cool and focused, and managed to inject some fun. She was highly regarded for her personality, work ethic and ability. She worked with new administration transition teams, saw Watergate unfold and was involved in transcribing the infamous tapes. She was integral to moving White House correspondence operations into the computer age. The White House Christmas party was a coveted invite each year and she included family or friends as guests.
She was the ultimate prankster to her younger siblings, pranks that are family lore. She enjoyed her daughters, cats and dogs, adventure, traveling to faraway places, history, and the beach. During her early 20’s she planned and took the trip of a lifetime, an extensive six week European tour with her friend Susan, visiting 11 countries, and thoroughly enjoying the history, various cultures and festivities. Her passion for art led her to pursue local artists and shows, in search of eclectic art. Her passion for antiques led to many fun trips in pursuit of unique specimens. She loved to laugh and had many devoted friends to share them with. She was a loving and generous aunt to her many nieces and nephews.
Following retirement in 2005 Chris moved to St. Augustine, FL where she enjoyed the warm weather she craved, the beach, the local art scene, and protecting endangered turtle habitat. Illness forced her to move back to Virginia in 2008. To watch such a beautiful person worsen was devastating to all those close to her, yet as her disease progressed she courageously maintained her dignity, good nature, smile and laugh as long as she could. Anyone spending time with her could not help but be inspired and touched by her demeanor, fighting spirit and will to live, especially in her final years. During her long illness wonderful and loving individuals were there to care for her. The family is especially thankful for the devoted staff at Leewood Healthcare Center who took good care of her the last three years.
Chris lived a fulfilling life with family and friends who deeply loved her. She will be remembered as a devoted daughter and mother, for her adventurous spirit, wit, generosity, kindness, and devotion to family, friends and animals. She was an amazing lady, a kind and loving soul, who left us way too soon. We are thankful she was a beautiful part of our lives; she will be greatly missed and we will never forget her.
A celebration of her life will be held Wednesday, January 3, 3PM at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home, 1500 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA. Reception to follow.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers donations be made in her name to The Turtle Hospital, Marathon, Florida, or the Alzheimer’s Association.