LeRoy "Chris" Christensen

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HELENA LeRoy "Chris" Christensen, 88, of Helena, died of Alzheimer's disease Wednesday, Oct. 31, at his home.

A memorial service is 11 a.m., Monday at Life Covenant Church, 800 N. Hoback, Helena, with military honors to follow at Montana State Veterans Cemetery at Fort Harrison. A reception will follow the graveside service at the fellowship hall of the church. Retz Funeral Home is handling arrangements.

LeRoy passed away peacefully at home on Oct. 31, 2012, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, and went to be with his Lord and Savior.

LeRoy was born Oct. 14, 1924, in Saco to Jens and Alma Christensen. He graduated from Saco High School in 1942, and worked as a Linotype operator for the Saco Independent. After graduation, he enlisted in the US Army and was stationed in Germany, France, and England. He was in the 76th Infantry Division and served from 1943 through 1946. He received three honorary service medals.

After returning home from the Army, he moved to Harlem, where he was employed with Buttrey Foods. He worked as a projection operator at the Harlem theater in the evenings, and this is where he met the "love of his life," Helen Klingler.

They were married Feb. 13, 1949, in Harlem in a double ceremony with her sister, Bernice and Norman Mavencamp. They were blessed with a son and three daughters. They moved to Chinook and purchased the Cozy Corner Confectionary and operated it for two years. Chris was offered a job as a produce manager with Buttrey Foods in Lewistown, so they packed the family up and moved. Chris and his family loved the area and spent many weekends going fishing and camping. After spending five years in Lewistown, Chris was offered a job as the manager of Buttrey Foods and was transferred to Browning. After two years in Browning, he was transferred to Chinook, where he worked as the store manager of Buttrey Foods until he retired in 1987.

During their time in Chinook, Chris and Helen were actively involved in the annual art show and became close friends with many of the artists. After his retirement, they moved to Helena to be closer to their children. Chris and Helen loved the Helena Jazz festival and volunteered at many of the shows. Chris had a love of fishing, hiking, camping and spending time with his family. He had a love of gardening and spent many hours working in his garden. He especially enjoyed the family vacations in Glacier Park, where he spent most of his time videotaping his family and the beauty of the park.

Chris dedicated his life to Christ in 1995 and loved going to church every Sunday until his Alzheimer's prevented him from attending.

Chris was preceded in death by his parents, Jens and Alma Christensen; his brothers, Orville and Wallace Christensen; his sister-in-law, Myrtle Christensen; his son-in-law, Pat Phares; and his niece, Lois Ernst.

Chris is survived by his wife, Helen of Helena; his son, Bob Christensen of Helena; his daughters, Barb Jamieson of Helena, Deb (Marshall) Alwerdt of Great Falls and Diane (Cody) Christian of Folsom, Calif. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Kirterra Capps, Jason Jamieson, Annette Jamieson, Shaun and Chad Phares and Richelle Alwerdt; nine great-grandchildren; and numerous nephews and nieces.

Memorials may be sent in Chris' name to the Life Covenant Building Fund, 800 N. Hoback, Helena, MT 59601; Hospice of St. Peter's, 2475 Broadway St., Helena, MT 59601; or to a charitable organization of the donor's choice.

Condolences may be left online at www.RetzFuneralHome.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.

Published in Great Falls Tribune on Nov. 2, 2012
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