IaCMA Newsletter

Iowa City / County Management Association

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Nels “Chris” Andrew Christensen, 65, of Harrisburg, SD, passed away on May 12, 2016. The funeral service was held Monday, May 16, 2016 at his home church, The Ransom Church, located in Sioux Falls, SD.  Pastor Cody Tupps, of Ransom Church, officiated.  Funeral arrangements were handled by Heritage Funeral Home of Sioux Falls.

Deepest sympathy and prayers to the Christensen family from the IaCMA family.

Excerpts from his notice;

Nels Andrew Christensen was born on April 20, 1951 to Paul and Leila Christensen.  He grew up in Wessington Springs, SD where he graduated from High School in 1969.  He attended SDSU from 1969 to 1971.  In late 1971, he joined the SD National Army Nation Guard and went to Ft. Leonard Wood, MO for basic training.  He returned to SD on June 2, 1972 and on June 9, 1972 participated in the emergency duty for the Rapid City Flood.  In August 1972 he went to work for the SD Highway Patrol.  After returning from basic training, he became South Dakota’s youngest State Trooper.  His first assignment was in Corsica, SD.  He was later transferred to Aberdeen and then Deadwood, SD.

On April 20, 1977 he married Debra Kay Meyer in Sturgis, SD.  They made their home in Deadwood until 1985 when they moved to Custer, SD.  Nels went to work for the Custer County Sheriff’s Department as a Deputy Sheriff.  He later went back to college and obtained his BS in Criminal Justice in December 1995.  He would smile and tell people he was a slow learner as it took him 26 years to graduate from college.  He also worked as a volunteer coach, referee, sports writer and photographer with one of his heroes and favorite coaches, Larry Luitjens, and the Custer Wildcat Basketball team.  The Wildcats went to 6 state tournaments in his eight years in Custer.  Nels coached AAU basketball in the summer.  His boys won an AAU basketball championship during his six year coaching career.

Following retirement from Law Enforcement, he worked with Custom Micro Inc., as a computer programmer and for Gateway Computers.  In January of 2004, Nels was hired as the city administrator of Mobridge, SD.  In January of 2006, Nels and Deb moved out of state for the first time to Chariton, IA, where he served as city manager.  After Nels retired, he began substitute teaching in the Harrisburg and Sioux Falls School Districts, where he was frequently sought after.

Nels’ life loves included his family and friends, as he was known as a big teddy bear who freely passed out hugs to anyone in his path.  He enjoyed the yearly Christensen Family Pheasant Hunts, reading a great western novel, watching old western movies, The Denver Broncos, SDSU Jackrabbits and both Christian and country music.  He was extremely proud of his children and their accomplishments in college and work.  He did whatever work it took to support his family and put his children through college and always without complaining.

We know how much Nels loved the Lord.  You could see it in his smile a mile away.  It was his faith and devotion that kept the family strong through trials in life.  We are truly celebrating a great life and man.

Survivors include:  His wife, Deb Christensen; daughter Kellie (Jason) Steinmetz, grandchildren, Noah, Aspen and Soleigh of Bailey, CO; son Cody (Mary) Christensen and grandson, Isaac, of Brookings, SD; son Tyler Christensen of Santa Barbara, CA; his brothers, Kim Christensen of Wessington Springs, SD and Paul (Sandi) Christensen of Rapid City, SD; sister-in-law, Margaret Christensen; he is also survived by his in-laws, Jim and Marlys Meyer; brother and sister-in-law, Bryce and Sandi Sigman, Sturgis, SD; step-mother, Carol Christensen, Custer, SD; he is also survived by many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.

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