Chocolate Ingredients / News / Chocolate

Christine Walthour dies at 43

B.T. McElrath’s co-founder succumbs to cancer.

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.

For more information on B.T. McElrath Chocolatier, visit  

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Candy Industry

Recent Articles by Jorona Johnson

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

A Venetian Carnival, a Jelly Belly sculpture and gourmet chocolates! Oh my!

Candy Industry takes you into the French Pastry’s School For the Love of Chocolate event in Chicago, held Feb. 25.

Candy Industry Magazine

Candy april 2015

April 2015

Take a look at Santa Cruz Nutritionals as well as previews for ECRM and PMCA!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Healthier Food Options

A recent Nielsen report shows that consumers are calling for healthier options from food manufacturers. Do you think consumers will actually buy healthier versions of their favorite candy and snacks if they’re made available?
View Results Poll Archive

Candy Industry Store

M:\General Shared\__AEC Store Katie Z\AEC Store\Images\Candy Industry\natural-food-flavors-colora.gif
Natural Food Flavors and Colorants

Although many foods are appealing, and even perceived as natural, in spite of containing synthetic additives, consumer increasingly prefer food products which are fully natural.

More Products

Candy Industry's Kettle Awards

Kettle Awards

Since 1946, Candy Industry magazine has recognized leaders in the U.S. confectionery industry with the highest recognition possible, the Kettle Award. The distinguished recipients have captured this most coveted award by not only excelling within their companies, but by contributing to the greater good of the industry. It’s virtually a who’s who of past and present professionals who have left their mark as confectioners and business mavens. Learn more about the voting process as well as the annual Kettle Awards Ceremony by visiting our Kettle Awards Website


fb40   twitter 40    youtube40    linked   Google+

Clear Seas Research

Clear SeasWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.