Christine (“Chris”) Anne Ogden of Cortland, New York, passed away peacefully while under the care of Ithaca Hospicare on April 29, 2022. A memorial to celebrate her life will be held later this year.
Chris was born on June 10, 1943 in Jamaica, New York, the daughter of Margaret Kroetz and William Frimmel. Her father died one month before she was born and she went to live with her grandparents, Margarete and Andrew Kroetz, until she was seven years old. She then moved to be with her mother, older brother Jim and step-father in Dryden, New York, where she attended the local schools and graduated from Dryden High School. She did her undergraduate studies at Cornell University and after graduating, married John Deason Ogden Jr. of Ithaca in 1965 and the two joined the Peace Corps (1965-67), teaching in Liberia, West Africa.
Chris gave birth to her first son, Curtis, in 1969, in Buffalo, New York, where John was pursuing his doctoral degree and then her second son, Benjamin (“Eric”) in Flint, Michigan, where John had accepted a teaching position in 1972. In addition to being a loving mother to her children, Chris was passionate about teaching and education. She taught in the Mott Adult High School program in Flint, as well as at the Kennedy Center. During John’s teaching sabbatical at Omar Bongo University in Libreville, Gabon in Central Africa (1981-82), Chris taught English at the American International School and had both of her sons as students. Upon returning to the States, she helped to start the Flint Children’s Museum and eventually completed a Master’s program in the School of Education at Michigan State University. John accepted a job at SUNY-Cortland in 1990, and Chris taught in various adult education programs (GED, ESL) in the area, including BOCES and TC3. She also taught yoga classes and was moderator of the Unitarian Cobblestone Church of Cortland.
She loved nature and wildlife (especially birds), the many family cats over the years, music (especially singing), art, yoga, her family (including her husband of 47 years who passed away in 2012), her many students, and often reminded those around her of the importance of kindness and “saving a place for joy.”
Chris is survived by her two sons, Eric Ogden of Brooklyn, NY, and Curtis Ogden of Amherst, MA; three grandchildren, Annabel Rose, Elizabeth Reed and Madeleine Waltz Ogden; and three siblings, Jacqueline Dienstag of Chicago, IL, Charlie DeGroff of Reno, NV, and Jim DeGroff of Whitehouse Station, NJ.
In lieu of sending flowers, donations can be made to Lime Hollow Nature Center, 338 McLean Road, Cortland, NY 13045. 607-662-4632 or www.limehollow.org
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