Mark Edwin Christensen went to be with his Heavenly Father on Oct. 13, 2020, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He left much too soon and far too quickly, but by God’s great mercy and grace, he didn’t suffer for long. A memorial service will be held at the Lutheran Church in Sunburst on Saturday, July 24, at 11 a.m.
Mark was born on March 12, 1952, to William (Bill) and Kathryn (Larson) Christensen in Shelby, Mont. He was the second of five boys. He grew up on a farm in Sunburst, Mont., a paradise for five active, curious and mischievous boys. You could see the Sweetgrass Hills out the kitchen window and his grandparents, Edwin and Kaia Larson, lived close by.
Mark loved Montana and was sad to leave (all five boys were unhappy to leave, well, four of them, anyway) when they moved to Eugene, Ore., in 1965. He attended Willamette High School and eventually got a GED. In December 1972, he enlisted in the Army with his brother, Jim. They did Basic Training at Ft. Ord, Calif., AIT at Ft. Polk, La., and their permanent duty station was in Bamberg, Germany, until 1976.
In 1976, he met and married Roberta Desjardin. They were married until 1979. In June of 1977, their daughter, Toni Raye, was born.
Mark enrolled in mechanic school and moved to Phoenix in 1985, but left after a while to work. His life’s work was in trucking, driving everything from sanitation trucks, 18-wheelers, farm equipment, to dump trucks and everything in between. He started driving the fuel truck on the farm almost before he could reach the pedals. Mark was a mechanic at heart and could fix anything, often finding discarded appliances and making them work again.
In 1990, he met Sue Warren Painter and her daughters, Tarrah and Tasha, and together, they built a life in Phoenix, later moving back to Eugene in 1997 to be closer to family and beat the heat. Mark then went to work for May Trucking. Several times over the years, Mark was happy to go to Montana to help his friend, Steen, with the harvest.
Mark and Sue split up in 2003. He met Patricia French, who he married in Virginia City, Nev., on Oct. 3, 2005. They lived in the Salem area until moving to Bella Vista, Ark., in 2008. In 2015, Mark and Pat retired to Ocean Park, Wash., on the Long Beach Peninsula. There Mark enjoyed working in the shop, playing Pinochle and traveling with Pat on many trips to visit family in Florida, Texas and everywhere in between.
Every chance he had, Mark returned to his beloved Montana. Mark was a beloved son, brother, husband, uncle, father and grandfather. He could fix anything, drive anything and was always game to drown a worm. His family members were willing participants when he found obscure fishing holes for another fishing adventure, often the adventure was getting to the fishing hole.
Mark was the family storyteller and keeper of our family history. He enjoyed music, trains, travel, family gatherings, going through pictures and reminiscing. Mark loved his family, was always there when any of us needed him and he was so proud of his grandkids. His hugs felt like home. Mark will be remembered by all who loved him in hugs, stories, laughter, time spent together (playing Cribbage and Pinochle), and every time we need something fixed and can’t call him to ask how. We miss him terribly and are heartbroken by our loss. He will always be in our hearts.
He is survived by his dear wife, Patricia (French) Christensen; brothers, David (Trish), Philip (Kris), James (Sheryl) and Timothy (Roberta); daughter, Toni (Uma) UmaShankar; stepdaughter, Liza Perry; stepson, Ted (Tia) Perry; stepdaughters, Tarrah Painter Tasha Painter; and grandchildren, AviLashan, Arujun, Aashwin, Alexander, Aryanna, Abigail, Amara, Christopher, Skylar, Aubrie and Cecilea.
Mark was preceded in death by his parents, William and Kathryn (Larson) Christensen.