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Christine “Chris” Apffel, 90, passed into everlasting life joining her beloved Erv and other family members on the 24th of January, 2024. Her rich and rewarding life was filled with family, friends, smiles, laughter, elegance and grace. She leaves behind a beautiful legacy of great warmth and kindness toward all.
Chris was born in Wharton, Texas on January 5, 1934 to Lowell Charles Matthews, Sr. and Willie Victoria Matthews. Her father’s career in the oil fields took her family to a number of towns and cities including Opelousas and Port Bary, Louisiana and the Texas towns of Lane City, Raymondville, Lyford, Rio Grande Valley, Yorktown and Cuero. She attended seven different schools, graduating from Cuero High School in 1952 where she was voted school “favorite.” Chris loved acting and played the leading role as Agatha Reed in the senior play “Goodbye My Fancy.” In her younger years she loved horseback riding and acting in one act plays. She also enjoyed playing softball and remembered with great fondness playing on the “Valley Champs” team while living in Lyford.
The next chapter in Chris’s life brought her to Galveston and the School of Nursing at the University of Texas Medical Branch. There she met the love of her life, Erv, who had just been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. Erv began affectionately calling her “Chicken” while they were dating. It was a nickname that they would continue to call each other for the rest of their lives. They were married in 1955 by Father J.J. Ruddy at St. Patrick Catholic Church. Their “storybook” love affair continued for 61 years until Erv’s death in 2015. They were blessed with 6 children, 13 grandchildren and their spouses along with 15 great-grandchildren.
Chris focused all her love and care on raising her children. They were her pride and joy and she cherished them more than life itself. She was the true matriarch of her family. Her happiness in life came from spending time with her family and friends and she adored her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The highlight of each year was her “Camp Grammy” when she would invite her grandchildren and great-grandchildren to come and spend as many days as they could with her. A cherished family memory was when she was chosen “Mother of the Year” from letters written by her six children in a Mother’s Day Contest sponsored by “Norma’s.”
Chris and Erv’s Galveston home in the Crash Boat Basin along with their E.A. Ranch in South Texas were the centerpieces of family life. Fellowship, friendship, games, storytelling, great food, fishing, hunting and other outdoor adventures were all enjoyed there. It was in these settings that generations of family and friends were lovingly exposed to thoughtfulness and kindness, the beauty of nature, and the importance of being good conservationists. Grammy treasured family Christmases, and had a special touch for making them warm and festive! She was also an avid Houston Astros fan throughout her life. She rarely missed a televised game and cheered them on not just during their championship seasons but during their losing years as well. In addition to her Astros, Chris loved watching her grandchildren follow their passions. Whether it was sports, dance, cooking, or any other endeavor, she was their number one cheerleader.
Chris was preceded in death by her husband Ervin A. Apffel, Jr.; her parents, father-in-law and mother-in-law Ervin A. and Angelina Apffel; brother Lowell Charles Matthews, Jr. as well as sisters Faye Clapsaddle and Mary Logsdon; first grandson Joseph Guarino and brother-in-law R.A. Apffel.
Our beloved “Grammy” is survived by her six children: Jeannie Guarino and husband Mike, Ervin A. “Trey” Apffel, III and wife Karen, Pat Whittington and husband Miles, Pam Del Papa, Darrell Apffel and wife Pam, and Christi Landry and husband Andy; her thirteen grandchildren: Sarah Apffel Cegelski and husband Jeff, Kelley Guarino Caballero and husband Buster, Katherine “Kate” Apffel Boyd and husband Trey, Ross Apffel and wife Jennifer, Blake Apffel and wife Tara, Caylin Del Papa Wiebe and husband Weston, Kaleb Apffel and wife Callie, Lawrence J. “L.J.” Del Papa, III and wife Meredith, Moore Whittington, Mary Alex Apffel McWilliams and husband Andrew, Marlee Whittington, Kirby Jane Landry and Andre “Boots” Landry, IV; great-grandchildren: Calvin Cegelski, Julian Cegelski, Stella Cegelski, Phillip “Pip” Caballero, August “Gus” Caballero, Ellis Caballero, Brooke Boyd, Kennedy Grace Apffel, Sutton Apffel, Kase Apffel, Palmer Apffel, Stetson Apffel, Banks Apffel, Holland McWilliams and Lawrence J. “Dru” Del Papa, IV; and sister-in-law Selena Apffel, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Serving as pallbearers will be Chris’s six grandsons: Ross, Blake, Kaleb, L.J., Moore and Boots. Honorary pallbearers will be her granddaughters: Sarah, Kelley, Kate, Caylin, Mary Alex, Marlee and Kirby Jane, and special friends: Randy Lee, Bob Shattuck, Tomasa Crear, Anna Boyd, Jane Williamson, John Parsley, Paul Anthony and George Biggers.
Visitation will be held on Monday, February 5, 2024 at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1010 35th Street, Galveston, Texas from 9:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M., followed by a Mass of Christian Burial. Interment will follow at Calvary Catholic Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Galveston Island Meals On Wheels, 2803 53rd Street, Galveston, Texas 77551, Ronald McDonald House, 301 14th Street, Galveston, Texas 77550, St. Patrick Catholic Church, 1010 35th Street, Galveston, Texas 77550, or the charity of one’s choice.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish,
but have everlasting life.”