Val Rigby Christensen was born on September 27, 1935, to his parents [Leonard and Jennie Rigby Christensen] in their home in Hooper, Utah. He was raised primarily by his single- parent mother after his father passed away when Val was a young boy. He grew up on the Hooper farm that prepared him for a life of hard work and service to the Lord. His three brothers [Lynn, Leonard Junior, and Allan] and one sister [Eileen] were always positive examples in his life.
After graduation from Weber County High School, where he served as Student Body President, he attended Utah State University. He involved himself in many student leadership opportunities at USU before leaving for a mission to Western Canada. Upon returning from his mission, he continued his education at Utah State earning a bachelors and master's degrees. His educational goals eventually led to obtaining a doctorate degree at Michigan State University.
During the preparation for his mission to Western Canada from 1955-1957, Val located some employment at a local cannery. The owner's granddaughter, Ruth Ann Wood, attracted his interest, and before leaving for his mission, they agreed to correspond by mail. Upon returning home, they began an earnest courtship which led eventually to marriage in the Salt Lake Temple on August 15, 1958. Ruth Ann and Val are blessed with two sons and three daughters Kent, Bruce, Valerie, Koralie, and Sheryln.
Favorite memories come when the family reflects on the delightful camping events that everyone enjoyed. Especially the annual family reunion at Bear Lake. There were days and nights attending concerts, and other events including many Aggie athletic contests that brought the family together. Special trips and vacations are listed among the lasting memories. There are now 20 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren in the family. Val loved deeply his wife of 64 years and faithful children who brought much joy to his life.
Between 1960 and 1964, Val fulfilled an assignment in the United States Army. Achieving the rank of Captain and receiving the Army Commendation Medal upon his release. He then began a career in education, with a high school teaching assignment and eventually employment at Utah State University in 1967, where he retired after nearly 30 years of service in 1996 as Vice President of Student Services. He took satisfaction in the hundreds of hours he spent training students, community, and university leaders throughout the West. He was grateful for the recognition received by a number of organizations for his service, including the Distinguished Service Award presented by Utah State. The Val R. Christensen Service Center at Utah State, which involves hundreds of students in volunteer service, is named in his honor.
Added to the family and career responsibilities was extensive church service including Regional Representative, Stake President, Stake Presidency Counselor, High Councilor, Bishop, and Bishopric Counselor. In 1996, he was called as President of the Arizona Phoenix Mission where he and Ruth Ann grew in admiration and love for some faithful and devoted missionaries. Then he was called to service as a General Authority Seventy. During his service in the Seventy, he served in the presidencies of the Philippines, Australia/New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and American West Areas. He also served as Second Counselor in the Sunday School General Presidency. He accepted a call to serve as President of the new Rexburg Idaho Temple, 2008-2011, and grew to love the saints in the Upper Snake River Valley. He worked as a sealer in the Bountiful Temple for many years.
In addition to a wonderful and loving family, Val is most grateful for the opportunity to testify of the Savior in many locations around the world.
Val will be dearly missed by his loving wife Ruth Ann Wood Christensen, his faithful children Kent [Cara] Christensen, Bruce [Lisa] Christensen. Valerie Olsen [Eric], Koralie Smith [Carr], and Sheryln Doyle [Jef], and his brother Allan Christensen [Annette]. He was preceded in death by his parents and son-in-law, Carr Smith.
The family would like to thank the nurses with Renew Hospice and all the kind caring workers at Creekside Senior Living. He received great care over the past few years of his life.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, November 4, 2022, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Stake Center, 1476 North 300 West, Bountiful, Utah. A viewing will be held Thursday evening from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at Russon Mortuary, 295 North Main, Bountiful, Utah and Friday morning from 9:45-10:45 a.m. at the church prior to services. Interment- Clearfield City Cemetery.
Services will be streamed live on the Russon Brothers Mortuary Facebook page and on this obituary page. The live stream will begin about 10-15 minutes prior to the service and will be posted below.