Our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, teacher and friend, Marian Frandsen Christenson, 94, passed away Friday, December 16, 2016 in Gunnison. Marian was born in Clarion, Utah on November 16, 1922, the third child of Peter Lafayette and Ida Caroline Larsen Frandsen.
Marian grew up on her family farm where there were few luxuries but an abundance of love and adventure. She and her older sister, Edna, were one year apart and inseparable throughout their lives having spoken with one another on a daily basis. She attended grade school in Clarion where she advanced quickly, skipped two grades and graduated at 16 years of age from Gunnison Valley High School. Through high school she played French horn in the band and accompanied vocalists on the piano. Her love of music included the accordion which she bought as a youngster selling eggs, butter, and cream. Marian used this beautiful instrument for over 80 years and was well-known for her talent of playing by ear which made her popular for community singalongs.
On December 23, 1942, Marian married J. Keller Christenson in the Manti LDS Temple and made their home in Gunnison where they lived together for 56 years raising their four boys, daughter and adopted niece. Marian and Keller’s partnership ran deep from working together in the family farm business to their many musical performances in the community, including more than 500 funerals where he sang and she played piano.
A believer in the importance of education, Marian instilled that value in her family, all of whom became college graduates. She graduated from BYU with honors in 1943. She loved being a teacher and began her career teaching home economics at Gunnison Valley High School. She then stayed home with the birth of their first child. Marian returned to GVHS as an assistant to the principal in 1966 and a few years later went back to the classroom as an English teacher and librarian for the next 24 years. She loved her students and was dedicated to their development and well-being. She spent many hours helping with their projects, enjoying their successes, and making a difference in their lives.
Marian was known for lifting others with her positive and caring approach to life. She was supportive of her children and grandchildren and found great joy in their experiences and accomplishments. She was talented as a seamstress – designing and sewing clothes for herself and her family. She also designed and gifted quilts to each grandchild at their high school graduation and marriage. She made each and every grandchild feel important. Her door was always open and everyone knew there was a cookie in her kitchen and a conversation to be had anytime of the day. She had a unique ability to listen and to offer advice only when sought. She made everyone feel loved and appreciated.
Honored for her life-long service to the community, Marian served as Grand Marshall in the 4th of July parade in 2002, and was named as a Pillar of the Community in 2001. She was a founding member of the Ladies Literary Club that met regularly for nearly 70 years and was also active in the local DUP chapter. She was an active member of the LDS Church where she served in multiple callings such as Relief Society president and as a ward and stake organist for over 40 years.
Marian is survived by her children: Tim Christenson, Bruce (Alice) Christenson, Lori (Richard) Nay, all of Gunnison; Jed (Ann) Christenson, Draper; Karma Asay (Rick Rosser), Evanston, Wyoming; and daughter-in-law Elke Christenson, Kakenstoff, Germany; sisters: Ina (Duane) Midgley, Salt Lake City; Louise Pratt, Manti; brother, Allen (Evelyn) Frandsen, Centerfield; 28 grandchildren; and 60 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, J. Keller Christenson; eldest son, Dennis, daughter-in-law, Shauna; sister Edna (Sheldon) Bjerregaard and step-brothers: Ivan (Mary) Frandsen, and Ray (Erma) Frandsen.
Funeral services will be held Friday, December 23, 2016 at 12:00 Noon in the Gunnison Stake Center, 80 West Center, where friends may call Thursday evening from 6-8 p.m. and Friday from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Burial will be in the Gunnison City Cemetery. Funeral Directors: Magleby Mortuary, Richfield, Salina and Manti. Online guestbook at www.maglebymortuary.com