It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Thomas E. Christiansen, who passed away on Nov. 5, 2018, at The HealthCenter.
Tom was born to Chris and Jennie (Hendricksen) Christiansen in Sidney on April 15, 1924. He was the youngest of six children and was raised on the family farm in the Brorson community.
In 1944, during World War II, Tom joined the Infantry Division of the U.S. Army. He served in the Philippines and in Japan. He was most proud of earning the “Infantry Combat Badge” for 30 days in combat. Although Tom did not like to talk about his time in the war, he was profoundly impacted and honored by a trip to Washington, D.C., through the Honor Flight organization in 2008 to view the World War II Memorial.
When he returned to Montana in 1946, he worked for Holly Sugar in Sidney and soon after enrolled in Auto Mechanic school in Fargo, North Dakota. Always a charmer, he found a job cleaning a restaurant in the evenings, and in turn, they fed him three meals a day and the owners became his family away from home. After he completed school, he worked in Sidney for the Richland County Road Department, and then for Whitaker Motors in Sidney.
In 1948, at a country barn dance, a beautiful young lady, Rosemary Conroy, caught his eye. There began a 70-year romance.
They married Dec. 30, 1950. In 1955, they pulled their mobile home behind their pickup and headed west to Whitefish.
Tom had heard of the Anaconda Aluminum Company in Columbia Falls, and thought he would seek employment there. He started at the plant and continued there until his retirement in 1986.
Tom and Rosemary had their first daughter, Donna, in 1961 and their second daughter, Joyce, in 1965. Life was full and busy. When not working, the family enjoyed camping, fishing, hunting and travel.
We have story upon story and memory upon memory of family escapades and adventures.
All who knew Tom would agree there was no one more honest, kind and giving. He was always willing to lend a hand or his ear in times of need. He handled life with grace, love and always a good joke or two ... or three.
Tom is survived by his wife of almost 68 years, Rosemary; his daughter Donna (Royal) Norris, and daughter Joyce (John) Morris; grandchildren, Zachary (Shanet) Norris, Stephanie (Mike) Catlett, and Christian Lomax. He also has one great-grandchild, Sophie Catlett.
If desired, donations may be made in Tom’s memory to Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 2770, Columbia Falls, MT 59912, or Honor Flight, Inc., 175 South Tuttle Road, Springfield, OH 45505. Services will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. A reception will follow.
We want to express our warmest gratitude to the nurses and caregivers at The HealthCenter, The Retreat at Buffalo Hill, and Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Their care, concern and dedication is top-notch. An additional thank you to Dr. Woodward and Dr. Lessmeier for guiding and leading us through Tom’s illness.
We know he left a warm spot in your hearts through this journey, and you all have left one in ours. Thank you.
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the man who died. Rather, we should thank God that such a man lived.” General George S. Patton.
Friends are encouraged to visit the website, www.buffalohillfh.com, to leave notes of condolences for the family. Buffalo Hill Funeral Home and Crematory is caring for the family.