Wendell Kenneth Christensen
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Wendell was born February 22, 1923 and grew up in the Sugar House area of Salt Lake City. His parents were Alma and Ella Greenwood Christensen and he was the youngest of four children; two brothers Harold and Dazel and his sister Dorothy. At 89 years old, Wendell was the last remaining living member of the family until his death on November 9, 2012.
Wendell excelled in sports as a young man and was named First Team All City, in basketball at South High in Salt Lake in 1939, 1940 and 1941. After graduating high school in 1941, Wendell attended Mesa Jr. College on a basketball scholarship and then entered the army in 1943, where he was a drill instructor and also played and earned a starting position on the Army's All-Ninth service basketball team with an honorable discharge in 1945. He then attended the University of Idaho and was a starting member of the varsity basketball team in 1947-1949 and also played on the baseball team and track team. After graduating from the University of Idaho, Wendell and his first wife, Doris, moved to Nampa, Idaho where Wendell accepted the only paying job he ever had as Nampa's Superintendent of Parks and Recreation. Wendell held this job until his retirement in 1988 after 39 years of service to his community.
During his tenure as Parks and Recreation Director, Wendell also participated in numerous civic activities and was instrumental in the creation of the Dollars for Scholars scholarship program at Nampa Sr. High School. He received many awards for his tireless dedication to his work with children and civic activities including the 1952 Moose Lodge Award for Community Service, the 1957 Jr. Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award for Young man of the Year, the 1959 Nampa Exchange Club's Golden Deeds Award and the Nampa Citizen of the Year Award in 1967. He also served as past President of the Idaho State Recreation Society and a member of the Advisory board to the National Recreation Association and is a lifetime member of the Salvation Army's Advisory Board after 47 years of leadership in the Salvation Army's annual food drive and other activities.
After 16 years, Wendell divorced his first wife and a few years later in July of 1963 married Fern Johnson whom he was married to for 47 years, until her death in 2010. From the two marriages Wendell is survived by his six children: four boys: Van Johnson, Robert Johnson, Dan Christensen and Ted Johnson; two girls, Wendy Miskin and Wendy Miller; and many, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Wendell and Fern were both members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from childhood and they spent many years before and after his retirement actively participating in church activity and various callings of the church. Wendell and Fern served two service missions in the Job Resources and the Addictive Resources Programs.
Wendell became a resident of Sunrise of Sandy in Utah in 2010, moving from Nampa after the death of his wife. In 2012 he moved back to his beloved city of Nampa until his death on November 9, 2012.
Funeral services will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, November 16 at the Nampa 11th Ward LDS Chapel, 121 North Canyon Street, Nampa. A viewing will be held from 7:00-9:00 p.m. Thursday, November 15 at Zeyer Funeral Chapel, 83 N Midland Blvd, Nampa and at the church from 12:00-12:45 p.m. prior to the services. In lieu of flowers donation may be made to the Salvation Army, 403 12th Ave S. Nampa, 83651 or the LDS Humanitarian Services, 15 E. South Temple 2nd Floor East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84150
Zeyer Funeral Chapel
83 North Midland Boulevard Nampa, ID 83651
Published in Idaho Press Tribune on Nov. 15, 2012