It is with sadness, but with deep gratitude for a life lived well, that we announce the peaceful passing of our dear father, grandfather, and husband Robert Alfred Christenson Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in Sandy, Utah.
Robert was born to Dr. Virgil Alfred Christenson and Beatrice Victoria Filosa on April 12, 1938 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Robert was known to enjoy roaming the streets around his childhood home off Yalecrest Avenue, eventually graduating from East High School. He would go on to graduate Cum Laude from the University of Utah with his Bachelor of Science degree in History along with his high school teaching certificate. The passing of Robert’s father during his eighteenth year would have a deep impact on him, which was a catalyst for him to continue his studies at Brigham Young University.
While attending BYU, Robert met his sweetheart Carolyn and knew right away that she was special. Robert and Carolyn were married in the Salt Lake City Temple in August of 1961. Following their marriage, they moved into student housing, while he completed his graduate schooling. Carolyn went to work providing Robert the opportunity to focus on his studies and by the time of his graduation Robert and Carolyn had added three children to their family. His studies at BYU resulted in him earning his Master of Philosophy in Child Development and Family Relationships and then his Doctorate of Philosophy in Family Relationships.
An important part of Robert’s life was duty and service to his country and fellowmen. He served in the United States Army starting 1956 and continued until being honorably discharged in September, 1964 with the Army Reserve. Robert received his Parachutist Badge during the course of his training and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant. He also participated in Special Forces training and qualified to be a “Green Beret.”
In 1970, after graduating, he accepted a position to teach in the Liberal Arts Department at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Interestingly, this was in the same area he faithfully served a mission for his church, known as the California Mission, and grew to love the places and people. While in California Robert and Carolyn would add two more children to complete their family. Robert would go on to teach for over 30 years at Cal Poly, becoming the central point of both his professional and personal life.
Teaching was not just Robert’s profession, but it was his life’s calling. Robert was a lifelong faithful member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and served in many different callings, but it was his calling as a Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher for most of our lives that we will cherish and most remember. Teaching did not make Robert an affluent person, but he provided a stable and happy home that was rich with laughter. Family was the focal point of Robert’s life and if you could ask him, he would answer that seeing the development and growth of each of his children made him one of the wealthiest individuals to ever live. Instead of trips around the world Robert and Carolyn would load up the kids and head out to a variety of camping and outdoor destinations all across California and Utah.
Robert has not only made an impact on his family’s lives, but for many couples he provided counseling too. Anytime the Bishop would have a couple in need of counseling, but unable to afford the cost, they would be sent to our dad who would provide this service for free. In retirement Robert enjoyed his calling to serve in the temple and profoundly enjoyed a mission in the Family and Church History Mission as a book binder. We will miss his witty dry sense of humor, his ability to bring a life lesson into any situation, and the great example of someone who genuinely cared to know what you were thinking and feeling. Rest is finally here. We will miss you but we will once again joke around when we meet again.
Robert was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Carolyn, his parents, his sisters, Beatrice, Mary Ann, and Dorothea. He is survived by his children Chadley (Robert) Landreth, Heather (Alan) Greenall, Jason (Valerie) Christenson, Elizabeth (Matthew) Taylor, Jacob (Vanessa) Christenson, fourteen grandchildren; five great-grandchildren, and his brother Michael Christenson.
A viewing will take place from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at Larkin Mortuary, 260 East South Temple, Salt Lake City, Utah, where family and friends may visit. Graveside services will be held at 12:00 noon at the Salt Lake City Cemetery, where interment will occur following the service.