Dad was born Garth Lavell Christensen on May 21, 1941. He was the 7th child of 8 surviving children that our Grandmother Christensen had. Dad grew up in a very poor family, and they were constantly moving while my grandfather was trying to make ends meet for the family of six boys and two girls. When dad was working in a sweltering hayloft towards the end of summer in the White Rocks area of Utah, he happened to see a man in a uniform get out. That man was an Army Recruiter. Dad threw his pitchfork down, jumped down from the hayloft and signed up on the spot. He never finished high school, but he led men and women in extreme hospital conditions, fine tuning how to heal soldiers from white phosphorus and from napalm while stationed in Japan.
Years later at his retirement, he would be offered a position with Salem General Hospital at a pretty nice salary for the time. He turned it down. I asked him why. He said "Son, after everything that I have lived through and have seen, I just want some peace." It was the first time that he had let me have an inkling of what he had been through.
Dad was married to Danielle Bacquelin. Their marriage was short, but he had four children, Kurt, Carolyn, Scott and Mike. He later married Sharon "Shay" Kiely who became the love of his life and constant companion in everything that they did. Shay brought five more children into the family: Mark, Mitch, Brian, Kevin, and Carolyn. While we all didn't live under one roof at a time, there were times that it was a crowded household. They were married for almost 47 years at her passing.
Dad straightened out his life and participated in the Atonement process with his Savior. For almost 20 years, mom and dad were temple workers in the Portland Oregon Temple, making the 45 minute drive one way each weekend to be of service. While he made mistakes in his life, he also tried to be of service to many. From their home of almost 40 years in Salem, Oregon, he became an avid wood shop carpenter, and many times he would be out making stuff for friends and family members. To my knowledge, he never asked for anything. He and my mother were also very interested in canning and emergency preparedness and taught many classes over the years in the Salem, Oregon community. Dad served in a Bishopric as a finance clerk, served faithfully as a ministering (home teacher) brethren and did what he could to help others.
Dad was moved to Idaho Falls on August 23rd, in order to live with his oldest son, Kurt, and to comfort him with his failing health. On September 12th, dad suffered a massive stroke while he was with one of his granddaughters. On September 15th, he slipped away from this earth to be reunited with his celestial companion Shay in the next life. Dad will be missed, but we know that pain he has been living with for years is finally at an end. He is now at peace. We love you Dad, but we know we will see you and mother again - once more inseparable.
He is survived by his loving children, Kurt (Linda) Christensen of Idaho Falls, Idaho, Carolyn (Rosanne) Truegift of Springfield, Oregon, Scott (Kelly) Christensen of Casselberry, Florida, Mike (Kim) Christensen of Longwood, Florida, Mark (Pam) Urben of Salem, Oregon, Mitch (Patty) Urben of Salem, Oregon, Brian Urben of Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and Kevin (Rhonda) Urben of Salem, Oregon.
Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, September 19, 2020, at Wood Funeral Home East Side, 963 S. Ammon Road in Ammon, Idaho. The family will visit with friends from 1-1:45 p.m. prior. Dad will be buried in Willamette National Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.
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