Evelyn Marjorie Christenson, age 97 of Red Wing, formerly of Ellsworth, passed away March 1, 2018. Evelyn was born March 31, 1920 in Plum City, WI, the daughter of Henry and Anna (Magnuson) Anderson. She graduated from Pepin High School, then furthered her education to obtain a teaching license. Years later she returned to the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, taking night school classes to complete her degree, then continued with post-graduate courses.
Evelyn was united in marriage on August 14, 1948 to Olaf Christenson. Together, Olaf and Evelyn purchased the family dairy farm from Olaf’s parents and operated it. They made their home there for almost 63 years, raising four children: Betty, Shirley, Barbara, and David. The farm was also a welcome place for their nieces and nephews to visit in the summer. Later, she helped Olaf with their apiary business, gathering honey from the 400 hives of bees.
Evelyn was most proud of being a teacher. She taught all 8 grades at rural schools for several years. When her children were all in school, she went back to teaching at Sunnyside Elementary in Ellsworth, where she remained for 20 years, teaching her first-grade “cherubs” to read.
Being a hard worker, Evelyn volunteered at the church in addition to teaching and working on the farm. In her first years of marriage, she helped at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. During her many years as a member of Zion Covenant Church, she organized the church library, taught vacation Bible school, and served as the Sunday school teacher for the group of mentally disabled women who attended the church.
In their retirement years, Evelyn and Olaf enjoyed travelling, which included bus trips, some trips to Texas and other states, and a special trip to Norway and Sweden. She was proud of her tandem skydiving adventure at age 73.
Evelyn was a caretaker, providing a loving home. She enjoyed baking for her family, especially chocolate chip cookies. She was a devoted grandmother, and she took care of Olaf during his last years. She lived out her strong faith in God by helping others.
Music was an important part of her life, especially hymns and patriotic songs. When she was young, she played the violin and sang. In her later years she enjoyed the times when her daughters and grandson would play their instruments for her. She also enjoyed reading, while her vision allowed it. Most of all, she enjoyed people. She will be remembered as a story teller, relating her life stories to many people, including her award-winning, published story of her kidney donation.
Evelyn will remain in the hearts of her daughters: Betty Christenson, Shirley Christenson, and Dr. Barbara Christenson; son: David (Abby Andresen) Christenson; 3 grandchildren: Jennifer Christenson, Dustin McManus, and Zack Christenson; along with many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Olaf; grandson, Christopher McManus; brothers, James Anderson, Lyle Anderson, and Neil Anderson; and her parents.
A Memorial Service honoring Evelyn’s Life will be held 3:00 PM Saturday, March 24, 2018 at Zion Covenant Church, 210 N. Beulah St., Ellsworth, with Pastor Dave Hugare officiating. A Gathering of Family and Friends will be held one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will take place at a later date at Our Saviors Cemetery in Ellsworth. Honoring Evelyn’s wishes to help further education, her body was donated to the Rochester Mayo Clinic to assist in future learning.