CHRISTINE LYNN CARMICHAEL, 56, OF NEW ULM, DIED PEACEFULLY SURROUNDED BY LOVED ONES ON FRIDAY, JUNE 5, 2015, IN HER HOME IN NEW ULM.
Funeral service will be 12 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, at Saint John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Ulm with Pastor Jeffrey Bovee officiating. Burial will follow at Saint Paul's Lutheran Cemetery in New Ulm.
Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, and 7:30-9 a.m. on Thursday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home, NORTH CHAPEL in New Ulm. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church.
Christine is survived by her parents, Gary and Caroline Carmichael of New Ulm; sister, and brother-in-law, Charis Carmichael Braun and Andrew Braun of Sparkill, New York; brother, and sister-in-law, Grant and Lisa (Meyer) Carmichael of Eagan; niece, Emma Carmichael; and nephews, Paul and James Carmichael. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Harold and Ernestine (Hohl) Templin and Dr. Charles and Alvina (Dunlap) Carmichael.
Christine Lynn Carmichael was born July 5, 1958 in Kenosha, Wisconsin to Gary and Caroline (Templin) Carmichael, and was baptized at Friedens Lutheran Church in Kenosha. She was a member of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Ulm.
Christine was a passionate advocate, ceaselessly working to bring beauty and comfort to people's lives through her profession in interior design. She built other people's visions, seeking the ideal environment to sustain their quality of life.
After graduating from Martin Luther Academy in 1976, she pursued studies in psychology in Rochester and finished her college education with a degree in Interior Design, Environment and Urban Studies from Mankato State University. Through thirty years of interior design and consulting - from humble bathrooms to historic renovations - her career was sustained through her constant innovation, education, compassion and commitment.
She began her career at Kay's Interiors in New Ulm. She then purchased the business, and became the owner of her own firm, Design Directions LTD, for over 24 years. Christine worked as a part of Interior Motives. She then moved her practice into her home office and carried on despite physical limitations as she transitioned from a traditional design business to a computer C.A.D. based design consulting firm, Carmichael Concepts.
Having sustained 4 hip replacements, spinal fusion and over 20 surgeries, Christine refined her focus on universal design to assure that "all of us can stay in the places we love, no matter what our age or ability." She strongly believed in maintaining a high quality of life and independence for those with limited abilities. Christine herself struggled with many health trials along with severe rheumatoid arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis, depression, hepatitis, ulcers, osteoporosis, calciphylaxis, and finally bladder cancer.
Christine served as a consultant to the Building Committee at Martin Luther College's Chapel of the Christ, and was a member of the committee working to refurbish the college's auditorium. She participated on the Design/Building Committee for the new addition at St. John's Lutheran Church and also applied her design skills to beautify the new fellowship hall at St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Christine was the first Chairperson of the Heritage Preservation Commission in New Ulm through the Chamber of Commerce, and served for 15 years to help create the state-recognized Commission existing today. She was appointed to the Governor's Residence Council for four years, and was selected as the Designer of Record for the restoration of the Dayton House in Worthington, MN.
Respecting the buildings around us as "living documents of history," she had a zeal for enlivening decrepit structures. She served on the John Lind House Association Board and spearheaded the decorative renovation of the interior; she was the Vice President on the initial Board for the Wanda Gág House, instrumental in preserving the historic value of the Gág family's Victorian home. Most recently, Christine was the Lead Interior Designer and Project Coordinator for The Grand Center for Arts and Culture, and was honored as the Designer of Record for one of the 10 Preservation Alliance Awards given to The Grand. She has published numerous articles in local publications, and appeared on the HGTV program Restore America concerning historic houses on South German Street. She and cabinetmaker John Covington were awarded 2nd Place prize for their "Arts and Crafts on a Budget" large kitchen design and 3rd Place for a Category E Bath from the Minnesota Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Christine received New Ulm's Athena Award for excellence, creativity and initiative; for her efforts to improve the quality of life for others, and for actively assisting women in realizing their full leadership potential.
Christine sought to edify her friends, family, clients, and colleagues as they worked together; noting "the very best projects are born of rich collaboration." And while her impact may be seen in the environments touched by her, her success is measured by the people that knew and loved her, who kept coming back to her for advice, for perspective, for encouragement. Her legacy will live in the lives of those who have experienced the joy of knowing someone who has shown us a way to live a meaningful life on her own terms, who desired our happiness before her own.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to WELS Missions, The Grand Center for Arts and Culture, and research for Rheumatoid Arthritis.
This article first appeared on the New Ulm Journal's website and print edition:
Carmichael Braun, Charis. "Obituary, Christine Carmichael." The Journal. 9 June 2015: www.nujournal.com. Web. 15 August 2015.