St. George, Utah – Kenneth Raymond Christensen, 77 years of age, returned to his Heavenly Father on Friday, November 11, 2022. He was born June 29, 1945, in Reno, Nevada to Ivan William Christensen and Elsie Marie Bennett Christensen. Ken married Valerie Duncan on May 8, 2012, in South Jordan, Utah. His devoted wife and caretaker, Valerie, was by his side when he passed away.
Ken was the second child born in his parents' family of six children. The family lived in Washoe County, Nevada, at the time of his birth. Ken was a toddler when the family moved to Coyote Valley, California, where his father worked as a carpenter and a few years later started Christensen Construction. As a teenager the family moved to Ukiah, California. Growing up Ken and his siblings had chores to do at home and worked with their father on many of his construction jobs. Ken was an Eagle Scout. He graduated from Ukiah High School with the class of 1963. From September 1963 to March 1964, he was a Private E-2 in the U.S. Army Reserve stationed at Fort Ord, California. Ken then served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Australia Mission from August 1964 to September 1966, serving mostly in Queensland. After his mission Ken returned to his family home in Ukiah, attended college and worked for Christensen Construction. Ken married Lynda Rankin on September 14, 1968 (later divorced), and they had five children and one adopted adult son. Ken started his own business, KC Construction, and was a general contractor. In addition to his construction company, he also opened Christensen’s Creamery in Ukiah. He always had an interest in vineyards and one year he was able to lease a vineyard (about 20 acres), cared for it and then hauled the grapes off to market. He later planted a few vines at his parents’ home in St. George. Ken also lived in Snohomish, Washington, Oakley, Idaho, Napa, California, and West Jordan, Utah.
Ken enjoyed playing church basketball, water skiing, snow skiing, scouting, and any activities with his family. He was an avid bicyclist. After his heart attack in 2005, Ken retired and eventually moved to St. George, Utah. Because he couldn’t drive for six months after the heart attack, Ken took long walks and eventually he was able to ride his mountain bike. He biked on trails in St. George five or six days a week and would be gone for hours. When he lived in West Jordan, Utah, he also biked the Jordan River Trail, sometimes going forty miles at a time if the weather was good. Ken was able to travel with Valerie to China, Italy, Fiji, and cruised to the Bahamas and down the Pacific Coast. Ken enjoyed cruises and loved visiting different countries, experiencing the cultures, and learning about the history and sites.
Ken lived an exemplary life of kindness, service, charity, and had a love for everyone he knew. He had many dear friends and extended family who he loved. He loved meeting people, getting to know them, and socializing with friends and family. Ken was ready to serve whenever help was needed. He was always willing to help his adult children with construction or repair projects on their homes. He would drop whatever he was doing at home to help someone in need. In addition to serving a mission, he also served as a Boy Scout Leader, Bishop, High Priest Group Leader, Ward Missionary, Temple Worker, and Primary Teacher as well as in other church callings.
Ken was diagnosed with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Dementia in 2020. Valerie was his caretaker until his death. During this time, Ken enjoyed watching westerns on TV, going to movies, taking walks, coloring, playing games, going for a drive, out to eat, get a soda or an ice cream cone. He also loved going to church when it was possible to do so.
Ken is survived by his wife, Valerie, of St. George, Utah, children: Stephanie Visser (Durk) of Taylorsville, Utah, Megan Riehl of South Jordan, Utah, and Andrea Shaw of Murray, Utah, as well as six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. He is also survived by his children born into his marriage to Lynda: Jeriann Gist (Billy) of Shawnee, Kansas, Brian Christensen (Melinda) of Burns, Oregon, Brandon Christensen (Lis) of Logan, Utah, Jeffrey Christensen (Katie) of Wake Forest, North Carolina, Corey Christensen of Ukiah, California, and Michael Hooper of Ukiah, California, 19 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. Ken is also survived by his brother David Christensen (Lynn) of Ukiah, California, two sisters, Sheila McCall (Jerry) of Hereford, Arizona, and Linda Fosse (John) of Tucson, Arizona, and sister-in-law Marjorie Christensen and brother-in-law Scott Burton and many nieces and nephews.
Ken was preceded in death by his parents, Ivan William Christensen and Elsie Bennett Christensen, his brother, Chris Christensen and his sister, Lorie Burton.
A viewing will be held on Monday, November 21, 2022, from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm, at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 South Bluff, St. George, Utah. The funeral services will begin directly following the viewing, starting at 1:00 pm, also at Spilsbury Mortuary.
The interment will take place at Tonaquint Cemetery, 1777 South Dixie Dr, St. George, Utah.
Friends and family that are unable to attend the services in person are welcome to view them virtually by clicking the link below: Video on Demand