Colleen J. Christensen, age 68 of Willmar, passed away Thursday morning, Mar. 22, at the Mayo Clinic Hospitala�"St. Mary's Campus in Rochester.
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.