Larkin Mortuary

Betty Jean "B.J." Christensen
"How 'bout that"

03/29/1922 - 09/25/2017

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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.

Recent Condolences

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  • We loved B.J. in the Medical Laboratory Sciences Division, Department of Pathology. She was our admin assistant for many years – keeping all of us from taking ourselves too seriously, supporting us every day in our professional needs and personal lives. She was the first person our students met when they came to the office, and she always took good care of them (and of us). What a grand lady!

    — JoAnn Fenn
  • B.J. was more than a mother-in-law, she was a friend and confidant. She was incredible easy to please and never complained. She never forgot a birthday. She enjoyed and got a kick out of the simplest things.
    B.J. was a great example to our family: hard working, independent, intelligent, witty, enthusiastic, supportive and always smiling and laughing.
    Against all odds, B.J. managed to raise five fine men each displaying many of her endearing traits. They are a true tribute to their mother.
    Thanks to all that so willingly and sweetly cared for our beloved B.J. in her golden years.

    — Connie Peterson
  • Dear Scott, Tom, Cindy, Spence, Michelle, Tracy, Cheryl, Robert and Connie,
    I was so saddened to hear of BJ’s passing. What a great lady. I was so blessed to know her and feel her love. She was one in a million. I will always remember her smile and her charismatic personality. When she would come into the Dental Office, she would simply light up the place. What a blessing for me to get to know her. Thanks to each of you for having such a great mom and thanks to BJ for having such great kids. It was so much fun to read her obituary and relive some of her life. I hope you are all well and want you to know how much you have influenced my life. You are all loved and highly thought of. I would ask for God’s choicest blessing to be with each of you and for your happiness. May we celebrate BJ’s life and the blessings that follow. Love you all and miss(like crazy) seeing some of you on a regular basis. Thanks for a great life well lived.

    — Steven Sperry