Christine V. (Summa) Lehman, of LaPorte, Indiana left this world January 13, 2022 at LaPorte Regional Medical Center. She was 78 years young.
Born January 29, 1943 in Hazard County, Kentucky to Homer and Myrtle (Fields) Begley, Chris was the sixth of seven children. She moved to North Judson, Indiana with her family as a young child and graduated from North Judson High School in 1960. On May 16th, 1964 at the Methodist Church in Knox, Indiana she married Ernest R. Summa who preceded her in death on April 23, 1973 in a fatal car accident. Together they had a daughter Kelly (Summa) Hoffmaster who survives with her husband Gordon in Michigan City, Indiana.
Chris and Ernie lived in a small cottage on Bass Lake, Indiana where Chris learned to water ski even though she couldn’t swim. She absolutely loved lake life, sunning on the pier, boating and water skiing, and spending time with family. Once their daughter arrived, they moved to a house in town in Knox but still spent many hours at the lake at Ernie’s parents’ Ted and Edna Pulla‘s home. Edna and Chris had a very close relationship and she called her Mom.
Chris raised her daughter as a single mother in the 1970s in LaPorte at a time when women’s rights were much less than they are today. She worked as a secretary at Whirlpool for a time and, wanting more for herself and her daughter, she took a better paying labor position at National Can Corp. in La Porte, retiring as a palletizer operator after nearly 30 years of service. There were many challenges for a woman working in a factory at that time, especially for a pretty, petite 5ft 1-and-a-half-inch spitfire like Chris. But she was always a strong and determined. She was a survivor and nothing was going to stop her from making a better life for her daughter.
After she retired and not being one to sit still, she then studied and became a licensed real estate agent, working for First Choice Realty Group in La Porte. She loved helping people find their home and she made many dear and lasting friendships along the way. Pam Zolvinski, whom she met at the agency, was a devoted friend and a true blessing in her life. Another special lady Carla (Kenny) Blodgett remained her best friend for more than 50 years. They were like sisters and she was “Aunt Chris” to their children and grandchildren. And she was forever grateful for the love and friendship of Ann Hubbner and Debbie Mahlka.
Chris loved music, especially Elvis. And she enjoyed her sports cars, owning three Cameros in her lifetime. She loved her many pet dogs over the years and she enjoyed reading and traveling. She was a beautiful woman with an amazing sense of style and flair. She lit up a room with her smile, her wit, and her love for life and everything and everyone in it. Seeing the ones, she loved happy brought her the most joy. She lived life her way on her terms. And more than anything in this world, she loved her daughter.
In addition to her daughter and dear friends, Chris is survived by two sisters, Jean (Daniel) Allen of Knox, Indiana, Margie (Larry) Delli of Rochester, Indiana, two brothers Russell (the late Phyllis) Begley of North Judson, Indiana, and Charles (Fran) Begley of Knox, Indiana. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews whom she loved dearly. She was preceded in death by two brothers Dan Begley and Benton Begley, as well as her parents. In the mid-1990s she was briefly married to Bill Lehman who survives in Westville, Indiana. She leaves behind her closest companion, her most beloved Aussie, Cooper.
Per her final wishes, cremation has taken place and her ashes will remain with her daughter until a Memorial Service is held at a later date at which time her ashes will be interned. Lakeview Funeral Home and Crematory in La Porte is handling the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, Chris would be pleased if you’d make donations to your local animal shelter.