Albuquerque Journal - February 4, 2003
Christine Bilberry, 82, of Santa Fe. Services will be held 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 4, 2003 at Wheeler Mortuary Chapel in Portales, NM. Burial will follow in the Portales Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Tom Chandler, John Bilberry, Sean Bilberry, Terry Hill, Jay Hill, Steve Green, and Bill Heineken. Her nieces and nephews will act as honorary Pallbearers. Plans for a Memorial Service to be held in Santa Fe will be announced at a later date. Mrs. Bilberry was born June 30, 1920, in Goree, TX, to the home of Mary Frances and William Jefferson Lovorn. The Lovorn family moved to the Portales area from Goree, TX in November 1923, in a large caravan of wagons, people on horse back, cars and trucks, along with all of their household goods and livestock. They formed a family commune south of Portales, and cooked for the area broomcorn workers. When she was in grade school, Christine moved into Portales to go to school, and lived most of the time with her oldest sister. In February 1938, she was married to Homer Carroll Johnson. This union resulted in three children. Mr. Johnson was killed in action on the Island of Luzon on May 13, 1945. In February 1948 she was married to Ted Bilberry. In 1953, they moved to Santa Fe to make their home until 1971 when they moved back to Portales. Mr. Bilberry died in 1976. In 1985, Christine moved back to Santa Fe to live, and had made her home there since that time. Mrs. Bilberry was a member of the First Baptist Church in Portales. At the age of 59, she began bowling, and this became her passion. She belonged to the American Women's Bowling Association, and had been a contestant in numerous area tournaments and several national finals. Christine had won a large number of trophies through the years. She was an avid sports fan and especially was devoted to the Atlanta Braves and the UNM Lobos Basketball teams. Another of her activities was dancing. She and Mr. Bilberry were accomplished dancers and even competed in dance contests, several of which they had won. Traveling was a joy for her, and it seemed she was always going somewhere. In later years, her yard took much of her energies and she loved to care for her 30 or so rose bushes, her irises, her lilac bushes and her snowball bushes. She also crocheted numerous afghans, enjoyed reading and loved to play Canasta and '42. For the past year she had been living at Rosemont Assisted Living Center in Santa Fe. Survivors include four sons, Thomas Lee Johnson of Albuquerque, Don Bilberry of Bosque Farms, NM, Monty Bilberry of Los Alamos and Ted Bilberry of South Fork, CO; three daughters, Carroll Jean Curry of Clayton, NM, Donna Padilla of Santa Fe, and Debbie Mayhon also of Santa Fe; nine grandchildren; four step-grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers, Willie, Walt, Tom and Jody Lovorn; and six sisters, Uhland Gilland, Rosa Lee Griffin, Dollie Pippin, Flora Luttrell, Jack Carter and Delmer Ellison; as well as a grandson; and a great-grandson; and her two husbands, Homer Johnson and Ted Bilberry.