Hal Merrill Christensen 1926 ~ 2012Hal Merrill Christensen ("Zote") passed away on April 18, 2012 because his body got old. His heart, however, remained "young and gay," as he would put it, until he slipped peacefully away. He was born in Richfield, Utah to Hanmer and Elvira Jensen Christensen on January 31, 1926, the third of six children. The family moved to Beaver in 1930 (the end of the rainbow for those in the know) when his father became the forest ranger of the Beaver Ranger District. Growing up in the Depression and spending summers with family at the Tushar Mountain ranger stations, without running water or indoor plumbing, gave him a perspective and appreciation for life which he never lost. His life changed forever in the third grade when he was smitten by a pretty, little, dark-haired girl named Mary Vie Murdock, and the romance and adventure began. He was a proud and ever-faithful graduate of Beaver High's class of '44 (so proud and enthusiastic that all of his children and grandchildren know by heart the school's fight song, though none attended BHS). He gave nicknames to most of the kids in Beaver his age, many of which stuck for life. Throughout his life he referred to those friends and family by their nicknames a sign of his love for them. Immediately upon graduation he enlisted in the Navy to fight for freedom in the Pacific. Following an honorable discharge, he returned to Beaver, swept Mary up in his arms and headed to the altar on September 8, 1946. The GI Bill made it possible for him to enroll at the University of Utah. Working full-time pumping gas and studying whenever and wherever he could, his most memorable moments at the U were cheering for Big Vern Gardner and Arnie Ferrin and co-captaining an intramural basketball team, made up mostly of Beaver boys which he named the Phi Atea Beavers to give the well-heeled fraternity teams something to think about.He entered law school at the U., moved to Washington D.C. and graduated from the Washington College of Law at American University in 1952. He began practicing law in D.C. in 1953 and spent nearly 30 years working for the American Dental Association as Director and Chief Counsel of the Washington office, spending much of his time lobbying for dental health legislation on Capitol Hill. He was a member of the D.C., Utah, Illinois, and U.S. Supreme Court bars. In 1983 he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Georgetown University.For 40 years he and his family resided in Chevy Chase, Maryland, on his beloved Langdrum Lane. He and Mary moved back to Beaver in 2002, spending 10 wonderful years there and in St. George. Most who knew him liked him, his quick smile, and his ever-ready joke or humorous story. He loved his family and friends, and anyone who was tolerant of others. However, he had no patience for bigots, airline ticket agents, or joggers, who he thought were just showing off. He was a friend to members of Congress, ranchers, plumbers, waitresses and mechanics.A lot of husbands can fix anything he could fix nothing, though he loved growing things and feeding birds. He loved his Washington Redskins, and their glory years, lamenting the day when new ownership bought and ruined them. He loved coaching his Somerset Apaches little league teams, block-parties on lower Langdrum, weekends with his family at the beach house on Fenwick Island, searching for his errant drives and watching the thoroughbreds train on Beaver's Canyon Breeze golf course (7th hole). He loved evenings in the backyard with his children, but was a merciless croquet player. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and loved his home teachers and bishops. And he loved his country and happily paid his taxes, considering his citizenship a great privilege and blessing wanting to give back to the country that had given him so many opportunities. Hal is survived by his wife Mary "Heartbeat," his brother Wayne "Snaz" (Anne), sons Hal "Pro" (Sharon), Bill "Manderfield" (Karrie), eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and in-laws George Sengstack and Ilene Christensen, and many other loving relatives. He is preceded in death by his parents, sisters Betty, Aleen Slaton "Girlie" (Howard), and brothers Coy "Buke," and Reed "Soph." The family wishes to thank the wonderful care givers of Rocky Mountain Hospice (Jeremy, Zack, Joyce, Chris), Barton Creek, Legacy House, Greg Barlow and, especially Marianne Murdock, Andrea Williams, Rose Hunt, all those at the Timberline, Arshel's, and the many kind and caring friends and neighbors in Beaver and St. George. Funeral services will be held on April 28. 2012 in the Beaver Third Ward chapel, 220 N Main St., Beaver, Utah, with visitation at 11:30am and the funeral at 1pm. Internment at the Mountain View Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at www.serenicare.com.
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