Cristina, 95, was born in Alice, Texas, to Maria de Jesus Rodriguez and Alberto Moreno. When Cristina was six, her mother died of tuberculosis, the family moved to Michigan. Her father, a born again Christian, had a ministry to the migrant workers where young Cristina would play the accordion. After graduating from Mt. Pleasant High School, she attended Central Michigan University where she met her future husband, Bernard Manker Jr. She graduated with a teaching degree and began her career in Bay City.
Cristina’s life changed dramatically when her husband landed a job with the United States Information Agency. They packed up their three children and moved to Bolivia for two years, then Nicaragua and finally to Valencia, Spain. This little migrant worker now had servants! The family traveled throughout Europe before Cristina’s husband accepted a professorship at Wabash College. Cristina continued to teach elementary school in Crawfordsville. Yielding to her yen for her family in Michigan, she accepted a principal’s position in Holland, Michigan. Cristina subsequently was promoted to bilingual director of the Holland Public Schools. Tiring of the four hour weekend commute to Crawfordsville, she bought a Cessna 150 and learned to fly. Returning permanently to Indiana after 10 years, she volunteered in the schools, served as a translator at the Pan Am Games in Indianapolis and translated at the Free Clinic.
When Cristina was in her sixties, she became a believer while watching the 700 Club. Pat Robertson said that the Lord wanted to heal a sore neck. Cristina was instantly healed. Her husband soon followed the call. Together they went on many mission trips to Central America until they were physically unable. They were founding members of the Iglesia Bautista in Crawfordsville, where Cristina played the piano for many years. With quiet determination, and great love, Cristina lead a life of service to others.
Cristina is survived by children, Hagen Manker, Bernard Manker III and Sally Bernshausen; eight grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren; sisters, Sarah Peña, Irene Seahawk, Rachael Moreno, Esther Kulhavi, Diana Smith and Naomi Stark; and brother Ruben Moreno.
She was predeceased by her husband and brother Albert Moreno,
Services will be held at 11 a.m. June 24 at First Christian Church.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Ludwig Free Clinic.