Cover photo for Agnes Theressa Christensen's Obituary
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1928 Agnes 2023

Agnes Theressa Christensen

November 11, 1928 — May 27, 2023

Ellendale

Early Saturday morning, May 27th, 2023, Agnes Theressa Christensen passed away peacefully in her beloved farmhouse near Bath Township where she had lived for over 70 years.  Agnes was born at Naeve Hospital in Albert Lea, Minnesota, on November 11,1928, to Lawrence and Olga Martin. She joined her brother, James, and sister, Katherine, on a farm site in Freeborn County where she grew to embrace the country life while developing the necessary hard work ethic required to “make a go of things”.  Agnes would share many stories about climbing the silo to throw down silage as a young child; hand milking cows before going to school only to come home to do it again (before meals and schoolwork); weeding onions in Hollandale, Mn, for 50 cents an hour so she could buy war bonds; ice-skating on Geneva Lake; memorizing and reciting poems during school programs—“Oh Captain! My Captain!” was a personal favorite.  She treasured having a kind mother who took good care of her family modeling the type of mother she would strive to become.  

Agnes attended District 7 country school during her younger years and graduated from Ellendale High School in 1947.  She attended church as a young child and was  confirmed at Community Lutheran Church in Geneva, Minnesota. Her faith was very important to her and later on as a mother she could always be found on Sunday morning in the back pew of the church with all her children in tow, some of whom still cringe at the memory of receiving a pinch as a reminder to sit still during the sermon. 

Agnes met her husband one fine Fall day as she handpicked the outer row of downed corn in a field across the road from where LeRoy Christensen was working on a farm site construction project.  Taking notice of her wavy blonde hair and hard working nature, he was encouraged to meet her by the other guys on the crew—“Hey Roy, go talk to her—you’ve been carrying that same board back and forth all morning!”  They were married October 29,1950, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa.  She and LeRoy lived In Waterloo, Iowa, and worked together at the Chamberlain Corporation living frugally while saving money to eventually buy the original Christensen family farm near Bath Township in Freeborn County. 

Over the next 36 years they raised 7 children: Sharon, Steven, Alan, Robert, Marilyne, Marianne and David.  Agnes was very proud of her family and worked tirelessly to provide many opportunities for her children through church activities, 4-H, school and community events. It was important to her that her children were raised in the church and as a result she provided endless car rides to choir practice, Sunday school, confirmation and Luther League activities. Ice cream socials, county fairs, local parades, fireworks displays and taking Sunday afternoon drives (often ending up at the local root beer stand) were some of the fun things she made sure her family enjoyed along with learning how to work.

Together Agnes and LeRoy raised and milked a small herd of dairy cows for over 40 years.  She especially loved her Jersey cows and was heartbroken when the herd had to be sold. Agnes was also known for her ability to provide a safe haven for orphan animals.  Her farmhouse porch was often converted into a temporary “nursery” where she provided tender loving care to baby lambs, ducks, goats, turkeys and, of course, chickens. As they grew, it sometimes became a challenge to keep them contained in their quarters. More than once, a confused critter managed to escape!

Agnes had a huge garden which provided many healthy family meals as well as the opportunity to fill the cellar with canned goods. Later in the summer she would bring home crates of peaches, pears and apricots to can along with homemade applesauce and her memorable pickles. She baked 13 loaves of bread at a time which vanished in a week especially when the slices were smothered with butter from the Clarks Grove Creamery.

At some point Agnes decided that she should get a job outside the home (during her spare time)! She started working for an agency providing part-time home care for elderly clients and moved on to cleaning homes in Albert Lea for a “chore service” company. Later she got involved in cleaning the Hope Elevator.  Eventually she found her “dream job” working for the Geneva Elevator on their “Chicken Crew” traveling by van to huge hen houses in Iowa and Minnesota where she helped load, unload and debeak birds. She loved the people she worked with, the long van rides where she could nap and in the process, experienced a huge sense of accomplishment from the work she did for the farmers.  She stayed on the job until she was 79 years old. Truth be told, she loved chickens!  Throughout her life she raised laying hens and sold eggs.  Even at the age of 94 she was highly involved in the management of her 350 chickens while her son did the associated physical work. It was a great partnership.

Agnes had many interests including helping her children with their 4-H fair projects and serving in a leadership role for the local 4-H club, going to auctions & garage sales, “junking” which involved finding and selling treasures (she was quite the wheeler-dealer!), attending the county fairs as well as the Minnesota State Fair, and finding items to sell on the radio (Party Line and Trading Post were favorites). Her distinctive voice could even be heard on the radio within the past two weeks.  

A child of the depression era, Agnes worked very hard and in the process learned to pinch pennies, stretch a dollar, save for a rainy day and never throw anything away as it might be needed one day! Those experiences created such values as learning to work together, putting others before yourself, focusing on the simple things in life, and making the best of a difficult situation by having a strong faith that things would get better. Agnes disliked debt so much that bills were paid “before the ink was dry”.  In keeping with that philosophy she prepaid her funeral 16 years ago.  The message she wrote at that time (to be shared with her loved ones) was as follows, “do a lot of things with your family. They will grow up fast then you can think about all the other things.”  

Agnes was a very independent woman with a strong will to live. She was sharp as a tack, managing all her finances including completing this year’s tax records! It was hard for her to accept the limitations placed on her by her aging body as she still had lots of things she wanted to do!  A recent infection this Spring landed her in the hospital, taking a toll on her body.  She was determined to get home and did so with the assistance of St. Croix Hospice and their incredible team (Crystal, Samantha, Angela, Julia, Rachel, Emery, and Pastor Scott) who provided exceptional care. You are all angels! In addition, we want to thank Vickie Tostenson and Chelsea Johnson, two wonderful “neighbor” women who helped her get ready for bed each evening. While it may have been difficult at times for Agnes to be dependent on the care of others, she loved their visits. 

A special thank you goes to her son, David. After the death of husband & father, LeRoy, David moved back home from Arkansas. He has spent the past 20 years living with Agnes providing assistance on the farm as well as the most tender, loving care especially during this past year. They were the best of friends helping each other make their way in the world. We are eternally grateful.

Agnes was preceded in death by her husband, LeRoy Christensen, infant daughter, Gloria, and son, Alan; sister, Katherine Christianson; and brother, James Martin.  She is survived by daughters: Sharon Christensen (Doug Ezell), Billings, MT; Marilyne Donahue (Greg), Albert Lea; Marianne Christensen, Ellendale; and sons: Steven Christensen (Judy), Ellendale; Robert Christensen (Linda), Albert Lea; David Christensen, Ellendale. Grandchildren: Daniel Christensen (JoAnn), Plymouth, Mn;  Nicole Milender (Nathan), Lake Elmo, Mn; Molly Jacobson (Caleb), Miles City, MT; Andrew Ezell, Billings, MT; Ben Christensen (Hannah), New London, Mn; Caty Nelson, Mankato, Mn; Emily Christensen, Albert Lea; and 11 Great Grandchildren: Henrik, Graham, Ivan, Isaac, Ruthanne, Miriam, Caleb, Abel, Charles, Clay and Cora as well as nieces and nephews. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to St. Croix Hospice and Community Lutheran Church in Geneva, Minn.—please designate the parking lot fund as Agnes was all about “repairing & maintaining what you have”. Any undesignated funds will be used to purchase a bench in her name near the poultry building at the Freeborn Country Fairgrounds.  Agnes was very proud of the fact that the Bath-Geneva 4-H club provided the cement floor for that particular building while she was a Key Leader—a much needed improvement.

Per Agnes’s request, a private graveside service for family will be held at the Geneva Cemetery in Geneva, Minnesota. Honorary pallbearers are her grandchildren.  A Celebration of Life gathering for family and friends will be held at the Community Lutheran Church in Geneva, Minnesota, on Sunday afternoon, June 4th, 2023, from 3-5 pm. The coffee pot will be on as it always was in her family home!

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Agnes Theressa Christensen, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Sunday, June 4, 2023

3:00 - 5:00 pm (Central time)

Community Lutheran Church

106 3rd St SE, Geneva, MN 56035

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