Christine Walthour
Christine E. Walthour

Resilient and hardworking in a business she taught herself, Christine Walthour — together with her husband — helped establish B.T. McElrath Chocolatier as a leading premium artisanal chocolate house in the confectionery industry.

Walthour, co-founder of B.T. McElrath Chocolatier, died Jan. 2 after a long battle with breast cancer. Walthour was 43.

Originally pursuing a career in interior design, Walthour switched gears when she met her husband, Brian McElrath. In 1997, after discovering a closed General Mills research lab in Minneapolis, the couple launched B.T. McElrath Chocolatier, an award-winning chocolate company.

While McElrath developed signature pieces for their brand, Walthour took control as chief financial officer. One of Walthour’s most significant achievements in the role happened in 2008. When the company needed to separate from an investment partnership, it was Walthour’s organizational skills, financial insight and drive that made it possible.

McElrath says without her, they would have never gotten full ownership of the business back.

“The fact that she was mostly self-taught makes it even more impressive,” he says.

As the brand developed, Walthour made sure every B.T. McElrath product had bold flavors and unique packaging — traits the company was known for — from the signature truffles to the line of chocolate bars the brand launched in 2009.

In addition to her husband, Walthour is survived by their six-year-old son, Guillermo.

A memorial was held for Walthour on Jan 13th at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, all contributions be made via the Christine E. Walthour Memorial at any Twin Cities-area Bremer Bank.

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