Friday, December 28, 2012

Obituary for My Uncle Chris

Christian Arne Johansen came into this world in the middle of a Wisconsin blizzard in the small village of West Denmark. He was one of five children of Ansgar and Frederikke Johansen. He was preceded by the passing of brother Halvden and sister Ann Marie; and is survived by Valdemar (Wally) Johansen and Johanne Hansen as well as first cousins Kris Henriksen and Ellen Copeland.

Christian left Wisconsin as a teenager to work in the fields and barns of the Dakotas and California. He found himself in Solvang and Santa Clara, California working as a farm hand and among other things he attended the 1939 World's Fair in San Francisco. He attended Grand View College for a brief Winter course and found his way back out to California when the bombs started dropping on Pearl Harbor.
PFC Christian A Johansen was inducted into the US Army at Polk County Wisconsin and served with the 104th Infantry Division, K Company with distinction earning two Bronze Stars, a Presidential Citation, and Marksman Designation and was awarded his Sargent's stripes in field promotion while in combat in Europe. After meeting the Russians at the Rhine, Christian returned home and was able to join his brother Wally, who served as a Seabee at Iwo Jima, at home in Wisconsin for two weeks of leave. Later that year Christian was discharged from San Lois Obispo California. Christian remained an active member of "The National Timberwolf Association" attending many annual reunions until the last one in 2010. He maintained lifelong relationships with his war buddies.
Christian met the love of his life, Elsie Olsen, married, started farming in 1948, and a family in 1949. They moved to Iowa in 1954 and then to Des Moines, Elsie's home town, in 1958. Christian worked at Olsen Egg and then Plainsdale Eggs until his retirement. He was an active member of Luther Memorial Church and always treasured his roots in the Danish Lutheran traditions. Christian is survived by four children, Marilyn Coates, Robert Johansen, Gary Johansen and Janet Hockey. He also is survived by grandchildren Brent, Christian, Aaron, Leif, Rachel, Steffi, Karl, Timothy, Sarah, Amanda, Olivia and David as well as great grandchildren Angelique and Noah. He lost dear Elsie to cancer in 1996 after caring for her for over two years.
Christian was a member of the Highland Park VFW, the National Timberwolf Association and the Iowa Democratic Party. He loved gardening, camping, traveling and for a time, wine making. Most importantly, where ever he went, he was charming, winning friends everywhere with a smile and a quick wit. 
Funeral Celebrations will be held at 10:30 AM Monday, December 31 at Luther Memorial Church, 1201 Grandview Ave. Visitation will be held from 2 to 6 PM Sunday at Hamilton's Funeral Home, 605 Lyon Street in the East Village. 
Let us all learn to laugh in our pain and know that it is good to gather around our stories and then part in love carrying this life forward into our own.
Happy New Year and please remember to Love all of our Veterans
Memorials may be directed to Luther Memorial Church or to Hospice of Central Iowa.
Online condolences may be expressed at

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