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Shirley A. Christenson 06/15/2020

Shirley A. Christenson 06/15/2020

Shirley A. Christenson, age 94, River Falls, Wisconsin, passed away Monday, June 15, 2020 at Kinnic Health and Rehab, River Falls.
She was born the daughter of O. Julius and C. Sophie (Berkseth) Anderson on Nov. 3, 1925 in rural Hudson, Wisconsin. She graduated from River Falls High School in 1943, then earned a two-year rural teaching degree in 1945 and taught in rural schools in Pierce and St. Croix Counties.
On June 10, 1947, Shirley married Harvey Christenson at Rush River Lutheran Church in rural River Falls. They farmed in Martell Township for 30 years. Shirley taught two more years, then became a “stay-at-home mom” and an avid supporter of her two children’s activities. She was an active member of Rush River Lutheran Church, where she taught Sunday school for 30 years, participated in a circle, Altar Guild, and held office positions. She was also active with 4-H during the 14 years her children were members, serving as project leader, and five years as the general leader of the Country Partners 4-H Club. After the children were grown, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education in 1977 and then worked, and later volunteered, in elementary schools.
Shirley and Harvey retired from farming, moved, and started a home-based Shaklee business. Shirley continued with Shaklee after Harvey died of cancer in 1982, and she moved to the City of River Falls in 1986. She valued the friendship of the many Shaklee members and was passionate about good nutrition and providing products that are in harmony with the environment. She continued this for 18 years. Shirley then volunteered to teach English as a Second Language, working with immigrants for eight years.
Since living in River Falls, Shirley transferred membership to Ezekiel Lutheran Church. Her life was dedicated to her family, church, and community. Shirley enjoyed reading, gardening, quilting, and feeding the birds. She wrote her memoir My 90-Year Journey, completed in 2016.
Shirley is survived by her son David (Linda) Christenson of Woodruff, WI, daughter Susan (Thomas) Voelker of River Falls; four grandchildren: Raymond (Diane) Christenson, Matthew (Amber) Christenson, Karl Voelker, and Jack Voelker; and four greatgrandchildren: Brooklynn, Jacob, Lillyahna, and Clara Christenson. She is also survived by her sister, Evelyn Dosch, Denver, Colorado, as well as nieces, nephews, and cousins.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Harvey Christenson; parents Julius and Sophie Anderson; sister June Waalen; brother Kenneth Anderson; infant grandson Aaron Christenson; and relatives Margaret Anderson, Erwin Dosch, and Reuben Waalen. Please direct any memorials for Shirley Christenson to Scholarships for Girls in Education, payable to Ezekiel Lutheran Church, Attn: Steve Devine-Jelinski, 202 S. 2nd St., River Falls WI 54022.
A memorial service was held on Saturday, September 25, 2021 at 1:00PM at Ezekiel Lutheran Church (202 S. 2nd St) in River Falls with a visitation one hour prior to the service. The service will be livestreamed via a link below the obituary. Per family request and church policy, masks and social distancing are required. Interment and Graveside Service were on Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 2:00PM in the Rush River Church Cemetery. Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services.

Please click here to watch the recording of Shirley’s service.


  • Linda K Shirley Posted June 17, 2020 9:46 pm

    Shirley truly exemplified the “greatest generation”, whatever trials and tribulations she faced she always kept moving “forward”. Whenever we talked I always “learned” from her be it something she had read or listened to on the radio. She was a “teacher” to the end. Always kind, caring and considerate that was Shirley.

    • Sue Voelker Posted July 3, 2020 8:51 pm

      Linda, thank you for sharing these sentiments about Mom. Your friendship meant so much to Mom over the years. She looked forward to your calls and discussions.Thank you for bringing her so much joy!

  • Heather Johnson Posted June 18, 2020 4:19 pm

    Shirley was a very good friend to all of us at the River Falls Public Library. It is with a sad heart that I hear of her passing before we could see each other again. Her book is a gift that I keep on the desk in my office and think fondly of the many hours that she spent in the library doing research and making copies to get it published. My sympathies and prayers go out to her family.

    • Sue Voelker Posted July 3, 2020 8:40 pm

      Thank you so much for your touching sentiments and for your friendship over the years. The River Falls Public Library was one of Mom’s favorite places to visit and you all meant a great deal to her.

  • Randy Cudd Posted June 19, 2020 3:11 am

    Shirley was a kind ,freindly and Lord loving lady!

    • Sue Voelker Posted July 3, 2020 8:34 pm

      Thank you for your kind words.

  • Elly Brenna Posted June 21, 2020 10:52 am

    Sending my heartfelt condolences to Shirley’s family. She became a special friend while living at Wellhaven Senior Apartments.

    • Sue Voelker Posted July 3, 2020 8:33 pm

      Thank you, Elly. Thanks, too, for your care and friendship during Mom’s time at Wellhaven. That meant a lot to her.

  • Jerry & Beryl VanHeukelom Posted June 22, 2020 10:51 pm

    Shirley was the Mother of our next door neighbor, Susan. She was always so kind & friendly when visiting Susan. We would share our tomatoes & rhubarb with her. A few days before she passed away we where thinking we should make a rhubarb dessert and have Sue bring her some. That won’t happen now. But Sue was able to share some of our Peony buds with her. Our sincere condolences go out to Sue & Dave as they grieve the loss of their Mother.

    • Sue Voelker Posted July 3, 2020 8:30 pm

      Thank you so much, Jerry and Beryl.

  • Shari Fleming Posted September 9, 2020 11:44 pm

    Dear Sue and Dave and families, I just finished reading your Mom’s memoir and I was planning on writing her a letter. Instead I sadly found her obituary. I wanted to reach out to you both to let you know what an honorable and memorable woman I think your mother was, just from reading her book! What a wonderful and priceless gift she left for you and the rest of your family as well as the world!! Wow, if everyone wrote about their life’s journey half as well as Shirley, what an amazing collection of history we would have for generations to come!! What a lovely woman and beautiful spirit she was! May she rest in peace with Jesus and may her spirit live on in your hearts forever. God Bless. Warmly, Shari Fleming

    • Susan Voelker Posted September 20, 2020 5:01 pm

      Thank you, Shari, for your lovely sentiments about Mom. Dave, I, and our children were blessed to have her as our Mom and Grandma. I am so proud of all that she accomplished and how she touched so many lives, throughout her long life!

  • Beth Senoraske Posted November 4, 2020 8:40 pm

    Hello Sue and family-
    I am so sorry for the loss of your Mom. I didn’t realize Shirley had passed away until we were watching the All Saint’ s Sunday Service at Ezekiel Church today and they announced her name. I really enjoyed visiting with Shirley over the years- helping her with little tasks and just talking. She reminded me of my Grandmothers. She was always such a spit fire and we had great conversations which ranged from history to current events. I enjoyed hearing about her memoir and the work she put into it. I know she worked very hard on it and I’m sure your family will cherish it! When we visited Wellhaven last year with Ezekiel and set up bingo, I went up to find Shirley in her apartment and brought her down and it was so wonderful to see her again. It was always good spending time with her and I just wanted to reach out to you and let you know that I am so very sorry for your loss. I will always think of Shirley with fondness and I will never forget her.

    • Sue Voelker Posted December 6, 2020 8:08 pm

      Thank you, Beth, for your kind words and for your friendship with Mom. She truly treasured your friendship and spoke of you often, always with fondness and joy. I am forever grateful for the kindness and caring you showed her over the years. I’m so sorry you learned of her passing in church instead of from me; I tried to think of those to inform directly, but I clearly fell short. We are planning to hold a proper celebration of life when it is safe to do so, and I will inform you personally.

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