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It is with a heavy heart that we announce the peaceful passing of Dave Christensen on January 4, 2017. Two months ago, Dave was diagnosed with the most deadly and debilitating form of brain cancer a person can endure, but he did so with dignity and a strong life force. Throughout his life, he encouraged us to see death as an occasion for celebration, as one in which a friend and loved one embarked on a new adventure that the living could only try to imagine. It is with this spirit that we celebrate Dave’s life and all that he brought to our family and this world.
Those who knew Dave, knew him to approach life with an irreverent and often surprising sense of humor. He had the ability to disarm and delight. He was an adventurer, fervently searching for meaning both in his bold choice of experiences and his intensive habits of reading and writing in diverse traditions of literature, philosophy and metaphysics. He was uniquely at home cutting wood in the Sawtooth Mountains with a cigar hanging out of the corner of his mouth, goggles over his eyes, and a chainsaw in his hands, and suffered to endure any sort of bureaucracy that he thought impeded the important progress in life. His vision of progress was always about people – creating a kinder, freer, more tolerant space for people to pursue their chosen adventures through this life. As a spouse, sibling, father, son, neighbor, and psychologist, his life was defined by that vision.
David Christensen was born to Mabel and Carl Christensen in 1939 in Mena, Arkansas. Thanks to his unconventional and easygoing parents, he enjoyed an independent, lively, and natural childhood with his lovely siblings, Bob, Frank, Tom, Florence and Kathy. As a teen, he moved to New Mexico and subsequently joined the Navy at the age of 17. He didn’t enjoy the controlling, structured environment of the military, but he coped by reading voraciously and teaching himself interesting skills such as handwriting analysis. Upon his return to New Mexico, he enrolled in college and met the love of his life, Martha Andrews. They made their way through graduate school, an equal match in intelligence and determination. A beautiful and inspiring partnership of over 50 years would follow. Dave, light hearted as he was, took the responsibility of parenting very seriously. For his daughters, Reba and Rhonda, he devised countless experiences to instill lasting memories: camping trips, experiments with stilts, rope swinging over rivers, and arguably inadvisable early driving experiences. Dave was determined to give his daughters a rich and idyllic childhood. Whether it was the grand adventure of moving his family to a remote cross-country ski resort or staying in a job that he didn’t like in order to send his girls to college, he always acted with the best interests of his family in his heart. He was a similarly devoted, fun and beloved grandpa to his grandchildren, Andrew and Ally Hilbert, and Mirabel and Jameson Reid.
In his career as a school psychologist and director of special education, Dave was an advocate for young people going through tough times. Dave had the ability to relate to the struggling teen as he himself had a rebellious spirit and in leading young people to healthier and happier lives, he offered unconventional paths to healing that allowed teens to maintain their own individual spirit and dignity of choice. Upon retirement, Dave embraced this new phase of life, keeping busy building on his property, gardening, and enjoying freedom and nature. He left the Sawtooth Mountains he loved to move to Truth or Consequences, NM to help take care of Martha’s mother. Martha and Dave built a beautiful life in T or C, during which they made countless friends. Dave took up watercolor painting for the first time during this period and rapidly became a prolific artist of note, with many blue ribbons and a gorgeous inventory of paintings to his credit.
The summer before his passing, Dave built a beautiful pergola in his backyard, which serves to remind us all of his determination, vitality and vision that persisted to the very end. We invite everyone to celebrate Dave’s life, by living yours with determination, a sense of humor, and great compassion. An informal memorial gathering for Dave and Martha’s local friends will be held Friday, January 13, 2017 from 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM at the Christensen residence. A gathering of the family is planned for early summer, per Dave’s wishes.
Arrangements are by Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc. & Sierra Crematory, LLC, 303 N. Cedar St., T. or C., NM 87901, 575/894-2574. For online memorial messages please visit www.kirikosfamilyfuneralhome.com
David R. Christensen
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The staff of Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc. will keep you and your family in our prayers. We thank you for allowing us to assist you in your time of need.~ Kirikos Family Funeral Home
May you all rest in the knowledge that David is with God now as one of the angels helping to look after for you.~ Michelle Gaskin Williamsville, NY
Rhonda and Family,
What a wonderful tribute to someone who was clearly a remarkable man. My condolences for your loss.
Rebekah Harvey~ Rebekah Harvey Boise, ID
Martha, Rhonda, Reba, I cant imagine life without Dave Christiansen! What a fun husband and father you've had! Gone too soon, though! I'm sure he's enjoying his new adventure! My love to you all!~ Pam Whitman Melbourne, FL
As a high school teacher at WRHS, I often invited Dave to talk to students in my classes. He was always engaging and entertaining often offering some no-nonsense advice such as how much more you can learn if you just sit up straight and get more blood to your brain. I continued to share this tidbit as well as other sage advice with my students up until I retired in 2014. Thank you Dave for making us more sensitive to others and even better learners!~ Darlene Matson Dyer Hailey, ID
Dave's unique life force will be missed here on this plane, but is soaring in its next adventure. My love to you, Martha and girls. I know your memories of happy times will bring you peace.~ Sandy Smedley Williams Scott Hailey, ID
We have loved Dave from the time we met him. His humor and intelligence were a marvel to behold. In my quest for spiritual awareness, I have found the purpose of our lives is to bring joy and happiness to one another in whatever fashion which fits each one of us. Dave was a master at doing just that. He had little patience for those who sought to exhibit power and control over others. He sought to help others find their lightness by sharing his. He is a realized being and is still shining his light through all he touched and from the dimension in which he now reigns. I eagerly anticipate our reunion when my time comes to change from this energy.~ Bill and Betty Quann Melbourne, FL
I am so very sorry to read about Dave's illness and passing. He was such a wonderful man and had such a marvelous outlook and sense of humor. As your Mom's son-in-law he always showed such a loving attitude toward her. It was my great pleasure to be your mother's friend and get to know Dave a little. He will be missed so very much by all the folks who knew him. My sympathy to you and your children and grandchildren. You were the loves of his life.~ Harriette Bolling Elephant Butte, NM
One of the mentors/teachers that had a strong influence on me as a student, Dave was an incredible man whom I think of often & fondly. He continued to help me when my children started in school. His huge heart and wonderful humor will be missed - but surely he is smiling down on us knowing that he left with his dignity in tact. Much love to Martha, Reba, Rhonda and the rest of Dave's loved ones.~ Jana Orchard Bellevue, ID
Sending heartfelt condolences to you and yours. May you be comforted in knowing that Dave touched so many lives in a wonderful way. Love to all of you...~ Gloria Wieand Hailey, ID
Every time I think of Dave I smile. I have such fond memories of our friendship. My sincere sympathies go out to you Martha, Reba, and Rhonda. But I know he is smiling down on you forever. lots of love Janet and Pete~ Janet Cantor Jerome, ID
We share your loss and offer our sincere sympathy at this sad time~ Bob & Paula Moore Buckhorn, NM
What a great person - full of life and humor - so glad I got to know him. I will miss him. Love to Martha his beautiful wife and to his two girls - he was so proud of his family.~ cheryl davis Elephant Butte, NM
May you rest in peace, Dave. Sending love, hugs and comfort to Martha and the whole family.~ Bobbie Cunha Hailey, ID
Thinking of you Martha~ Carlene Griffith ElephNt Butte, NM
Dave's sense of humor and his passion for learning will remain with me forever. Be it iridology, handwriting analysis, float tank relaxation...Dave always kept me amused. I had tremendous respect for him as a school psych and enjoyed every minute of working with him. It was with pleasure that I got to know Martha as well. My heart goes out to all of you.~ Roxann Jensen Boise, ID
We celebrate Dave’s life. He touched his friends and coworkers with his kindness, insight, and humor. Remembering him brings a smile and a sense of loss. Thanks, Dave, for your friendship and introducing us to New Mexico Green Chili Cheese Burgers. And, dearest Martha, I send you love and hugs.~ Leslie & Larry Wilde Hayden, ID