Betty Jean "B.J." Christensen
03/29/1922 - 09/25/2017
"How 'bout that"
Our cherished mother, relative and friend, Betty Jean Christensen, has left us, due to causes incident to just wearing-out after 95 years. She passed peacefully with family present at one of the care centers she’d called home the past several years. Our family’s loss is incalculable, and is surely a sad event for everyone who knew her. But this passing must not be cause for gloom, as that sentiment was of no use in B.J.’s realm and not now either.
B.J. was the daughter of Rollen and Vesta Lund Christensen, their only child. B.J.’s early years in eastern Utah’s coal towns gave way to the family’s relocation to the Liberty Park neighborhood in Salt Lake City, a venture so fraught with peril that the folks back in Carbon County worried that no one would ever see them again. But they survived, Rolly managing the fraternal Moose Lodge, Nanny working at The Paris department store, and B.J. as indefatigable dance partner at the Terrace Ballroom and Rainbow Rendevous. She attended the University of Utah, instinctively becoming a member of the Silver Spurs pep club, an avocation she never got over. B.J. was a loyal Ute fan and sports enthusiast, reacting with glee to every touchdown, home run or basket she ever saw a favored team score, though she could give a hoot about the rules of the game.
One could not have wished for a better mom, nor a more pleasant and supportive friend, co-worker, neighbor, or companion. Those she knew were always well received, never judged or begrudged, except for supercilious politicians, church prigs and one or two ex-husbands. It was impossible to douse her sunny disposition, bumps in the road be damned. Her children were taught bedrock principles, and we (tried to) learn to say nice things about people or not say anything at all (try doing that for nine decades as did she), that the Lord helps those who help themselves and that hard work never hurt anyone. It was an honor to attend to B.J. down the stretch (and to be most impressed with the dedication of the fine, and underappreciated, health care providers who served her as well). B.J.’s life force was especially directed toward her sons who survive her: Scott Welling, Thomas (Cindy), Spencer (Michelle) and Tracy (Cheryl) Dowell, plus stepson Robert (Connie) Peterson who became a full status kid under her wing as well. Her dance card included husbands Vern Welling, Robert Dowell, Art Peterson and Karl Kraft, and also long time, special companion Alvin Mitchell, all of whom went before her, as did step daughter JoDee Peterson.
B.J. earned her way through life raising children, abiding husbands’ imperfections and otherwise being employed as common nurse (to good old Dr. Albert Peterson), cashier (Villa Theatre – free movies!) and administrative assistant (U. of U. Pathology Department). Owing to a blue collar upbringing touched by the Great Depression, B.J.’s moral compass was fixed on self-reliance, honesty and compassion. She was a pretty woman, a lady in all respects, who never curried favor, was absolutely without guile or pretense, basically just happy to have what came her way. We are most proud and loving of our mother – and not only because she was like having a personal cheerleader bouncing by your side. In her wake she has left us a beacon, with which to reliably set and follow one’s course through life.
Please gather with us to celebrate this lady’s legacy with food and music on Monday, October 16, 2017, from noon until 2:00 p.m. at The Chateau at Larkin Sunset Gardens on 1910 E. Dimple Dell Road (10600 So. Sandy). Bring no flowers, just a pocket full of good cheer.