By Patti Samar
As the oldest of six children, Christine Newberry has spent her entire life helping care for others.
In her role as a certified trust and financial advisor at Chemical Bank, she helps care for 100 clients and their various needs.
As an influential and involved resident of the Blue Water Area, she helps care for the entire community through a wide variety of volunteer efforts.
As a mother and grandmother, she dotes on her children and grandchildren.
But six and a half years ago, when she was not even 50 years old, Newberry lost her husband of 26 years when he died suddenly as the result of a medical incident.
For the first time in her life, she had to allow others to help take care of her.
“At first, it was paralyzing,” she said of losing her husband so suddenly at such a young age. “You don’t see that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.” But a cadre of family, friends and coworkers reached out and helped her through the most difficult of times, and she is grateful for their compassion.
Now, Newberry works hard to use her experience to continue doing what she does best: helping others going through difficult experiences.
“It made me more compassionate toward others experiencing loss,” she said. “I try to make sure I’m saying the right things and really listening. My battle scars have helped me be a better nurturer with my family and my friends.
“I also find that this experience has also translated to me being an even better caregiver at work,” she said. “I’m helping my clients navigate through financial issues. There can be a lot of hand-holding to help them plan for their kids’ college education, or their retirement planning.”
Newberry has worked hard throughout her entire career, all of which has been spent in the banking industry. “I’ve been at the bank since I was 17,” she said. “I’m very blessed to have the job that I have, from an intellectual standpoint, and from a relationship standpoint.
“I’ve spent 35 years in my career.”
During that time, she got married at age 21, after having met her husband when she was just 12 years old – “he was my first crush…and our paths just continued to cross” – and then continued working while raising two sons. She also pecked away at a college degree while working and raising a family, and eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from Walsh College.
Newberry has also dedicated her life to service in the community, and she has been a positive influence, donating countless hours of time to her volunteer efforts.
“When I can fit in another opportunity to volunteer, I do, because I have the ability to impact even more people,” she said. “I have a soft spot in my heart for people who need help. I think of all of the different ways people helped me get through difficult times, and it helps me to help others.”
Newberry said her faith also helps guide her in her acts of service.
“We grew up with ‘doing unto others as you would have done to you,’” she said. “I have a strong faith and it makes me feel really good, and it helps me sleep at night,” she said.
Newberry carries with her several favorite quotes, which, when summarized, share the same message: “Don’t wait to live your life.” She learned that lesson the hard way, but she has not let the loss of her husband hinder her ability to live and enjoy life.
She has moved forward and spends time with a special person, who has helped her learn to have fun again.
“Life has not unfolded the way I planned, but it is going on,” she said. “Each day is a gift.”