Christine M. Pistaki


1919 – 2014

FALMOUTH — Christine M. (Bak) Pistaki died peacefully at her residence at Falmouth By the Sea on Tuesday morning, Dec. 30, surrounded by her loving family.

Christine was born in Lewiston on March 5, 1919, to her Polish immigrant parents Tekla (Smyc) and Ignacy Bak. Christine was the oldest of three children. She attended school and grew up in Lewiston, where she was a member of the Women’s Eagles Club of Lewiston. As a member of the club, she enjoyed skating outings, social events and the week-long annual trip to Old Orchard Beach.

She met her future her husband, Michael P. Pistaki of Portland at The Pier at Old Orchard Beach while dancing to the big band tunes of Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman. She and Mike were married at St. Patrick’s Church in Lewiston on June 22, 1940. They raised three daughters: Pat, Judy and Nancy.

Christine was a women’s libber before such a concept was popular. While Mike was away working in construction, building bridges throughout New England, she raised her family, managed the household and assumed responsibilities traditionally assigned to the male head of household. She was always an independent, strong and resourceful woman, successfully managing without the modern technology we enjoy today.

Christine was a lifelong learner. She loved to read; she faithfully read the Portland Press Herald every day. She enjoyed biographies and magazines, and was current on all local and world events. For her entire life, she was intellectually curious, enjoying stories and photographs from her daughters’ adventures around the world.

She enjoyed traveling, too. Christine and Mike enjoyed a lot of trips, including San Francisco, Las Vegas, Hawaii, Florida, Chicago and New York, and numerous college trips to see her children and grandchildren.

Christine was a very proud woman. She demonstrated this in her dress and her home. She was always dressed to the nines and traditionally so, always in a skirt or a dress and always with a coordinating bracelet, necklace and earrings. Her home was impeccably clean, orderly and in current décor.

Her family enjoyed many a delicious dish of her making — blueberry dumplings, Polish food, chop suey and tapioca pudding. She enjoyed shopping, playing games with her children and grandchildren and going out to lunch — nary was there an early bird special that she wasn’t aware of. Above all, she loved to laugh, and the family will cherish those memories.

She was extremely proud of her three daughters and grandchildren and their many accomplishments. She and Mike believed in the importance of a strong education, and were determined that all of their children would pursue higher education. She adored her family and they made her life complete.

She is survived by her daughters, Patricia J. Marshall and husband, Norman “Gus,” of York Harbor and Barefoot Bay, Fla., Judith P. Zelisko and husband, Paul, of Lake Forest, Ill., and Nancy P. Chard and husband, Tom, of Portland; granddaughters, Shelby L. Marshall and her partner, Gail Hanson, of Westborough, Mass., and Wells and Lindsay A. Chard of Washington, D.C.; great-granddaughter, Graysen E. Hanson-Marshall; and a niece, Lynn Bak, of Yarmouth.

She was predeceased by her parents; her husband of 60 years; brothers, Joseph Bak and Stanley Bak; and a niece, Lisa Bak.

For further information and to send a tribute in Christine’s memory, please visit