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In Memory of Don J Christensen September 3, 1922 – June 18, 2014

DonJChristensenby Judy Christensen Scott
When someone is identified as a natural leader, certain images come to mind. First thoughts are of a no-nonsense, tough-minded, dedicated and disciplined person. This description accurately fits Don J Christensen who was indeed a born manager. He will be remembered as being highly organized, practical and realistic. He was a person who always carried a strong sense of duty with him throughout his life. Possessed with traditional “old school” morals, Don was an individual who clearly communicated to those around him just who he was and what he was all about. Everyone acquainted with Don knew him as a well-respected man who was a stable force in his community.
Don was born on September 3, 1922 at his Grandpa C. N. Christensen’s home in Salt Lake City, Utah. His parents were M. J. and Hazel Christensen. Don was raised in Salt Lake City, Utah and Milford, Utah. Even as a youngster, Don learned to be objective and decisive. His faith in the principles of authority and dependability was something that he carried with him throughout his life.
As a young boy, Don was able to put his natural abilities to work. He was a bit like the sergeant of the family, helping to make sure that the others did what they should do and that they avoided those things they weren’t supposed to. In other words, he liked to organize and direct. Don was raised with five siblings. He had three brothers, Vern, Carl and Paul, and two sisters, Anne and Adele. Don had an inborn appreciation for the order in the family, allowing for the oldest members to be the most respected and to take on the most responsibility. For Don, this was a natural order of life, one he gladly embraced.
Don’s matter-of-fact attitude about most things was developed during his childhood. As a young boy, Don enjoyed being part of teams, and organizations and groups of other kids who shared similar interests. He was a Boy Scout and he played the trumpet in the band. In his spare time he liked scouting and bike riding. One of Don’s memorable achievements included being the Utah State Champion Bookkeeper.
In school, Don was as close to being a model student as one could possibly imagine. He sought to achieve perfect attendance in all of his classes. He would eagerly complete his homework, and often put in extra study time when he felt it was necessary. A logical and focused thinker, Don was always good at following directions and meeting his schedules, whether they were set by his teachers or were self-imposed. Don’s personal motto could well have been, “Do it right the first time.” Don attended Milford High School for three years and he graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1940. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. Don’s favorite classes in high school were Band and Bookkeeping. The teacher he enjoyed learning from the most was his bookkeeping teacher and scout master, Mr. Yack. One of Don’s most memorable accomplishments in high school is when he received a perfect score in bookkeeping at The Intermountain Meet in Provo, Utah.
Don’s practical work ethic carried over into his college years. His logical mind permitted him to work hard without succumbing to the usual distractions of college life. He would tackle an assignment and work through it before moving onto the next project. Don’s orderly nature gave way to establishing personal study habits and procedures that not only helped him stay on track but often put him ahead of schedule. When Don saw the need or benefit, he would willingly take on the extra assignment or even attend extra classes in order to learn more and become a better student. He attended the University of Maryland and he also took classes at Polytechnic Institute in Peoria, Illinois where he learned hand engraving and watchmaker. His favorite courses were watchmaking and engraving.Don was sociable and approachable. Because he was always so straightforward in how he approached relationships, friends and family knew that what they saw was always what they got. He enjoyed the camaraderie of being with a group of friends. When Don was a member of a group, his interactions with others worked to keep the group grounded. He wasn’t afraid to confront his friends and, when necessary, he challenged them to stick to the task at hand. Those close to Don came to expect his high standards of performance. While growing up, his best friends were his brother Vern and his sister Anna.
An objective and conscientious individual, Don reveled in the security of his family. On February 10, 1949 Don exchanged wedding vows with Zona Walburger at the Cardston Alberta Temple in Cardston, Alberta, Canada. One of Don’s most endearing qualities was his uncanny ability to remember important dates and anniversaries, and his unending enthusiasm for organizing a celebration for his family and friends.Don was ever watchful of his children. He worried about them and was deeply concerned for their development as they grew up. He maintained a firm hand in their upbringing. Don would give his stamp of approval to their requests, as long as he could see how they might benefit. He also had the ability to enforce the rules as needed to ensure that his children were properly raised. Don was blessed with six children, Wayne, Eugene, Carl, Judy, Eric and Marcus. They were also blessed with twenty-six grandchildren, Issac, Rebecka, Maria, David, Jack, Jennifer, Marianne, Joseph, Suzanne, Marñee, Ryan, Natalie, Michael, Christopher, Joshua, Bridgette, Jacob, Lindsey, Spencer, Marcus, Zona Marie, Katie, Brittany, Jacob, Alex and Nik.

Don’s wife of 50 years, Zona, passed away on January 17, 2000. On February 24, 2001, Don exchanged wedding vows with Blanche Hunsaker Cutler in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Being a hard worker who praised efficiency, Don was always striving to make improvements where they were necessary. He was able to analyze situations and problems, keeping everything and everyone on track. An excellent project supervisor, Don was a person who could quickly make decisions based on the information available. He worked cooperatively and expected the same from his colleagues. In both his personal and professional environments, Don upheld his standards. His primary occupation was Comptroller and Jewelry Store manager/owner at MJ Christensen Jewelers in Las Vegas, NV. He was employed for 50+ year in this industry. Don was a team player who certainly lived out the motto of “give me a job, and I will get it done.”

Don was an Army veteran. His sense of duty helped lead him into the military where his understanding of rank, his willingness to abide by rules and regulations and his desire to follow orders was admired by his fellow service men and women. He was a Private in the 102 Infantry Division. Don saw action during WWII. He received several awards recognizing his for his heroism, including a Bronze Star.

Don approached his leisure time in the same manner that he approached his life. A person who enjoyed being neat and orderly and one who understood the nature of things, he appreciated the hours he was able to devote to his various hobbies. His favorite pursuits were Scouting and playing the bugle in the band. Don was content to enjoy his favorite pastimes alone but was also willing to share his interests with others.

Being generous with his time and energy, Don liked to belong to a variety of groups and organizations. He was a vocal leader who enjoyed being a part of things. His desire to uphold traditions and his ability to take charge of any type of project made him a tremendous asset. Throughout his later years, Don was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America, the Las Vegas Rotary Club and a 4-Beaded Wood Badger.

A civic-minded person, Don was usually ready to jump in and help with community activities. He was the type of person who could masterfully organize events and projects and then see to it that they were run in an efficient and timely manner. Don was a member of several community groups, including serving on committees for the Rotary Club. Politically, Don was a supporter of the Republican Party. During these years, Don applied his analytical intellect to problem solving and so was an asset on most committees.

Faith was important to Don. He held high moral standards and was worried about the moral decay he saw around him. For that reason he held deep spiritual beliefs that he was willing to share. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. During that time, he was teacher, a member of the Boy Scouts of America, and a missionary.

As someone who placed a high value on showing gratitude, Don could graciously accept a “thank you” extended to him by those he helped. However, individual recognition wasn’t a motivating force for Don; rather, when he saw that there was a need to get something done, he was more than willing to give his time and energy in order to see it accomplished. Some of his most prestigious awards included the Silver Beaver and 4-Bead Wood Badge.

When it came time to travel or take a vacation, Don used his scheduling expertise to make sure everyone and everything was ready to go. That also meant that he made certain no single person was overworked in putting the trip together. Don had a knack for making sure that everyone who was involved had their specific tasks and that those tasks were completed. Favorite vacations included Canada, Japan, Hawaii, Europe, and Australia.

Don was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. Over the years, Don had many dogs, the last one named Chica.

When Don’s retirement finally arrived in 2000, he was well prepared. He used his critical evaluation skills to make sure that every detail had been preplanned and attended to. In retirement, he found new pleasure in traveling, missionary work, and family. In many ways, Don loved retirement. It provided him with the opportunity to catch up with his friends, attend functions and group outings, and tackle new interesting activities.

Don passed away on June 18, 2014 at Veterans Nursing Home in Boulder City, Nevada. Don’s body was tired and slowly he slipped away. He is survived by his wife Blanche; his children Wayne, Eugene, Carl, Judy, Eric and Marcus, 26 grandchildren, and 45 great grandchildren. Services were held at LDS Chapel on Alta and Jones, Las Vegas, Nevada. Don was laid to rest in Palm Northwest Cemetery on North Jones, Las Vegas, Nevada.

All who knew him would agree that Don was a pillar of the community. He lived his life with his feet firmly on the ground. He had a strong work ethic, was pragmatic in his thoughts and acts, and constantly sought the means for self-improvement. He was willing to share his ideas and knowledge for the benefit of others, so that they could accomplish more in their lives. Don J Christensen did his best to ensure that his family, friends, loved ones, co-workers, and everyone whose life he touched were given the chance to become a better person. 

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Vern Christensen Obituary – Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas Business Pioneer Vern Christensen Dies at 89

Published on Sat, Jan 11, 2014 (7:17 a.m.)

Submitted by Vern Christensen Family

Long time vern 01Las Vegas businessman Vern J. Christensen passed away in Las Vegas on January 8 after a short illness. Vern was born on July 16, 1924 in Salt Lake City, Utah to Marcus J. Christensen and Hazel Johnson. He spent his early years in Milford Utah before moving to Las Vegas in 1939 where he graduated from Las Vegas High School in1942. He joined the United States Navy and served honorably in the Philippines during World War II.

In 1947 Vern married Doris Mae Rowe in the LDS Temple in St. George, Utah. They are the parents of 5 children David (Dianna), Julia Smith (Grant), Paul (Leone), Karen Slade, and Joan Baldwin (David). They have 22 grandchildren and 43 great-grandchildren.

Vern’s distinguished career as a Las Vegas businessman included a 30-year involvement in the family business, M. J. Christensen Jewelers. Later he helped pioneer the local recycling industry as a partner in the development of Nevada Pic-a-Part and Silver Dollar Recycling. Vern was an active member of the local Better Business Bureau as well as a founder and board member of the American Bank of Commerce. He also served a term as National President of the Retail Jewelers Association.

Vern was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully in many positions in the church, including as a fulltime missionary with his wife in Anaheim, California.

Doris, his wife of 66 years, and daughter Julia Smith, preceded Vern in death. His three brothers, Don Christensen, Former District Court Judge Carl Christensen, and former Clark County Commission Chairman Paul Christensen, survive him.

Visitation will be Friday, January 17 from 5-7 pm at Palm Mortuary 1600 S. Jones and at 9 am Saturday the 18th in the LDS Chapel 3400 W. Charleston with services to follow at 10 am. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Perpetual Education Fund (pef.lds.org) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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Doris Mae Rowe Christensen passes away May 22, 2013

Doris’s funeral was held May 28, 2013. Bishop David Baldwin conducted. Musical numbers were by her grandchildren: “Be Still My Soul” by Emily Meyer and Marilyn Spillers; “Abide with Me” by Emily, Marilyn and Sam and Jack Slade. Karen Slade was the accompanist. Karen also gave the eulogy. April Anderson gave a tribute and introduced the Nevada Legislature’s resolution about Doris Christensen. David J. Christensen and David Baldwin gave talks. The display, video, family gathering, grave dedication and luncheon were all wonderful. Thanks to the her ward Relief Society and to Palm Mortuary for their service to the family.

Following is a short synopsis of her history given on the back of the program:
Doris Mae Rowe Christensen, our mother, was born on Halloween, October 31, 1927 in Kanarraville, Utah, in the home of her Grandmother Williams. Her parents Mae Williams and Lewis E. Rowe had recently moved to Las Vegas to teach art and music at Las Vegas High School. Mother grew up on the outskirts of town, living at Ninth and Bonneville with her brother Berry and her sister Marie. Because of her father’s illness, Mother was frequently called upon to be the substitute choir director her junior and senior years of high school. After graduation she attended three quarters at BYU. On April 1, 1947 she married our dad, Vern J Christensen, in the St. George temple. Their first child, David, was born in Boulder City. Mom and Dad moved to Riverside, California where Dad started his own jewelry business and Julia, Paul, and Karen were born. Missing family in Las Vegas, they sold the business and returned to work in the family jewelry store. Dad, his brothers, and his parents all built homes next to each other on Lacy Lane where Joan was born. After Dad had a heart attack, Mother decided to go back to college and graduated in 1971 from UNLV with a degree in elementary education. she taught third grade for 16 years at Wengert and Griffith Elementary Schools. After she retired, Mom and Dad built a family cabin in Beaver, Utah. She attended Anna Peterson’s scripture study group, and joined the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers. She served a mission in the family history library and as an ordinance worker at the Las Vegas temple. In 1997, Mom and Dad were called as office missionaries in the Anaheim, California mission. she held many callings in the Ninth Ward, but we will best remember her in Primary where she was chorister to her children and President to her grandchildren.

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Genfest

Beth and Joy have presented a 3 day conference on doing family history, focusing on our family. We are having a great time and learning a lot.

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Books now in Distribution

There are 3 pickup points for the new book–Hazel Christensen: Her Ancestors. They are Orem, Utah; South Jordan, Utah; and Las Vegas, Nevada. Some books have been mailed already, if postage was pre-paid. We are very pleased with the finished product and we plan to post the chapters here soon. We also ended up ordering about 6 extras if anyone needs another one.

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Something’s Comin’, Something Good (cue West Side Story music)

Yes, the long-awaited third and final volume of Christensen family history is going to press THIS WEEK. I should say Johnson family history because this book is all about Hazel Johnson Christensen and her ancestors. And believe me, she has a lot of them–all very interesting. We continued to receive new material as we worked on this and finally had to say–enough!

Just last week a cousin sent me the deed to Jens Jorgensen’s (James Johnson Sr.) land in Brigham City and Annalee researched out some very interesting historical connections that explained it.

Other “new for the first time ever” history contained in this book are:

  • the transcription of Lawrence Hoke’s thrasher invention and a picture of his patent
  • the amazing revelation that Jens Jorgensen’s sister Maren also joined the LDS Church, but stayed in Denmark
  • the story of the German twin boys who died before they were “baptized” and thus had no recorded names
  • an updated and completely illustrated version of James Johnson’s mission journal
  • stories of our miraculous connections with many previously unknown cousins with the very information we needed
  • family “mini” reports of our Danish ancestry back to Jens and Marie’s (James and Mary Johnson) great-grandparents
  • the updated version of the recipe for floating island pudding and
  • the pattern for the heirloom knitted lace that adorns the pillowcases Grandma made for us.

We have done much more research in the Danish and German records, verifying and adding to much of the information we “inherited.” We tried to be as all-inclusive as we can in this book, resulting again in a very hefty volume without a hefty price.

Contact Adele Matthews or send an email to (BookOrderInformation@gmail.com) now to reserve your copy of this book. We will NOT be ordering many extras. Watch this site for the updated price and projected distribution information.

PS A limited number of books containing MJ Christensen’s ancestry information are still available. Contact (BookOrderInformation@gmail.com)

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Our wonderful Family reunion

On June 19th, the M Joy and Hazel Family met at the old Jewelry store at 856 E. Sahara. There were stories told, memories renewed and relationships forged as we remembered our mother’s and talked and laughed and ate. Each of the families honored their mother’s with wonderful displays of their life and times. Many went on a tour of the Jewelery store and remembered bygone years. Don brought the two wing-backed chairs, the table and the lamp that sat forever in the home at 710 Lacy Lane. Many memories of M Joy and Hazel holding court with their family came to our minds as we saw and sat in those chairs. (we just wished we had the ottoman with the fringe to braid!!)

All four of the uncles were there and took some time at the mike telling stories and jokes and generally making us all feel welcome. Many “made jewelery at the Jewelery store” as we made beaded earrings and leather wrist bands to help us remember the good times.

Earlier in the day, some of us went to Woodlawn cemetary to decorate graves and then over to Wayne and Jill Christensen’s home to swim. Many thanks to Susie Whitney and her family for their hours of work and planning that helped us put it all together.

It was decided that the M Joy and Hazel reunion would be held every 5 years, so the next one is scheduled for 2015 and the Paul Christensen family will be in charge. Hope to see you in 2015!!!

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Downloads Available for New Book

Jacob Breinholt gave Annalee and I a quick over-the-phone lesson on FTP stuff and Annalee immediately did the work necessary to make the PDFs for the book M.J. Christensen: His Ancestors available for downloading. (I followed her directions to finish while she had Family Home Evening.) Click “member content” on the upper menu, then click the “files for download” and  select the name of the chapter(s) you would like to download. Thank you, thank you, Annalee and Jacob.

There are still books available all printed out and hard-bound–order from Adele Matthews, Joy, Annalee, Beth, or send a message to this site.

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Pictures from the reunion

Judy Scott visited recently and gave me several pictures from the recent Christensen reunion.  Log in, follow the link and enjoy!  Thanks to Jake for the assistance to accomplish this. PS If anyone has more photos they want to post, let me know.

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Reunion success

Just a little snippet about the reunion–the displays were marvelous, informative, and quite good! Genius idea, every one.

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