Darrell R. Christensen was born on April 29, 1926 at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Dickinson, ND to Peter and Bertha (Christensen) Christensen, originally of Denmark. He passed away peacefully Monday, August 5thsurrounded by family at Elim of Fargo. Darrell experienced many adventures in his 93 years of life, and loved to tell tales of all he had accomplished.
After attending school in Dickinson, ND, Darrell went to live with his sister in Westwood, CA. where he worked for the Western Pacific Railroad and the Red River Lumber Mill and Logging Company. Later he went to Seattle, WA to build destroyers for the Seattle Tacoma Shipyards. When each destroyer was completed, Darrell was able to ride the ship before turning it over, inspiring him join the Navy. Since he was underage at the time, he had to send a telegram to his family for approval.
Darrell served his boat training at Camp Bennion and Naval Training Camp at Farraget, ID, before being shipped to San Diego, CA and then on to Camp Shoemaker, and Treasure Island. He was then assigned to the U.S.S. General R.L. Howze in the South Pacific and later the U.S.S. Nassau Aircraft Carrier, in which he left for Mariana and Marshall Islands to join the fleet of Admiral Halsey. During his tour of duty in the South Pacific and northern China, he was awarded the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal with 3 Stars, the Philippine Liberation Medal with 1 star, and the WWII Victory Medal. At the time of the Peace Signing Treaty with Japan, Darrell’s ship went to Tsingtoa, China and helped liberate the area, later receiving the China Liberation Medal from General Chiang Kai-shek.
Darrell was discharged in 1946 at Bremerton, WA, with the rank of Coxswain. He was the Petty Officer of the 1st Division and Gun Captain of the 40mm. Gun Turret. After being discharged, Darrell pursued the Electrical and Refrigeration field.
On April 29, 1949 he married his friend whom he met the previous year, Beatrice Beckler in her family’s church in Scranton, ND. They had four children together and remained married for 70 wonderful years, until his death.
The Coast to Coast Store Furniture and Hardware then gave Darrell a position running the store, which he managed from 1949 until 1954 when the Standard Oil Company of Indiana offered him a position. This moved the family to Carrington, ND, where they lived for 10 years. While in Carrington, Darrell belonged to the Flying Club Corporation and owned a Cessna 150. He also belonged to the Carrington Traveling Member Association. His growing career eventually brought the family to Jamestown, ND and then on to Fargo, ND, where Darrell worked until his retirement in 1984.
Darrell had been a life member in the Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, all of Fargo, Elks Lodge, Jamestown, Americans that Enlisted Underage, Red River Danes, and long standing member of the Pilots Silver Wings Fraternity.
He is survived by his wife: Bea Christensen, Fargo, ND; two daughters: Lynn Elliot, Fargo, ND, Kristine Malmberg (Mark), Fargo, ND; son: Douglas J. Christensen, Phoenix, AZ; 5 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; 1 great great grandchild; brother; Donald L. Christensen (Patricia), Bloomington, MN
Preceded in death by parents, sisters Neva Christensen and Ruby Jeffrey, granddaughter Tina, and son Curtis.