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Florence Christensen, wife of Ballet West founder, dies

Published: Saturday, Dec. 31 2011 11:12 a.m. MST

Florence Christensen, wife of the late Willam Christensen, founder of Ballet West, passed away Thursday night.

Born Feb. 11, 1917, in Salt Lake City, Christensen grew up in an extremely artistic and musical family, one of eight children. Christensen's instrument of choice was her voice; she was a talented opera singer.

After graduating from East High School, she attended the University of Utah and graduated from Brigham Young University. She met her first husband, Air Force Lt. William K. Goeglein, who also happened to be an East High alumnus, while serving as a Red Cross volunteer in London during World War II. The two eventually married and had four children, enjoying 19 years of marriage before William died of cancer at the young age of 47.

After that, daughter Linda Christensen said, mom just didn't date, struggling to get over the death of her husband.

Until she met Willam Christensen.

Their first date was "The Nutcracker," and "Mr. C" swept her off her feet and Florence became "Mrs. C" within the year. They were married for 28 happy years until William died in 2001.

During her marriage to Willam, Florence Christensen adopted the Ballet West family as her own, her daughter said.

"They just adored her and she adored them," Linda Christensen said.

She stayed heavily involved with Ballet West after Willam died, even attending "The Nutcracker" for a final time on Dec. 17.

Christensen was also very involved with the Salt Lake City Garden Club and Daughters of Utah Pioneers, among other groups, and worked for the American Heart Association for 15 years.

She'll be remembered, her daughter said, for being especially devoted to her husband, children and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was especially passionate about gardening, cooking, sewing and, of course, the arts.

Linda Christensen described her mother as elegant, tolerant, courageous and deeply kind.

"My biggest goal in life would be to be just half as nice as my mother," she said.

In her lifetime, Florence Christensen made many, many friends — a lot of them rushing to offer their condolences.

"This phone has not stopped ringing," Linda said.

Email: hbowler@desnews.com

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