Christina Maria Mohler

July 24th, 1966May 27th, 2021

Christina Maria Mohler (Major, US Air Force, Retired) passed away at her home in Superior, CO on Thursday, May 27, 2021. 

Tina was born July 24, 1966 in Chicago, IL and grew up in the south Chicago suburbs of Orland Park and Mokena. Her path was never an easy one, and her life story, on a personal level anyway, reveals the rewards of perseverance, grit, and uncompromising integrity and love in the face of adversity.  She endured a childhood bully in an era when bullying was seldom addressed, and she found her identity as a gay teenager, when being gay was unquestionably not acceptable.  She faced many obstacles and was told “no” more times than we will ever know in her pursuit of what she knew to be right.  Through it all, Tina forged her way forward following an internal compass that led her to fiercely fight for her education, her Air Force career, and eventually the thing she never thought she would have - her own little family.

Tina graduated from Lincoln-Way High School in 1983, earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1989, and a Master of Arts in Human Resources Development from Webster University in 2000.  She was commissioned as an Air Force Lieutenant through the US Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) at SIU Carbondale in 1990 and served a distinguished (though often beleaguered) career with assignments at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK, McChord AFB in Tacoma WA, and Randolph AFB in San Antonio TX, before separating from active duty at the rank of Major in 2001.  It was at McChord AFB that Tina’s leadership and teaching strengths really shone through when the Quality Air Force initiative and Total Quality Management (TQM) program was introduced in the Air Force in the mid-1990s.  She began to be recognized for her mastery of TQM concepts, and her ability to teach and advise some of the Air Force’s most senior leaders gave her some high-profile opportunities and put her on a path to developing curriculum for the whole Air Force at the Quality & Innovation Agency at Randolph AFB.  During her time in San Antonio, Tina also studied organizational development and earned a related master’s degree, but sadly, the momentum of the Quality movement was coming to an end in the Air Force and the office changed its focus, much to her disappointment.  During this time in Texas, Tina and her partner, Judi, who was also an Air Force officer, welcomed their son, Finn, in 2000.  Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, it became clear that one of them would have to leave active duty to be able to keep their undercover family together, so they made the difficult decision for Tina to be the one to separate.  After a move to Montgomery, AL and the birth of their son, Max, in 2002, Tina was able to rejoin the Air Force Reserves as an Instructor at Commissioned Officer Training School.  Teaching was her true calling.  She served the remainder of her twenty-year military career in the Air Force Reserves, with annual summer tours of duty as an Instructor at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery and the Air Force Academy Prep School in Colorado Springs where she continued teaching officer candidates after the family’s move from Virginia to Colorado in 2005.

Tina was completely authentic.  She was passionate, kind and endlessly generous.  She poured her whole heart and soul into everything she did, but especially into parenting and loving her family and friends.  Anyone who knows her will tell you that she was a woman who put integrity, service, and love above all else.  She believed in working hard and playing hard and would never settle for ‘good enough’.  This often made her seem like a tough critic, but she held herself to the highest standard of all and was selflessly and tirelessly driven to coax the very best out of everyone in her life.  Because, she would say, that was “the only way to get to the fun”.  She had a very mischievous sense of fun and always had the best ideas for how to make life special and better for those around her. 

Tina understood leadership concepts in her very bones.  She was born to lead and born to mentor and teach.  In the final years of her military career and after retirement, Tina was able to combine her great love for teaching and leadership with her great love for kids and fun!  She progressed through jobs as Summer Camp Director and then Children’s Department Director at a local athletic club, then moved on to studying Early Childhood Education (ECE) and worked as a pre-school science teacher and summer camp director, eventually earning her ECE Director’s Certificate.  This last job teaching 3–5-year-olds was probably the one she loved the most.

In her work as an Officer Training Instructor, as a leader/mentor to her young camp staff and campers, and as a pre-school teacher, she fundamentally impacted and influenced more lives than can be counted, but this is only part of her legacy.  She was above all the leader of her little family; the team that she had co-created against the odds.  She loved her family without reserve, and it is her legacy as a parent that she can be most proud of.

Tina is survived by her sons, Finn and Max Murray; her spouse, Judi Murray; her parents, Karin and Philip Mohler; her brother, John Mohler; her uncle, aunt, nieces and nephew.  She leaves many good friends who have been a great help and comfort to her and her family during her illness.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to TRU Community Care, Susan G. Komen, Breastcancer.org, or the American Cancer Society.

Services

There will be a memorial service at Christ The Servant Lutheran Church at a future date.

Cemetery

None

Location

None

Church

None

Condolences

Our deepest condolences to Judi, Finn and Max, and Tina’s family. We remember Tina as very kind and thoughtful with a great sense of humour and a zest for life. We had such a wonderful time with Judi and Tina and baby Finn in Texas in 2000 and cherish our memories of this trip. Ana Paula and Steve Schaper
Our deepest sympathies to Judi, Finn, Max and Tina’s family. Tina was such a lovely person, so kind and welcoming. We know that she will be deeply missed and our thoughts are with you all at this sad time. Molly and Carlos
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