Eugene “Gene” A. Christensen, 92, Glyndon, MN, died Saturday, October 14, 2023, at home, under care of Hospice of the Red River Valley. He was surrounded by his family.
Gene was born on August 28, 1931, in Ellsworth, WI, to Albert and Ruth (Carter) Christensen. After graduating from Moorhead High School in 1949, Gene spent 2 years in the Army. Following basic training Gene was stationed in Easin, Germany. He was a member of the 22nd Regiment Heavy Mortar Company 4th Division. Gene was the driver and radioman for his Captain, who sent Gene to officer candidate school in Fort Bening, GA. After his time in the service was complete Gene attended Moorhead State College, graduating in 1957 with a BS business education degree.
Gene married the love of his life, Betty Dreier, on August 8, 1951. They were married for 72 years.
Gene and Betty moved to West Fargo, ND where Gene taught business education. During his time in West Fargo, he developed the first Business Vocational Education program in North Dakota. Gene received the Teacher of the Year award as a West Fargo teacher. He always wore a suit and tie when he taught.
Gene was a member of the North Dakota Retriever Club. He trained Labrador retrievers and ran in licensed field trials winning many awards and titles with his dogs. He held every office in the Retriever Club and was given a lifetime membership. When Gene was training dogs, he drove a Cushmen motor scooter, Betty behind and Prince in the sidecar.
Gene began teaching at Moorhead Technical College in 1969. In 1970 Gene and Betty moved to rural Glyndon, MN where he started Bel Air Kennels. He boarded and trained dogs for many years.
Gene was a proud Shrine member. He was Master of the Moorhead Masonic Lodge and Master of the Scottish Rites. Gene became Potentate of Fargo El Zagal in 1996. He was a member of the Arab Patrol Unit. As Gene led at El Zagal, he was surrounded by good people. Saturday pancakes was a favorite event.
In his younger years, Gene attended Sunday School, Thursday School and was confirmed at Trinity Lutheran Church, and in his later years, he enjoyed being an usher.
Gene’s love of family was evident each day. Gene and Betty were devoted, loving and proud parents and grandparents and didn’t miss any of their children’s activities or events. He had a big smile and a hug whenever his children or grandchildren visited. His hobbies of fish tanks and his train set were enjoyed by his family and friends. Gene had a caring personality, was a kind man, and will be missed by all who knew him.
Gene is survived by his wife, Betty; children, LeAnn (Tony) England, Bruce Christensen and Kelli (Jim) Venzke; grandchildren, Brianne (Chad) Kalil, Luke England, Erin (Tony) Doll, Krissy (Mark) Arneson, Brett Kuehl, Tom Venzke (Bailey Bunnelle), Andrea (Bobby) Crane, Joel (Laurie) DeVenzke; great-grandchildren, McKenzie England, Daxton England, Harper Nelson, Cooper Kalil, Jackson Arneson, Jace Arneson, Bode Doll, Rory Doll, Jaidyn Crane, Robby Crane, Grayson Bunnell-Venzke; sister, Marie Tweten and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his daughter, Tracy Kuehl; son-in-law, Dale Kuehl; parents, Albert and Ruth Christensen; sister, Lorraine Olson; father and mother-in-law, Max and Rudine Dreier.