Friday, October 6, 2023 6:55 pm
Lois Joan Wold Christenson (Bestemor, Norsk for grandmother) was born on Dec. 7, 1933 in Blooming Prairie, Minn., daughter of Konard and Signe Wold.
Lois passed away the morning of Sept. 27, 2023, 2 months shy of 90 at home in Red Wing, Minn., with her loving husband Paul by her side.
Loey grew up in Blooming Prairie, one of five siblings. She proved to be a precocious child, excelling academically while holding down two of the most coveted jobs in town: working at the movie theatre and setting up bowling pins by hand at the bowling lanes. In high school she was a Betty Davis look alike, valedictorian and the Soy Bean Queen runner up. In 1951, she attended St. Olaf College. She sang in the St. Olaf Choir as a first alto where she met her future husband, Paul Christenson during week one. She earned her degree in Christian Education and a minor in music. She graduated in 1955 and was married in 1956. After having 6 children in 9 years, they determined they had created enough voices for a choir.
Loey and Paul served in several parishes in Wisconsin and in 1972 moved to Decorah, Iowa. They continued to sing as a family group at the Nordic Fest every summer, toured Europe 3 times, recorded 3 albums and sang in churches all over the midwest. She sewed all of their costumes and led with her ethereal voice. While in Decorah, Loey wore many hats at First Lutheran Church. She conducted many of the choirs. She played organ and flute. She sewed banners and cooked for the multitudes making countless hot dish concoctions; all fueled by coffee and her trademark “Loey Rolls”. In 1977, Loey and Paul wagered their life savings to purchase the only ice cream place in town, The Whippy Dip. The primary purpose for the purchase was for Loey to have an outlet for her proficiency for puns and to “put the kids through college!”. The Whippy Dip quickly became loved not only for the ice cream but for its hilarious signs . After 8 years as manager, Loey made sure that the entire town of Decorah understood that ” The pun is the Lois form of humor”. The eternal jokester, her favorite day of the year was April 1st. She relished in glory if she could fool anyone that day, usually by plugging her nose while phoning them and convincingly creating an uncomfortable scenario for the victim that became believable. Recounting those stories at coffee time continued to give them life.
Loey and Paul moved to Evanston, IL where she worked as a recruiter for St. Olaf College Admissions in the greater Chicago area. She continued to drink copious amounts of coffee. They moved for one year to Sandnessjoen Norway where they served seven parishes. Their final move was to Red Wing where they owned and operated the Red Wing Blackbird Bed & Breakfast for 7 years. Loey continued to host and entertain the masses and was an active parishioner at United Lutheran Church where she was a constant in the choir. Always looking for a party, her favorite times of the day were spent with anyone willing to have a laugh and a cup of coffee at 10 am, 2pm, 10pm lovingly called “coffee times”. This tradition lasted until the very end. Loey was and still remains a role model for us all. Her loving kindness and brilliant humor was truly infectious and her love to gather old and new friends and family was unrivaled. In her quiet unassuming Loey way, she touched all in her midst and made them feel like they were home. She will be profoundly missed.
Lois is survived by her husband Paul Christenson; her six kids and grandchildren: Steven Christenson (Neige) children Hans and Laban. Ruth Sorenson (Arne) children Astri (Tim O’toole), Esther, Isaac, Lars (Sophie). Joel Christenson. Nathan Christenson (Susan) children Bryn, Noah, Solveig. Rachel Christenson (Peter Wrenleau). Thomas Christenson (Bobbi Dunphy); and sister Sonja Salveson (Warren).
She was preceded in death by her siblings Marylin Kaercher (Don), Allan Wold (Beverly), Harriet Matchen (George), Son-in -law Arne Sorenson.
Memorial service will be 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, at United Lutheran Church in Red Wing, Minn., with Reverend Justin Boeding officiating. The service will be live-streamed and can be viewed here . https://view.oneroomstreaming.com/index.php?data=MTY5NjAxMzM1NjI3NDEwMiZvbmVyb29tLWFkbWluJmNvcHlfbGluaw==
Visitation will be 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023, at Mahn Family Funeral Home, Bodelson-Mahn Chapel.
Private family burial will be at Our Saviors Lutheran Cemetery, Beldenville, Wis.
Memorials donations may be made to: Paul and Lois Christenson St. Olaf College Music Scholarship Fund, Vesterheim Norwegian Museum, World Central Kitchen or donor’s choice.
Our heartfelt love and thanks to the staff at Deer Crest Senior Living and St. Croix Hospice for their remarkable care for Loey.