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Ida J. Christie, pianist, flutist, involved with BPO

Feb. 23, 1920 – Sept. 7, 2105

Ida J. Christie, a key figure in Buffalo’s classical music scene, died Sept. 7 after a long illness in Beechwood Homes, Getzville. She was 95.

Mrs. Christie was born in North Bergen, N.J., and graduated from Bennett High School.

A pianist and flutist, she received a full scholarship to Oberlin College. However, as the oldest of six children growing up during the Depression, she needed to stay home to earn money to support the family.

She played the piano in various Buffalo establishments, and worked at Denton, Cottier and Daniels, a Buffalo piano and organ retailer, for many years.

Mrs. Christie also served as choir director from 1953 to 1965 in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Williamsville.

She had a long and distinguished involvement with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.

She was a life member of the board of trustees, chairwoman of the women’s committee, vice president of the executive board and the first woman to head the annual fund drive – a drive she headed for many years. She also was named 1978 Woman of the Year, co-chaired a major gift campaign to keep the orchestra operating during a period of financial uncertainty in the early 1990s, and was a lifelong supporter and financial contributor.

“My mom was the grande dame of the orchestra. She fought in her life to keep the BPO in existence,” said Cheryl Christie, her daughter.

Today, the William & Ida Christie Fund for Music, administered by the Community Foundation, supports young area musicians and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra Education Department.

She was married to William Christie, who died in 2003. They spent much of their life together in Williamsville and South Wales.

Mrs. Christie donated her grand piano to the Buffalo Academy for Visual & Performing Arts. She also purchased a complete set of musical instruments for a Buffalo elementary school.

Mrs. Christie also was a Buffalo Bills fan since 1960 and held season tickets for 53 years.

She was a member of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include two sons, William and Gary; a sister, Marilyn McCormick; and one grandchild.

Services were private.

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