Robert C. Christensen, age 92, of Springhill, Millcreek Township, passed away Monday, June 30, 2014, at St. Vincent Hospital. He was born on May 12, 1922, in Erie, the son of the late Christ E. and Signe M. Johnson Christensen.
Robert was a graduate of Strong Vincent High School. Robert was a former Boy Scout and attained the rank of Eagle Scout, with all merit badges earned, and was the second world recipient of the Pro Dio / Pro Patria Award. He served in the US Navy
, in the Southern Pacific. Robert was a graduate of the US Navy School of Communications. Before making his mark as a gifted entrepreneur, Robert was an accomplished sailor. He was awarded the US Coast Guard license to "Master of Steam and Motor Vessels and First-Class Pilot, Unlimited Tonnage," and Graduate of Lake Carriers Association School of Navigation and Piloting. He was a past member of the Naval Architects and Marine Engineers Society, and was a graduate of Sperry School of Radar and Gyrocompass. He attended Lake Carriers School of Navigation in Cleveland, and at just 28 years old, was the youngest person in the US to hold a Master Captain's license for the Great Lakes and connecting tributary waters, and also first class pilot's license of unlimited tonnage.
During his long career, Robert owned and operated a number of companies, including G.A.R. Hospital Equipment, Niagara Machine (Chairman and past President) and Niagara Industries, Inc., which he founded in 1950, Niagara Marina, Inc., and Erie Marine Supply.
He was a Life member of the Masonic Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite, Shrine Club, Royal Order of Jesters, and was twice past President of Zem Zem Arab Patrol. He was Vice President of Stevedores of Erie, Inc., a member of Luther Memorial Church, a member of Quarter Club, Past Chairman of the Turtle Bay Dock Committee of Siesta Key, Fla., and served on the Turtle Bay Board of Directors from 1997-1998. He was a member of the Erie Yacht Club, and enjoyed boating, his work, and wintering in Florida with his wife, for over 30 years.
Capt. Robert was preceded in death by his wife of 61 years, Shirley M. Simon Christensen, who died in 2011.
He is survived by one daughter, Chrissie L. Seward (Richard) of Fairview, one son, Gary R. Christensen (Margaret) of Fairview, four grandchildren: Richard M. Seward, Jr. (Jessica) of Sterling, Va., Susanne L. Ross (Jonathan) of Herndon, Va., Wade Christensen of Charlotte, N.C., Claire Christensen of Fairview, and one great-grandson, Liam McKay Seward.
Friends may call at the Dusckas-Martin Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc., 4216 Sterrettania Rd., on Thursday from 12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. Private services and interment, at Laurel Hill Cemetery, will be held for the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 1645 West 8th Street, Erie, PA 16505.
Published in the Erie Times-News from July 2 to July 3, 2014