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Paul Gilbert Christensen


1929 - 2018 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Paul Gilbert Christensen Obituary
Paul
Gilbert Christensen
1929 ~ 2018
Paul Gilbert Christensen, known as "Mr. C" to many, passed away peacefully on October 8th, 2018 at the age of 89 in Holladay, Utah. He was born on August 29, 1929 in Holy Cross Hospital in Salt Lake City Utah to Jensen Duhn (J.D.) Christensen and Dorothy Anderson Christensen. The family lived in Sugar City and Shelley, Idaho before they moved to Payson, Utah in 1937 where J.D. became Director of Music at Payson High School. Paul followed in his father's footsteps and grew to love music learning the piano, trumpet and French horn, charming his siblings while practicing right after milking the cows. He participated in school music activities, played in local dance bands, and excelled academically. While in high school, he fell in love with Bonnie Marie Ockerman, a noted soprano whom he frequently accompanied. The couple attended Brigham Young University where Paul attained Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Music. They married in Payson in 1950.
They began their family as Paul taught music in Santaquin and Nephi, Utah. In 1956 he was offered a job teaching choral music at East High School and so they moved to Salt Lake City. Shortly thereafter, Paul was recruited to become the head of the choral program at the newly built Highland High School where he became an "institution" during his 30-year tenure. Paul impacted thousands of lives and will be remembered not only for his great musical talents that he so willingly shared, but also for his quick wit and generous nature.
In addition to teaching school, private piano and organ, Paul served as the Music Director at the Holladay United Church of Christ for decades where he and Bonnie made many life-long friends. Paul was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and generously shared his expert musicianship at the organ and directing ward choirs. Every Christmas Paul performed a Christmas Eve organ service hosted by the Mt. Olympus Stake which drew devoted listeners year after year.
Paul and Bonnie loved to travel. Summers meant family vacations with their children and grandchildren. Each of their children had the opportunity to travel abroad when Paul led several high school groups on European tours.
Paul could often be found on the tennis court or hiking in the mountains, two of his favorite pastimes. With help from his son and sons in-law, he built his own cabin in Big Cottonwood Canyon. He shared his love of the mountains with his children and grandchildren, often taking them on hikes through his beloved Wasatch Mountains.
Several years following Bonnie's death in 1999 Paul married Elizabeth Mackey and they spent four wonderful years together until her death in 2009. He is survived by his children, Rebecca (Thomas) Durham, Susan Sharp, Jill Christensen, Tony (Kathy) Christensen,13 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, brothers Kenneth ("Lucky") Christensen, Howard (Bonnie) Christensen, and sister Sharil (Gale -deceased) Holt. Paul was preceded in death by his parents, his sister Clelia "Chris" (J.R.) Gardner, and wives Bonnie Marie Ockerman Christensen and Elizabeth Mackey Christensen.
Funeral services will be at 12:00 PM on Saturday, October 13th at the Olympus Cove Ward, 4407 South Fortuna Way (3695 East) SLC. Friends may call one hour before the funeral on Saturday. A viewing will take place at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City, on Friday, October 12th, from 6-8 PM.
The family wishes to thank those who cared for him at The Ridge at Cottonwood, and Brighton Hospice Services, and all those who helped Paul during these last few years as his health declined. Please consider a memorial contribution to the Highland High "Mr. C" Choral Scholarship fund. https://give.saltlakeeducationfoundation.org/highlandhigh-donation
Published in Deseret News from Oct. 11 to Oct. 12, 2018
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