Christine Sylvia Tvrdik - Morris Nilsen Funeral Chapel

August 14, 1926 - September 26, 2022

Christine Sylvia Tvrdik passed away peacefully in her sleep on September 26, 2022, at the Care & Rehabilitation Center of Covenant Living in Golden Valley, where she had lived since moving to Minnesota in 2017.
Christine was born August 14, 1926, in Chicago, Illinois, to Victor and Christine Zabelka, who had emigrated from the Czech Republic and Croatia. Her parents worked hard in the bakery they owned, while Christine helped with the cooking and caring for her younger brother.  Proud of her Eastern European heritage, she attended special Saturday classes to learn the Czech language and was able to speak, read, and write Czech all her life.  After high school she attended Morton Junior College in Cicero, Illinois, for two years and then started working as a secretary at Ryerson Steel. 

She met her future husband, Frank Tvrdik, when she was ten and he was fifteen—he lived just down the block. After his service in the US Navy in WWII, they began dating and were married on August 30, 1947.  They raised four children, three daughters and a son, in Oak Brook, Illinois, where Christine canned, pickled, and preserved the many vegetables from their large garden; some of her specialties were bread-and-butter pickles and strawberry and grape preserves.  A student of the accordion in her
younger years, her children remember gathering around to listen as she played her favorite waltzes and polkas. She was also fascinated by birds and could identify many by their calls.

Christine returned to work in 1962 at Brunswick Corporation and built a career as a professional secretary, holding office in the local chapter of the National Secretaries Association, passing the Certified Professional Secretary Exam, and representing her organization at their national conventions. In 1977, she began working at Continental Can Company and remained there until her retirement in 1991.

She had a zest for life and enjoyed getting to know new people. After she retired, she and her second husband, Russell Klink, purchased a 24-foot Safari TREK motor home and crisscrossed the United States, visiting all of the lower 48 states, enjoying National Parks and spending time with family and friends in Florida, Colorado, Texas, and Washington.  She traveled to Germany with her husband and mother for the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1990 and a few years later attended an Elderhostel in the Czech Republic.

Christine was always fascinated by words, and some of her favorite pastimes involved word games, especially Scrabble and Bananagrams. She loved playing all games and especially enjoyed the four Bs—Bridge, Bunco, Bingo and Bowling.  She also golfed well into her eighties.

She is survived by her three daughters, Valerie, Louise, and Christy; five grandchildren, Alejandro, Andres, and Isabel Abreu; Nissa Anderson; and Dylan Tvrdik; and two great-grandchildren, Solomon and Emilia Abreu and many nieces and nephews.  She was preceded in death by her son, Carl; her husbands, and her brother, Victor and sister, Bonnie.

A celebration of her life will be held next summer in Illinois, when she will be interred next to Frank at Lakewood Memorial Park in Elgin, Illinois.


  1. Jacqueline Quantz says:

    My sincere condolences on the passing of Christine. We were co-workers at Continental Can Co. for many years. She was a special lady. May she rest in peace.

  2. Missy says:

    Chris sounds like she was quite a women throughout her life…I have kind memories of the time I knew her. RIP

  3. Charline Clay Myers says:

    Val, Louise, and Christy,
    I am so very sorry to learn of your Dear Mother’s passing! I have such wonderful memories of time spent with her during a Mother’s Day Weekend at the University of ILLINOIS. May she Rest In Peace!
    OUR Condolences to the ENTIRE FAMILY!

  4. Nissa says:

    Nicely written, I learned some new things about her. I miss her.

  5. Victor Zabelka says:

    A wonderful woman who had a great love for God’s creations. She will not be forgotten with the wonderful memories I have of her.

  6. Karen Murray says:

    Chris was a very interesting woman. I was surprised at some of the things she had accomplished and the places she had been too. She will be missed.

  7. Grace says:

    I used to work at her nursing home during my senior year of high school (in 2019). She was definitely one of my favorites! I’m so sorry to hear about her passing. My thoughts and prayers go to her family!

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