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Blanche Christensen

April 19, 1912-Feb. 7, 2009

Blanche Christensen, 96, of Mahnomen, died peacefully on Saturday, February 7, 2009 at Mahnomen Health Center Nursing Home in Mahnomen.

Blanche was born to James Ernest and Betty Emma (Swanson) Barta on April 19, 1912 in rural Lake Grove Township, southeast of Waubun. After attending District 10 country school, she graduated in 1930 from Waubun High School, where she was on the championship girls' basketball team. On Sept. 15, 1931 she married Raymond E. "Ray" Christensen at Ogema. They made their home in the Waubun area before moving to Mahnomen in the late 1930s.

In Mahnomen, Ray operated a sand and gravel business until his retirement. He died Sept. 22, 1977. Blanche was employed at the Red Apple Café in Mahnomen for several years. From 1955 until 1981, however, she held several positions with the Mahnomen County government, including deputy county auditor, deputy county recorder and acting county assessor. She also worked one year (1969) with a State of Minnesota team conducting statewide property reassessments.

Blanche was a member of the Circles of Faith United Church of Christ, Waubun, and the VFW Auxiliary, Bejou. She was chosen as the 9th District VFW Auxiliary Volunteer of the Year in 1988. An active volunteer for much of her life, Blanche contributed time and energy to her church, the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, Mahnomen County Historical Society, Mahnomen County Council on Aging, Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), Mahnomen County Council on Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Center of Human Environment (founding organizer), and Mahube Community Council. She was honored at the Minnesota State Fair in 1982 as Mahnomen County Outstanding Senior Citizen of the Year.

Blanche was a wonderful homemaker and cook -- although she was disappointed that her 1950s homemade Chef Boyardee wild duck pizza never really caught on with her family.

In addition to her volunteer work, Blanche was an avid and excellent gardener, seamstress, crafter and quilter. She enjoyed camping, fishing, grouse hunting, travel, playing cards and time spent with her many friends. She set high standards, achieved great things, was a model example to all who knew her, and is fondly remembered by a number of her grandchildren and others as "The Old Wise One." Her faith in God sustained her throughout her life.

Surviving Blanche are her three sons, Raymond D. (Marilyn) Christensen of Mt. Rest, S.C.; Terry C. (Jo Anne) Christensen of Pillager, Minn., and Ronald R. (Sharon) Christensen of White Earth Lake, Ogema; 10 grandchildren; 18 great grandchildren; seven step-great grandchildren; and two great-great grandchildren; her sister-in-law, Marcy Barta; and her "extended" families descending from John Hariluk and Rudy Broucek.

Preceding her in death were her parents, husband, and one brother, Donald O. Barta.

Visitation will be held from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13 at Circles of Faith United Church of Christ in Waubun, followed by a 7 p.m. prayer service, and will continue Saturday for one hour prior to the start of services.

Funeral services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at Circles of Faith United Church of Christ.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be given to the Circles of Faith United Church of Christ in Blanche's name.

Arrangements have been entrusted to the Anderson-Mattson Funeral Home of Mahnomen and Winger, Minn. Condolences may be left online at