Christine Marie “Tina” Ham, 67, passed away peacefully on Jan. 15, 2020 at her home, surrounded by family, after a courageous battle with progressive supranuclear palsy.
Christine “Tina” Grant was born on March 23, 1952 in Framingham, Massachusetts to Mary Marjorie (Foley) and William E. Grant. She was the youngest of five; the only redhead in the family - and her brothers and sisters Sue, Bill, Ellen and John, loved to tease her about that, especially since the milkman also happened to have had red hair! As the youngest girl in a large family, she claimed to have been spoiled as well as having gotten away with all kinds of things that her siblings never would have attempted. She grew up in Hopedale and attended school there - she was both an all-star softball catcher as well as a member of the All-State chorus.
After high school, she attended Newton-Wellesley Nursing School, which is where she met and friended her future sister-in-law, Becky. At some point during their senior year, Becky and friend Denise, brought Tina home to Boothbay during one of their breaks. During their trip, Becky handed Tina a photo album and told her that “women were scarce in Boothbay in the winter” so she basically could have her choice of any single man in the album! She quickly chose Steve, and to no one’s surprise, the picture that she stopped on was one of him holding his small son, Robbie. Steve believed it was because he was one handsome devil, but the rest of us know the real story - Tina was always a sucker for kids, babies, you name it - they were always drawn to her caring, nurturing personality. As the story goes, Steve pretended to not be thrilled with his sister’s attempted “set up,” but in reality, we know that he really didn’t mind being paired with an intelligent, gorgeous woman who welcomed his son with open arms. She soon graduated, became an RN, and moved to the Harbor with Becky and Denise. On June 15, 1974 Steve and Tina were married and the rest is history.
In addition to her coveted role as stepmom to little Robbie, Tina gave birth to three daughters, Heather Delia (d. 8/2/1976), Katie Constance (b. 11/2/1977), and Heidi Marjorie (b. 7/12/1982.) Tina was also a proud aunt to Paul, Monica, Faithanne, Suzanne, Amy, Bridget, Eric, Stephen, and Brian - and when each of them were born, she would rush down to help care for them in their early days. She was also a “surrogate” mom to many of her daughters’ friends over the years, there were few that met her that didn’t quickly feel like they were an extension to the family.
Her second most coveted role, after “Mum,” was being a nurse. She began her career in long-term care working at what she and her colleagues lovingly called “the old” Gregory Wing which at that time was over at St. Andrews Hospital. She made many dear friends in this role, Nancy, Olma, Mickey — just to name a few — and they worked hard and loved being a part of residents and families’ lives striving to change what “nursing homes’ were thought to be.
Tina was a resident advocate, and a compassionate caring nurse who always went above and beyond to make the needs and wishes of her residents become a reality. She was a quiet, loving person, but could become a tiger unleashed when fighting for what was right and what her residents really needed. Many a doctor could well attest to ‘the force to be reckoned with” she could become when needed!
Tina was a major player in successfully relocating the “old” Gregory Wing to the “new” St. Andrews Village and made sure with planning and help that every resident had an escort, and when they entered their new environment, chicken soup was cooking on the stove and a warm welcome awaited all! Tina’s career in long-term care also included: Skilled Director at Sedgewood Commons in Yarmouth, Midcoast Hospital Senior Center, Coves Edge, and most recently Resident Care Director at the Harborview Cottage of the Lincoln Home.
Everywhere Tina went, she brought her passion for resident quality of life and advocacy. She was loved and respected by all her peers, residents, and their families. Tina quietly mentored many staff members - always having an ear to listen and was more than willing to share wisdom and guidance when asked. Tina often said her family had a standing joke asking not to make eye contact with people when out in public because she would end up knowing their life stories and then trying to help - she just had that aura about her. Tina loved her family beyond all things, and she also loved music (although not so much country) she often said, “If I die and I hear country and western music at my funeral I’ll know I went to hell!” Her all-time favorite had to have been Barry Manilow - she, Steve and the girls attended probably close to a dozen of his concerts over the years - her last concert this past February was his Vegas show and Tina was in her glory!
Tina had a strong faith and shared that her mother had once said that our bodies are like wearing a heavy winter coat and when we die our spirit gets to take off that coat and be free.
Through her many years of nursing, Tina was often at the bedside of many dying residents. She was a trailblazer in changing our culture of end of life care. She never let anyone die alone and always made the environment peaceful, loving, and respectful, she believed that death, just-like birth, is a sacred time.
She is survived by her husband Steve; children Robbie (and wife Margaret), Katie (and partner John), and Heidi; brothers William and John; sister Ellen; sisters-in-law Susie (and husband Steve) and Becky (and husband Bruce); grandchildren Robyn (and husband Chris), Elizabeth, Amelia and Sylas; seven nieces and nephews, their spouses, and many great nieces and nephews. A celebration of life is tentatively planned for the spring. Donations in Tina’s name can be made to the Boothbay Region Ambulance Service, P.O. Box 280, Boothbay, ME 04537.
Hall’s of Boothbay has care of the arrangements. To extend online condolences, please visit hallfuneralhomes.com