Cover photo for Jannell A. Christiaens's Obituary
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1958 Jannell 2017

Jannell A. Christiaens

August 20, 1958 — March 25, 2017

Jannell Anne Christiaens, age 58, went home with the Lord on March 25, 2017, due to complications of cancer.  She was surrounded by her loved ones.

Jannell was born to Ronald and Patricia Christiaens on August 30, 1958, in Conrad, Montana.  She was raised on the family farm near the Sweetgrass Hills where she made countless unforgettable memories with her eight siblings.  She attended elementary school in Oilmont through eighth grade.  In 1976, Jannell graduated from North Toole County High School in Sunburst.  Following graduation, she went on to study at Northern Montana College in Havre.  Eventually moving back to North Toole County, she worked as a secretary for Northern Telephone Cooperative in Sunburst for several years.  In October 1980, she married Dave Whitt, and they bought a home in Kevin.  They started their family together in 1985 when they adopted a baby girl, Richelle.  After losing twin baby girls prematurely in 1986, they were blessed with their daughter, Ronni, in 1987.  Jannell and Dave owned and operated an oilfield construction company for nearly 20 years.  Though they ultimately decided to separate, they remained devoted to their daughters.  In 1999, Jannell began her career with Kevin Distributing where she dedicated the past 18 years of her life.  She also served as an EMT on the Toole County Ambulance crew and touched the lives of many in the community.  Jannell will be remembered for her selflessness, strong will, and compassionate soul.  While raising her family in Kevin, Jannell opened her heart and home to all of the neighborhood kids and was considered a second mom to many.  She was born to be a mother.  It was her true passion, rivaled only by her devotion as a grandmother.  Jannell glowed with pride in the presence of her grandchildren and each time she spoke of them.  She enjoyed planting flowers with her grandkids, tending to her yard, camping, football, softball, and was an avid reader.  Her faith in God meant a great deal to her and carried her throughout her life.

Preceding Jannell in death are her father, Ronald, and twin baby daughters, Gena and Jeannette.  She leaves behind her mother and stepfather, Patricia and Delbert Christiaens; daughters Richelle Whitt and Ronni (Jeff) Gray; sisters Rhonda (Don) Dart, Kathy (Matthew) Foster, Kerry (Dan) Ball, Kelli (Glynn) Reed, Jodi (Mark) Reynolds, Amy (Shannon) Sanderson, and Maria Christiaens; brothers Allyn (Char) Christiaens, David (Christine) Christiaens, Patrick Christiaens, Brian (Shelly) Christiaens, and Joel (Mary) Christiaens; grandsons Payton and Ryan Gray; granddaughters Alyx Knickerbocker and Eva Gray, and many beloved nieces and nephews.

Please join us in honoring Jannell’s life beginning with a rosary/vigil service at St. Williams Catholic Church in Shelby on Thursday, March 30, at 7:00 pm.  Her funeral service will also take place there on Friday, March 31, at 11:00 a.m.  A reception will follow at the Coyote Club in Shelby.  She will be laid to rest after the reception at the North Toole County Cemetery.

Memorials in Jannell’s honor can be made to the Toole County Health Foundation to help bring chemotherapy infusion services to residents of Shelby and the surrounding area.  Donations may be made by following this link ( or by mail to Toole County Health Foundation, Attn: Jamie Brownell, PO Box 990, Shelby, MT 59474.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jannell A. Christiaens, please visit our flower store.


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