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Obituary: CHRISTENSEN, HAROLD

Published: Monday, Dec. 29 2014 5:37 a.m. MST

Harold P. Christensen1931 ~ 2012Harold Parley Christensen ("Chris"), beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully on March 27, 2012, following a valiant fight with cancer. Born April 16, 1931 in Provo, Utah, to Parley Alma and Ruth Jones Christensen, he grew up the son of an English professor and long-time chairman of BYU's English department from whom he gained a love for books -- and for sports. A graduate of BY High, Harold was a star athlete in tennis, football and basketball and was invited to play in the 1949 National East-West All-Star basketball game. He later attended BYU where he graduated with a degree in mathematics and was the starting point guard on BYU's 1951 NIT Championship team. He was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1954 NBA draft and in 1977 he was inducted into the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame. While at BYU, he met his sweetheart of 58 years, Joanne Stringham. They were married in the Salt Lake LDS temple in 1953 and together they created a loving, safe and secure home for their seven children. After graduation he served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, which would later provide the backdrop for dramatic bed-time stories about KC-97 and B-52 refueling missions. Following his military service he returned to Utah to complete a civil engineering degree at the University of Utah and begin his career as a consulting structural engineer in Salt Lake City for more than 40 years. Over the years his lifelong interest in sports and his ability to reach young men combined in many successful little league coaching ventures that produced successful high school, college and professional athletes, none of whom left his tutelage without learning well that winning always includes good sportsmanship. A faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he served in numerous callings, including as a member of the Melchizedek Priesthood General Board, a counselor in the Salt Lake Foothill Stake presidency, and a worker in the Salt Lake temple. From 1981-1984, he presided over the California Fresno Mission and is beloved to this day by the hundreds of former missionaries who served with him. His service is remembered for his conviction that God answers the earnest prayer and that every individual is a child of God deserving of love and acceptance. His unconditional loving-kindness for all was his hallmark virtue and will remain his greatest legacy. Harold is survived by his wife, Joanne, and their seven children: Lesli (Bruce) Collett, Craig (Shawna), Kim (Joel) Nance, Cindy (Steve) Harline, Kyle (Alyse), Kurt (Heather), Todd (Lyndsay), 28 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren. Our deep gratitude and thanks for the many doctors and nurses who attended to his care.Funeral services will be held at 12 pm on Monday, April 2, 2012, at the LDS Stake Center located at 2100 East 1930 South in Salt Lake City. Viewings will be held on Sunday evening, April 1, from 6-8 pm and on Monday from 10:30-11:30 am at the same location. Please leave tributes and memories for the family at www.larkinmortuary.com