Obituary of Donald Evans Christensen
Donald Evans Christensen, a Santa Rosa native, passed away peacefully on Friday November 1, 2019 at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife of 13 years, Ann, daughter Karen (John Rosenberg), son-in-law Jay Hufford (Tracy) and grandchildren Stephanie, Jeffrey and Joel Hufford and Lucas and Julia Rosenberg. He was predeceased by his first wife of 53 years, Norma (Johnson) Christensen and his daughter Susan (Sue) Hufford. He was also predeceased by his sister, Dorothy Callwell, and brother, Ken Christensen.
Don was born in Santa Rosa on January 25, 1927 to Frank and Bessie Christensen and graduated from Santa Rosa High School class of 1945. He volunteered before his 18th birthday to serve in the U.S. Navy and missed his graduation. He was assigned to radio operator’s school and arrived in Guam for the duration of WWII. Working and playing with radio amateur equipment would become a hobby and he helped resurrect the Sonoma County Radio Amateurs club and was elected the president in 1949.
After the war he enrolled in Santa Rosa Junior College and transferred to UC Berkeley to study electrical engineering. After a that he returned to Santa Rosa to pursue more hands-on engineering at Trembley’s Radio shop. He eventually had his own TV repair business. Later he would finish his career as an electronics technician at Optical Coating Labs.
In the summer of 1949, he went to the Russian River with SRJC friends and met Norma Johnson. They were engaged six weeks later and married in 1950. Together, and with their fathers and neighbors, for six months after day jobs they built their first house. He and brother Ken later built a cabin near Cisco Grove in the Sierras. Years later, Don would be a generous wealth of time and expertise helping both daughters work on their own homes.
Don loved taking vacations with his wife and daughters whether driving across the western U.S. in a variety of used Cadillacs and Chevrolet station wagons or flying to Hawaii. Later Don and Norma enjoyed vacations to the eastern U.S. and Europe especially Scandinavia. They enjoyed socializing with friends from SRJC having monthly potluck dinner parties for over 40 years as well as with Oak Hill neighbors.
In his 30’s, he learned to snow ski and spent many ski trips with his family. He took up tennis with brother Ken and played until a few months shy of 90 years young.
After Norma’s death in 2003, Don wanted to find a nice “local lady” and became reacquainted with Ann (Larson) Lounsbury whom he had known for many years in the Swedish Vasa Lodge. After Don fixed her computer, they went to lunch and the rest is history. They were married in October 2006 and enjoyed driving in Scandinavia, taking the train across the Canadian Rockies, cruising on the river from Amsterdam to Vienna and visiting Ann’s birthplace in Upper Michigan.
Don was a self-made man and very proud of his homes and took great pride in keeping them well-maintained with all the latest “gadgets.” He was an early adopter of computers and the internet. He was generous with his time and “fix-it” skills and would share with anyone who asked. He was a happy man and looked ahead to each day and was proud of his roots. He loved Ann, his daughters and their families and was very proud of their accomplishments. We will miss his warmth, love and corny jokes.
The family would like to thank the owners and staff of Serenity Board and Care on Calistoga Road for their care of and kindness toward Don in his last year. They treated him with dignity and enjoyed his sense of humor that he kept until the end. The family appreciates Heartland Hospice care as well.
A memorial service will be held on Saturday, November 30, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Eggen & Lance Chapel, 1540 Mendocino Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA. Donations in his memory may be sent to Santa Rosa High School Foundation, P.O. Box 11006, Santa Rosa, CA 95406 or www.SRHSF.org or Heartland Hospice Fund, 3700 Old Redwood Highway, Suite 103, Santa Rosa, CA 95403 or www.HeartlandHospiceFund.org.