Chris Christensen July 6, 1920 – Feburary 16, 2011
Chris Christensen went to be with the Lord on February 16, 2011. He passed away from a brief illness at Clearview Home in Mount Ayr, Iowa. He was born July 6, 1920 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was adopted by loving parents Anna Bertha and Otto Waldemar Christensen. He was greeted at home by a loving sister, two years older and also adopted. Both babies were adopted into and raised in the Mormon faith. He was a wonderful son who loved to play sports. He especially excelled in football. He graduated from South high school in 1938, Salt Lake City, Utah. He was an honor student and especially excelled, also, in basketball, skiing and pole vaulting but football was his favorite.
He went to Myrtle Beach, California with his mother and worked in the ship yards for a short time and then was soon inducted into the United States Army August 7, 1942. He served at Camp Dix, New Jersey and Fort Bliss, Texas. He was army trained as a medical technician with the 38th Infantry Regiment. Chris was with the 2nd Division and his embarkation point was from Fort Dix, New Jersey. About four months before being shipped overseas, he met his beautiful wife, Charlotte Milton, introduced to him by her sister, Phyllis, in Saint Paul, Minnesota where both sisters were living and working in a big hospital. Char was still pursuing her dental profession. In September of 1943 Chris married his beautiful bride, Charlotte Milton, and the two of them began a wonderful life together. He was a corporal in the medical detachment and was sent to Ireland. During his brief stay in Ireland, he was very proud to be chosen to play in the ‘Potato Bowl,’ quite an honor. He fought in WWII as his company was sent to France and Germany. He was part of the June 7, 1944 D-Day Normandy beach invasions, landing on Omaha Beach. He also fought in the 1944-1945 Battle of the Bulge. He served a total of 26 months and during this time he was awarded several medals, four battle stars which one included the Silver Medal, the Bronze Star, for his exemplary conduct in ground combat and two Purple Hearts, due to huge bomb explosions. He was flown to England for recuperation. After recovery, he was sent back into action with his 2nd division where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. Chris froze both feet to the point that they considered amputation, but he recovered.
After the war was over, he was sent back to the United States still, with black moss on his feet. Char’s mother said, ‘I see a big #10 over Chris’s head and I don’t know why. War was over on D-Day June 5, 1945. Chris got back into the United States. Waiting to hear from him and the big #10 showed up! He was the 10th man, the 10th day of the month and the #10 month, October, and Char received her Western Union Telegram at 10:15 a.m. Char headed for Marshalltown, Iowa. Chris arrived! They stayed with Char’s parents in Ackley, Iowa for a month so that Chris could continue to recuperate.
Upon recuperation, Chris and Char decided to go to Iowa Falls or Des Moines, Iowa to seek employment. He went to work for Magneto Carburetor and Electric and thus started his automotive career. He worked a week on the counter and his boss came in and said, ‘Chris, you are a born salesman and I am going to put you out on the road, calling on our old customers and seeking new ones.’ Shortly after a rep from General Motors came along and employed him covering four states. He stayed with them and another promotion was offered. It entailed moving to Denver. Chris and Char decided to stay in Des Moines and start a business partnership in the wholesale automotive business.
They began their family in 1948 with a daughter, then a son and then another daughter. Chris loved being a dad and a family man and had a love for dogs. As the kids grew up, Chris got very involved in coaching/managing little league baseball. His desire to teach good ethics to young people carried through for seven years of coaching the Fort Des Moines Tigers little league team, taking them to within one game of state champs. He continued his love for the kids and the importance of education by becoming an avid component of ‘Build Lincoln Higher,’ an organization of Abraham Lincoln high school in Des Moines, Iowa.
Chris was very involved with his son Dan’s sports and was an eager participant of horseback riding with his daughters, Susie and Judy. Chris was a devoted husband and cherished his wife, Charlotte, and raised his family with great love. He was a member of the Lions Club, VFW and American Legion and many other Organizations. Chris also taught adult Bible school studies at Airport Baptist Church. He was always very involved and very active in church activities. Chris never met a stranger. With many moves in his married years, he always found a great church for the family to attend. Chris became a regional sales manager for A/C Spark Plug division of General Motors and Black Hawk. Before and upon retirement, Chris took many trips with his wife to Florida, Alaska, California and Old Mexico and all points in-between. Chris loved his music, also. For many years Chris was a member of a kitchen band and Charlie’s Revue. Chris loved his harmonicas and played them at hospitals, nursing homes, the Iowa State Fair and various and numerous functions. His Signature song was ‘I’ll Fly Away.’ Chris loved his family, lived life, enjoyed all people, was fond of all animals and truly loved the Lord. He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Charlotte, on June 28, 2010.
He leaves behind his daughter and son-in-law, Susie and Larry Bridell, of Ore City, Texas; his son, Dan Christensen, of Gurnee, Illinois; his daughter and son-in-law, Judy and John Weddle of Creston, Iowa; five grandchildren; two great-grandchildren, and many wonderful nieces, nephews and friends.
A memorial fund has been established to the Tingley Cemetery.
Services were conducted at Watson-Armstrong Funeral Home in Mount Ayr on Saturday, February 19, 2011, with Rev. Doug Rohrer officiating. Musical selections were ‘The Lord’s Prayer,’ ‘Amazing Grace,’ ‘How Great Thou Art,’ ‘The Old Man’ and ‘I’ll Fly Away.’
Casket bearers included Dan Christensen, Larry Bridell, Chris Baker, Troy Dunning, Dr. Dan Weddle and Lloyd Miller.
Military Honors were conducted by Ringgold Post #172 and Iowa Honor Guard Unit.
Chris was laid at rest in the Tingley Cemetery in Tingley.