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A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, April 13, at the First Presbyterian Church in Willmar followed by a social dance at Colleen's School of Dance (132 Benson Ave. SW). A private interment will be at Fairview Cemetery. Visitation will be from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, at Peterson Brothers Funeral Home in Willmar and will continue for one hour prior to the service on Friday at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials to the First Presbyterian Church Mission Fund are preferred. www.petersonbrothers.com
Colleen Joyce Christensen was born on March 9, 1950, in Willmar, Minnesota, the daughter of Marion Jerome Jr. and Corleen (Crosby) Scanlon. She grew up in Willmar and graduated from Willmar High School in 1968. Colleen attended college at the University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University and the University of Wisconsin and graduated with a degree in Physical Education and Health. On August 18, 1972, Colleen was united in marriage to George A. Christensen. They made their home in Beloit, Wisconsin where Colleen worked as a substitute teacher in the Beloit School District. In 1980, they moved to Willmar and in 1982, Colleen founded Colleen's School of Dance. She owned and operated the dance studio for 25 years. She was a member of the First Presbyterian Church and active in choir, bible study, mission trips and Christian Women United. She was also active with numerous dancing associations and the local DFL Party.
Growing up, Colleen was a vibrant force full of laughter and fun, roller skating in Spicer, cheering for the Cardinals and singing in the choir. On summer days she could be spotted slalom skiing around Green Lake or cruising around with friends in the family's convertible.
Colleen lived a bold life filled with adventure and reinvention. She studied to be a teacher, started her own dance school at 32, and returned to college and started a new career as a medical assistant at 54. She traveled the world, taking dozens of trips with her family and friends.
Colleen's boundless generosity was evident to anyone who knew her. Together with her husband George, Colleen opened her home to dancers, foreign exchange students, family members, and friends. Colleen spent the last twenty years exploring life with her beloved grandchildren, Josie, Alex, and Elliot. Colleen insisted that her grandchildren splash in mud puddles, she taught them each to swim, and she brought them on trips to Europe, Hawaii, California, New York, and Florida.
She is survived by her loving husband, George Christensen of Willmar; two daughters, Kari Erickson of Motley and Cory Christensen of Willmar; three grandchildren, Josie Erickson, Alex Erickson and Elliot Christensen; and two sisters, Cathy Kircher of Seattle, WA., and Nancy (and Bill) Orta of Tucson, AZ., besides other relatives and friends.
She was preceded in death by her parents and one sister, Mary in infancy.
I have fond memories of Roller Skating in spicer Colleens mom drove us then when more kids wanted in my mom drove too. I too water skied on Green Lake like roller skating was just a bunch of kids having fun no couples no complications..May God bless Colleen and her Family.I am sending My Heartfelt Condolences to George . I know how I felt losing a partner.(s) No One knows how it is for you George. I am so sorry . Colleen is special and will be remembered for a long timeWith Much LoveJim Wilger Naples Idaho
James Wilger - April 12 at 09:54 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
My heart goes out to George, Kari, Corrie, and Nancy! I am so sorry for loss. Everyone loved your mother. She was so kind, giving and loving to anyone she met. She will be missed, and all of her memories will go on forever. Thank you for letting me stay with your mother and wife. It meant a lot to me and if there is anything I can do for any of you, i'll Be there. My sincerest and deepest sympathies to you and your whole family. Love to you all .
Christina Ann Berenberg - March 22 at 06:58 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Please forgive me for leaving Cathy out of my earlier post. Cathy is Colleen's sister who came in from Washington State! My sincerest condolences to you Cathy.. from the family. She is as lovely as the other girls.
Christina Ann Berenberg - March 22 at 07:49 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Richard Taylor lit a candle in memory of Colleen J. Christensen
Richard Taylor - March 22 at 10:18 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Darcy Forkrud lit a candle in memory of Colleen J. Christensen
Darcy Forkrud - March 22 at 11:02 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Colleen was a compassionate, colleague, teacher, nurse and friend. She accepted challenges and enjoyed working with and helping those around her be the best they could be. Thank you for sharing her time with us here at ACMC. We will remember her always. My deepest sympathy.
Emily Hayden D.O. - March 23 at 09:11 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Colleen was an incredibly kind and caring woman. My deepest sympathy to George and the entire family. One of my favorite memories is Colleen teaching me to tap dance at my surprise 40th birthday party....My thoughts are with the family.
Mike Fischer - March 23 at 10:00 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
In 1966, I Thought Colleen. The Neatest, Cowutest, Loving Girl I Ever Knew. Colleen was So Cool & What an Accepting Girl SheWas- George Knows How Much I Felt for His Loving Wife - & Family. Today, March 26, I Just Came Across That Special Gal Colleen on Facebook Somehow & I Found It So Hard to Accept. Always Loving All You Guys!
Dwayne & Linda Larson - March 26 at 07:08 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Colleen had such a tremendous impact on me and so many other girls who had the honor of dancing with her studio throughout the years. She was an amazing teacher, mentor and role model, and I know I am one of many who can say that I would not be the woman I am today without her. My deepest sympathies, prayers and love to her husband, children and grandchildren and all who loved her. ~Lori Halvorson
Lori - March 23 at 11:42 AM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM
Colleen, George, and their daughters were a big part of my families life as I grew up. My sister, Melinda Thein (Taylor) was a part of Colleen's School of Dance her entire childhood life. I even had the opportunity to be a dancer at Colleen's School of Dance. Needless to say I was not as good as a dancer as my sister and I think Colleen would have agreed with that, but she instructed me to my fullest potential. Colleen was such a kind, energetic, and compassionate person that her presents was an honor to be around. She was never a person with a quick temper nor did she show outwardly that she was having a bad day. She will be greatly missed by many. Blessed be her memory.
Richard Taylor - March 23 at 03:50 PM Nov 30 -0001 12:00 AM