Funeral services for John Earl Christensen, 95, will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, February 5, 2015, at First United Methodist Church in Newcastle, Wyoming, with Pastor Jeff Thoms officiating. Visitation will also be held Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. The family prefers memorial contributions to the Newcastle Lodge #13 building fund or to Mondell Heights Retirement Community.
Mr. Christensen died Saturday, January 31, 2015, at Mondell Heights surrounded by his family.
Earl, as he was best known, was born December 20, 1919, in Sheridan County at his grandparents’ home 10 miles from Sheridan, Wyoming, to John C. and Alma (Butterfield) Christensen. He was a graduate of Newcastle High School and went on to graduate from the University of Wyoming, College of Agriculture with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He returned to the family ranch north of Newcastle and continued ranching with his father. He married Mae Darlington on December 20, 1944, in Laramie, Wyoming. Together they continued life on the family ranch raising their four children.
Earl was active with organizing four wagon trains for which he was the head scout. The first and the last wagon trains ended up at the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas. There were many friends and neighbors that joined in on the trips. He also stayed busy as an active member of the community. He was Past Master Newcastle Lodge #13 AF&AM, Past Patron Newcastle Chapter #30 Order of Eastern Star, 33° Mason Scottish Rite of Sheridan, Past Potentate Kalif Shrine, Past Grand Guardian of Jobs Daughters, Past Grand Patron Order Of Eastern Star, Past Grand Master AF&AM Of WY and a member of the Newcastle Methodist Church. When Kalif Shrine celebrated its 100th anniversary, Earl was selected Shrine Mason of the Century. He served as State Senator for 24 years and became President of the State Senate in 1969. He also helped form the original Tri County Board of REA, was a board member of Tri County REA from 1945-1959, and served on the Joint Powers Board and the Weston County Fair Board. He also had a love of music and playing his washtub with the Hillbilly Band at the Manor and Mondell Heights.
Surviving him are his four children, Wayne (Judith) Christensen of Newcastle, Janet (David) Schultz of Newcastle, Janice (Steve) Langer of Upton, Wyoming and Walter (Launa) Christensen of Newcastle; fourteen grandchildren, Cody (Jennifer) Christensen of Casper, Wyoming, Wade (Tonya) Christensen of Newcastle, Guy (Dayna) of Buffalo, Wyoming, Ty (Jenn) of Rapid City, South Dakota, Greg Schultz of Newcastle, Christian (Vanessa) Schultz of Mission Viejo, California, Karma (Tim) Rysell of Newcastle, Scott (Jane) Stroh of Bozeman, Montana, Ross (Misty) Langer of Douglas, Wyoming, Clint (Jill) Langer of Sheridan, Gail (Shane) Lee of Gillette, Wyoming, Ryan (Nicole) Christensen of Sheridan, Ty (Diane) Christensen of Newcastle and Melissa Christensen of Spearfish, South Dakota; 24 great grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. Also surviving are two sisters Anna Jennette Morrison and Ruth D’Amico; two sisters-in-law, Bette (Frank) Neal and Kris Darlington, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Preceding him in death were his wife, Mae; his parents, John and Alma; one sister, Elsie and infant grandchild, Michael.