Norris Christensen

Norris John Christensen of Minden was born to Martha and Chester Christensen who farmed east of Minden on October 25th, 1925.  Norry died Tuesday March 1st, 2022 at the age of 96.  A Celebration of Life memorial service will be held toward the end of May at which time we will spread the word for all that would like to attend.  Craig Funeral Home is helping with the arrangements.   

When Norry was 14 years old the almost impossible life of working a small farm during the dirty ‘30s forced the Christensen family to move into Minden in 1939.  Norry was baptized at the Christian Church in Minden on August 8, 1940.  He was then confirmed into the Bethany Lutheran Church on December 18, 1955. I think wife Norma had something to do with that.  Norry graduated from Minden High School in 1943 where he had become a very good athlete.  He was contacted by area colleges about playing baseball, but as he was making up his mind, Uncle Sam came calling and Norry enlisted into the Navy and was stationed on the troop transport carrier the USS General E.T. Collins.  Their assignment for the next three years was to distribute roughly 4000 soldiers per trip to different fighting “Hot Spots” in the Pacific Theatre and then pick up all the wounded and dead on the way back to head quarters in Hawaii or the USA.  When he wasn’t dodging bullets, planes and torpedoes he played on both the men’s baseball and basketball teams in the service league.  Norry attained the rating of 3rd Class Petty Officer and his main duty was fire control.  When the war ended they were sent to collect troops that were still abroad.  When finished with this enormous task Norry was decommissioned from the Navy in Seattle, Washington in 1946. He had traveled over 134,000 miles on his tour of duty. 

When he returned to Minden he married Norma Jensen, the girl of his dreams since they started dating at the age of 14 and remained sweethearts to the end.  Through this marriage were born three boys Bob, Mark and Jim.  After returning from the war Norry had very little money so he found a job for awhile in house construction until he bought the milk delivery service in the Minden area from Vic Silvrants and it became “Norry’s Delivery”, and was the first pasteurized milk sold in Minden.  The “Milk Man” continued delivering milk for over 20 years.  During this time he continued to play baseball and basketball for Minden in the Kansas-Nebraska League and town team ball.  Area teams would recruit him for tournaments and play-off games.  Many believed he could have played baseball in the minors or even major league ball.  Norry was a competitive golfer as well and had many thrilling tournaments against friends old and new.  At times his temper got the best of him and at one tournament he was seen climbing a tree to retrieve his putter.  He got pretty good at climbing trees.  

In 1972 Norry & Norma were hired to run the Pioneer Village Motel.  In 1982 they decided to visit their boys who all worked in or around Casper, Wyoming.  They ended up staying for 11 years.  They joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church and Norry became their “handy man/Janitor” for the entire church and pre-school.  They made a million friends and truly loved Wyoming.  

Norry decided to retire and they moved back to Minden to rekindle old friendships and live out the rest of their lives.  He played a lot of golf, cheered on the Whippets and the Huskers every weekend, and enjoyed painting on canvas as well as houses.  He did this well into his 80s and played golf until he was 92.

Norry also loved music, had a good voice and liked to sing.  He sang in school and then in the Navy.  He sang for the Bethany Lutheran Church choir, a barbershop quartet, and the Minden Chorus who were fantastic and entertained thousands in south central Nebraska and were loved by all who heard them sing.  There were many things going on in Norry’s life and these were but a few.

At the end of Norry’s life he would sit by his picture window and gaze at the sky, the trees, his lawn, the neighbors working and playing outdoors, the kids coming and going to and from school and watching them play on the school playground.  In his eyes you could see him looking back on 96 years of life.  And what a life.  I couldn’t imagine a better father.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife, his sister Luann and husband Roger, two sons Bob and Jim, daughter-in-law Janet Christensen and his childhood dog Rover, who after 90 years he still cherished and brought a tear to his eye when he told stories of their years together on the farm. 

Survivors include his son and daughter John Mark & Jane (Jensen) Christensen of Minden; daughter-in-law Karla Fandry and husband Jim of Grand Island;  granddaughters Heather Thesenvitz and husband Tom and great-granddaughters Kylie, Tarah (Moran), Tucker Norris, Elizabeth, Max and Molly and great-great granddaughter Amelia, and two great-great grandsons Bentley and Austin;  granddaughter Megan Duncan and her husband Shawn and great-grandchildren Kristian, Ariah and Madison, granddaughter Dana Fetters and her husband Donnie and great-grandchildren Mary, James, Ruth and Anna all from Colorado; granddaughter Brooke Graham and husband Eric and great-grand children Elijah and Isaac; granddaughter Robin Mortenson and husband Ty and great-granddaughters Ryleigh and Brynlee; grandson Jon Christensen and wife Maddie and great-granddaughter Murphie, and daughter-in-law Eddie Christensen and grandson John Christensen all from Wyoming. 

Expressions of caring, kindness plus memories and experiences with Norry, and memorials, can be sent to jmchris@rcom-ne.com or to Mark & Jane Christensen at 917 Q Road, Minden.  Memorials will be sent to local children’s charities.