ARIZONA — Gary Wayne Christensen, 76, of Alma died Monday, March 23, 2020, at Hospice of the Valley Dobson House at Chandler, Ariz.
Visitation is 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Bauer-Torrey & Mach Funeral Home in Alma, per CDC guidelines to the recommendation of 10 people or fewer in the facility at one time.
Private graveside services will be at the Orleans Cemetery.
A celebration of life service for Gary will be at a later date at Peace Lutheran Church in Alma.
Gary was born on the family farm southwest of Alma, on Sept. 22, 1943, to Wayne and Vera "Irene" (Shaver) Christensen. He attended school at District 23 through the seventh grade. He then attended school in Orleans and graduated from Orleans High School with the class of 1960. It was there, in the eighth grade, where he met Karon Peterson. He attended college for a year in Kearney, and then decided to pursue his lifelong career of farming.
On Aug. 17, 1964, he married Karon Ann Peterson. Shortly after, Gary went to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with the Kansas National Guard. He served for six years. Upon returning home, he continued to farm and feed cattle with his dad. Two children completed their happy home: Todd in 1967 and Alison in 1977. Todd joined the farming operation in 1990. Gary and Karon moved from Alma to the farmhouse in 1979 and then back to Alma in 1993. Gary continued to help Todd, even this last year with the fall harvest.
Besides farming, Gary enjoyed boating and waterskiing at the Harlan County Lake in the summer and the annual snow skiing trips to Colorado in the winter with friends. He was on a bowling league in Alma for many years and played cards with friends up until his death. His passion for golf started in 1993, and he golfed in the men’s and couple’s leagues, and often with friends. Gary and Karon started to winter in Arizona in 2005, and bought a house in Mesa in 2011, where Gary continued to enjoy year-round golfing.
Gary was a member of Peace Lutheran Church in Alma and attended Victory Lutheran Church in Mesa.
Gary was proud that his children were very successful in their chosen fields. He loved his granddaughters dearly and felt great satisfaction about their many accomplishments.
Besides his parents, Gary was preceded in death by his father-in-law and mother-in-law, Gordon and Veronica "Toots" Peterson; and brothers-in-law, Kent Peterson and Kenneth Bantam.
Gary leaves to mourn his wife of 55 years, Karon Christensen of Alma; son, Todd Christensen and his wife, Nora, of Alma; daughter, Alison Christensen of Brighton, Colo.; two granddaughters, Lauren (Christensen) Peitzmeier and her husband, Jacob, of Grand Island and Karri Christensen of Alma; three sisters, Joyce "Larene" Bantam of Kearney, Shirley Tripe and her husband, Don, of Alma and Margie Lange and her husband, Don, of Olympia, Wash.; brother-in-law, Keith Peterson and his wife, Margie, of Marshfield, Wis.; and several nieces, nephews and many, many friends.
Written by his sister, Margie (Christensen) Lange: "We always were impressed with his work ethic, the range of his capabilities, and his expertise at running such a large operation but, nonetheless, he was always humble, plain-spoken, and self-effacing — all of the qualities of a good man who lived a good life."
In lieu of flowers, Gary can be honored by donating to the Harlan County Health System Foundation Board, designated to the new clinic building fund, at P.O. Box 836, Alma, NE 68920.
Visit www.nelsonbauerfh.com to leave condolences online.