Ralph W. Christensen of Jefferson Township passed away at home Thursday morning.
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He was born June 13, 1921, in New York City to a Danish father and a Norwegian mother, Jens and Olga Christensen.
After graduating from Jamaica High School and the Academy of Aeronautics, he served in the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1946 on PT boats in the Solomon Islands of the South Pacific. He attended college under the G.I. Bill and completed a degree at the University of Miami in math and physics. Graduate school was interrupted by a recall to serve another year in the Navy during the Korean War.
In 1951 he married Ethel Liljegren, and he began his career at RCA in Lancaster, with a transfer to RCA in Mountain Top. Eventually he was employed by Sylvania in Emporium and Semi Elements in Saxonburg, in the field of developing new products. He holds a patent in the U.S. and one in Japan, both in the semiconductor/electronics field. In 1970, he started a semiconductor diffusant product business, now run by his son.
Ralph was a lifelong Lutheran and a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church in Saxonburg, where he served the church as Sunday School teacher and councilman. He was a member of the Institute for Information Display, a senior member of the Institute of Electronic Engineers and a life member of the Electro-Chemical Society.
He and his wife enjoyed cribbage and couple's bridge. Twenty years ago, he began a men's bridge group in the Butler-Saxonburg area. Other interests included chess, carpentry, painting, traveling and the many outlets that Butler and Pittsburgh offer.
Surviving family members are his son, Neal and his wife, Pat; his daughter, Sallie and her sons, Benjamin and Seth Burtner and their wives, Tracy and Lindsey; his daughter, Stefanie and her husband, David Fennell; his great-grandchildren, Kamryn, Jackson, Ethan and Ian; one niece, nephew, sister-in-law, brother-in-law, and several cousins.
His beloved wife of 55 years preceded him in death on April 17, 2006. Two brothers and one sister also preceded him in death.
CHRISTENSEN - There will be no visitation for Ralph W. Christensen, who died Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013. Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Oct. 5 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Main Street, Saxonburg.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Luke's Lutheran Church or to
Arrangements are being handled by the Fox Funeral Home, Saxonburg.
For more information, visit www.foxfuneralhomeinc.com.
Published in Butler Eagle from Sept. 28 to Sept. 29, 2013