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Sally Eleanor (Ortolano) Christle passed away peacefully on December 2, 2022, surrounded by her family. She was the beloved wife of Henry G. Christle, Sr. for 62 years. She is survived by her beloved husband Henry G. Christle, Sr., and two children, Linda, Henry, Jr, and Rachida, and her other constant companion, her dog, Scoobie. Sally was a woman of many gifts, and above all, she was unswervingly devoted to her husband, children, and close friends.
Sally also leaves behind two brothers, Angelo Ortolano and Dominic Ortolano, and many nieces and nephews. She was an Arlington, MA native, and a member of Arlington High School’s Class of 1957.
Sally met Henry, the love of her life, in 1960. After a whirlwind romance, they wed three months later. In their early married life, she often traveled with Henry on business trips. In 1965, theymade their home in Littleton, where they raised their two loving children. During these early years in Littleton, Sally and Henry worked tirelessly together to landscape, garden, and refinishtheir home.
She loved traveling to Kennebunk, Maine on the weekends, where she enjoyed visiting family, looking for antiques, and sipping morning coffee with a donut on Gooch’s Beach. She enjoyed playing in the (freezing) surf with her young children.
Her most cherished roles were wife, mother, and homemaker. In addition to caring for her family, she made the time and energy to work full-time as a bookkeeper for more than 20 years for the same employer.
Sally maintained lifelong friendships with Patsy and Myrna, and reminiscing of growing up in Arlington with them brought smiles to her beautiful face.
Her musical family helped cultivate in her a lifelong love of music. She played the piano and violin throughout her life and performed the violin as a member of Arlington High School’s symphony orchestra. She filled the house with piano music, which ranged from Chopin nocturnes to popular hits.
Sally loved dogs and for 50 consecutive years was a mother and grandmother to no fewer than 9 canine companions. At one point she simultaneously cared for three rambunctious terriers, who accompanied her everywhere. Sally loved cooking, baking, all manner of crafts, and knitting and crocheting. She created a famous family quilt, which evolved from an oversized sweater project.
Among Sally’s loves was her home. She enjoyed gardening and yard work, decorating, and was always working on a project or two. No project was too large or too small for her to tackle; she once refinished a baby grand piano. These projects were labors of love and a testament to her personal commitment and determination.
She was an independent and self-reliant woman. She learned to drive on primitive cars with standard transmissions and could diagnose and dry wet distributor caps, on a rainy day. She had an adventurous spirit and could occasionally be seen smiling behind the steering wheel of brightly painted 1970’s muscle cars with loud exhausts.
Sally was a patriotic and proud American. Her personal memories of World War II and the sacrifices made by many for freedoms she treasured instilled in her a love of country. One of her favorite needlework projects was her tapestry of the iconic signing of the Declaration of Independence and Memorial Day parades were an important remembrance for her. Yearly Sally could be found watching Littleton’s Memorial Day Parade from Warren Street. She helped celebrate Littleton’s Bicentennial celebrations by sewing period clothing for her children.
Sally was most happy when she could do things for others, and she was selfless in her dedication to her family. She would undertake any difficulty or personal inconvenience to make somebody else’s life easier. One of her often-heard axioms was, “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”. For a woman who did so much in her life, this was a difficult pledge to abide by, but one which she did with aplomb.
Sally was buried in a private family ceremony. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to her favorite charity, The Shadow Fund New England (www.shadowfundne.org).
Her graveside service was hald at Riverside Cemetery, Alexandria, New Hampshire.
Sally’s spirit lives on in our hearts and we are warmed every time we see her handy work decorating her home. Sally was a gift to us, whom we will love eternally.
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