Obituary of Christiane Jeanne Claire Marie Legier Gilchrist
Christiane Jeanne Claire Marie Legier Gilchrist
April 6, 1931 - September 14, 2021
Beloved wife of the late Donald Hunter Gilchrist for almost 65 years, adored mother of Nancy Ann, Donald (Jeanne DesBrisay) and Jean, and greatly loved Mimsie to Charlotte and Anne Bell, and John, Sara, Kate and Meg Gilchrist. Christiane was predeceased by brothers Dr. Jacques Legier and Michel Legier.
Christiane was born in Ostend to Dr. Leon Legier and Claire Legier. She lived under occupation for four years before Ostend was liberated by the Manitoba Dragoons in 1944. The lack of proper heating during that time explained her heating rooms to near tropical temperatures year-round. She never wanted to be cold again. Christiane’s outrage at not being allowed to attend university like her younger brother Jacques resulted in her commencing a hunger strike, which was put on hold for a compromise that would involve Christiane going to London to learn English, brokered by a favourite aunt who by happenstance knew the wife of a renowned Harley Street doctor. In 1952, at 2 Upper Wimpole Street, the stunningly beautiful Christiane met Donald Gilchrist, a Canadian veteran and champion Canadian figure skater completing his M.Sc at the LSE. He was invited to dinner by Cecilia Colledge, a former British world figure skating champion and the daughter of Christiane’s hosts. Christiane and Donald were married weeks after her 21st birthday and soon began their first post representing Canada in Washington D.C. During their first posting in Washington, Nancy Ann, Donald and Jean arrived. Later diplomatic postings included a second posting in Washington as well as Los Angeles and The Hague. In each post, Christiane was an integral part of Donald’s career as a diplomat, hosting countless parties and receptions to support Canada's missions abroad as well as legions of figure skaters on tour and invited to a home cooked meal prepared by Christiane.
Christiane brought a golden touch to all of her endeavours, combining her standards of perfection with her Belgian aesthetic. While back in Ottawa, Christiane became a real estate agent, a career she loved, especially working for her clients and with her colleagues. With grandchildren arriving in rapid succession in Toronto, Donald and Christiane moved there in time for the birth of their sixth and final grandchild. Christiane, ever the host, entered a new phase of culinary satisfaction, replacing her Oranges Glacé with skittles and ice cream bars for her amazed grandchildren. Her loving and enduring marriage to Donald, while not defining her, was the highlight of her life and his. Her children and grandchildren will all miss her beautiful smile, kindness and her grace. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.
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