Remarks at the Funeral of Harold Elijah Christensen
By Milton E. Richardson, a son-in-law
My introduction to Harold Christensen occurred on one of the first dates I had with his daughter. We were going over to Lake Tahoe with other friends to view the country. This was before gambling [at the Nevada state line] took over.
I was introduced to Mr. Christensen, who looked me over, grunted a few words, and went back to work on the fireplace he was building onto the addition to his cabin. He was a man of few words, but hard working and sincere in everything he did, and honest in his dealings with his fellow man. When the bills came in for his business he was quick to see that checks were drawn and in the mail, not wanting to be obligated to anyone.
Chris loved to hunt and fished, he loved the mountains and streams and lakes. He scarcely missed a season’s deer hunting. He had a boat and a camp trailer and traveled all over the west, also making a couple of trips to Canada.
In a life that has covered almost 90 years the time will only permit that I give you a few of the highlights and let you know that his life was well lived and although he had many tribulations, he came through and energetically planned for the next project throughout his retirement years.
A man’s activities can be divided into a few categories: his work, his recreation, his church—or spiritual side, and his family.
Born in February of 1892, died in March 1981, his life spanned the time when practically all the mechanical progress of the world was being made. From the horse and buggy to the jet plane and space travel, truly a marvelous time to live and enjoy the benefits of technology, the comforts and blessings we enjoy in our day. However, Chris also knew the hardships of pioneer life. His parents moved to a ranch 35 miles west of Cardson, Alberta, Canada in 1900. Chris was 7 at the time. The story of his early experiences are contained in a book published a few years ago, History of the Pioneers of Pincher Creek. He states that game was plentiful. Ducks, geese, prairie chickens, ruffled grouse, and lots of fish in the streams—those, along with chicken and beef, they always managed to eat well.
As with most pioneers they had Indians. The Stony tribe who came to the house, instead of knocking on the door, they would press their noses to the window and look in. This would frighten his mother to death, especially when the father was away at Calgary on his bricklaying jobs, the senior Christensen, being the building superintendent on the Alberta Temple for a year until the foundation was finished.
Chris and his brother Irving rode the range, put up the hay, and rode a horse six miles to school. He learned the bricklaying trade from his father when he was 19, he met a beautiful young lady of 17, Sarah Bevan. It was love at first sight. They were married and had three children when they left Canada. Expecting the fourth, Sadie wanted to be with her mother in Utah. This was in 1919 and Chris contracted the flu and later had pneumonia. He managed to survive, although at that time, thousands of people died during the epidemic.
He later came to Sacramento where he kept busy at his bricklaying, built a home on 3400 20th Avenue during the depression, operated a service station on Fruitridge & Franklin Boulevards, later opening a service station and feed store at 21st Avenue and Franklin Boulevard, keeping his hand in the brick contracting business, in which he was later to join with his son Bob and operate the business as Harold Christensen & Son for a number of years until his retirement at 65. His business ability was evident in that he managed to buy new cars and take trips to wherever he felt like it. His pride was a 1940 Packard.
When the building in which we meet today was built we had the work performed at wages, no profit or overhead. Overtime and holidays were donated. Chris and Bob responded and did the brickwork. It is a monument which will stand as an evidence of their ability. The building is pictured in a brochure of the brick association as an illustration of beautiful brickwork in our area.
While we were finishing the building a man came over from the [Western Pacific Railroad] Shops and said I have a bet with a guy over there that this isn’t real brick. It’s too uniform. I had to tell him it was real brick.
Since his retirement, Chris has had his share of hard knocks. While crossing the road to a fishing spot near Woodland he waited for a truck to pass, then started out into the road. He was hit by a second truck, breaking his leg in eight places and causing him to be laid up for a year. The Doctor said he would never walk again but he did.
About a year later while on a hunting trip he tried to jump a deep ditch to retrieve a duck he had shot, fell to the bottom and was again laid up for several months with a broken leg.
In 1945 he had a heart attack, took the advice of his doctor and did nothing for two years. He recovered and was able to go back to work at bricklaying.
Twenty years ago he and Jessie were married. They had a happy marriage, they enjoyed their trips and association, and she stayed by his side in his last illness.
His family has always been a pleasure to him. Bob and Harold were hunting companions, his daughters looking after and assisting him in numerous ways. With his posterity increasing we can make the statement that he was blessed with children and chose to raise a family in this life, they will rise with him in the resurrection and call him blessed, a patriarch. He has seen fit to have his wife and family sealed as a family unit for time and all eternity. It is my hope and prayer that he may receive the blessings of those who keep the faith, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
To read Harold's autobiography, click here. To return to the Christensen Family index page, click here.