“She had a good life, and she made life good for so many others.”
Irene Lefsrud (sister)
Evelyn, beloved wife of the late Ansgar Christensen, passed away peacefully, with family by her side, in Calgary, AB on Wednesday February 2, 2022. A small memorial service will be held on Monday, February 14, 2022, at 1:30 p.m. from Hope Lutheran Church with Pastor Kristian Wold officiating. An interment will take place at Bethany Lutheran Church Cemetery, Tilley, AB, in the summer.
Left to cherish her memory are her children, Cathy (Paul) of Camrose, AB, James (Naomi) Christensen of Kelowna, B.C., Dagne (Les) McMurtry of Calgary, AB, and Janice (Dave) Gross of Coaldale, AB; 11 grandchildren; 7 great grandchildren; 2 great-great grandchildren; and her sister Irene Lefsrud. She was predeceased by her parents Rhoda and Ben Holmgren; sister Viola; brothers Bernie and Ivan; infant son Glenn Arthur; and daughter Irene Anne.
Evelyn was born in Lac La Biche, AB, to parents who farmed in the Rich Lake area. A year later, the family moved to Edmonton, AB where Evelyn spent her childhood and growing up years. The old Strathcona neighborhood was Evelyn’s playground. She loved to skate, ride bike, toboggan, go for picnics, and spend lots of time playing outdoors. She helped her mother with cleaning, gardening, and caring for the cow they kept – in the city! She and her siblings were strongly influenced by the Russel family who taught Saturday bible classes in the neighborhood. She even assisted with the younger children when she was a teenager. All her life she cherished the Scoffield bible the Russel’s gave her upon her high school graduation. She said the most important lesson she learned as a child was “to love the Lord and to love our neighbors as ourselves”.
Music was a big part of Evelyn’s life – she learned to play piano and guitar, sang in choirs, and played for the enjoyment of many seniors. A week before her death she spent over an hour playing the same piano which she had donated to the Prince of Peace Manor.
Upon high school graduation, Evelyn was hired by the US Army, due to her excellent typing skills, to work in Prince Rupert typing (in code) ammunition orders. A few months later, when the war ended, she was happy to go to Camrose, AB to attend the Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute. It was here she met her future husband Ansgar Christensen. Evelyn had a calling to help people, so pursued nursing training at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton. As well as a thorough education from the Catholic nuns, she gained many lifelong friends. Evelyn had a long and distinguished career, most of it spent with the Bethany Care Society caring for patients requiring long term care. In addition to active Nursing, and Unit Administration, Evelyn initiated many projects when she saw gaps in service and was actively involved in many organizations dedicated to health and quality of life.
Following their marriage in December 1949, Evelyn and Ansgar moved to Tilley, AB where they farmed for a few years. Evelyn’s learning curve was steep – a city girl who really knew nothing about farm life. However, she was a quick study with an adaptable and flexible nature. She soon grew to love and appreciate their life on the farm.
In 1958, after much thought, consideration and prayers for guidance, Evelyn and Ansgar moved to Calgary where Evelyn began nursing for Bethany Care Society and Ansgar began Education studies at the University of Calgary. It was a very busy time for them with three young children, Irene Anne, Cathy, and James, and three boarders living with them in a very small house. Evelyn’s hospitality and generosity were always part of her day-to-day life. A fourth child, Dagne was born, and soon the family moved to a larger home in Brentwood where, a few years later, the family was complete with the addition of Janice. Evelyn was actively involved in church and volunteer activities, always giving her family unconditional love, and maintaining a wonderful sense of humour. She continued to host and enjoy family times that included great meals, fun gatherings, games, and shenanigans. She was great with words and wrote many stories and poems. It was very difficult to beat her at Scrabble.
In retirement, Evelyn continued to volunteer her time with many organizations whose goals were to help others. Mom especially enjoyed being a member of the Helping Hands group at Prince of Peace Village. She’d do anything for anyone! She had lots of friends and she made friends easily. Lots of time was spent with grandchildren, caring for them and attending their special events and programs. The travel bug also hit Evelyn and Ansgar, and they had trips and cruises to many wonderful destinations. A big part of their retirement included spending lots of time at their recreational property near Bassano, AB. They grew a big garden (ensuring there was always plenty extra to donate to The Mustard Seed Charity), put up lots of preserves, hosted many gatherings for family and friends, and enjoyed the sunshine and relaxation that this country place on the prairies provided. Special family memories were also made during several reunions which they hosted at Kananaskis Lodge. The mountains, fresh air and fun activities gave Evelyn much joy.
Covid was especially difficult for Evelyn because she was such a social person. She loved to visit, play games, and just enjoy the company of others. She never complained, and daily phone calls from family kept her strong, especially after the passing one year ago, of her beloved husband Ansgar. Her faith in God gave her hope, comfort, and peace, during times of hardship and times of joy. She continued to be a blessing to many up to the end, with her tender heart and her kind, gracious, loving, generous, and accepting nature. Her children, grandchildren and friends will miss her dearly, but we celebrate the blessing she has been to us for many wonderful years.
Mom’s favourite bible verse: “Be anxious about nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4: 6-7 NKJV
If family and friends so desire, memorial contributions in Evelyn’s honour may be made to Camp Kuriakos at Sylvan Lake.
The public are invited to attend the service through the following livestream links: Hope Lutheran Church YYC YouTube Channel or you can also go through the church’s home page: www.hopelutheran.ca