Duane (Dewey) Alfred Christenson, age 82, of St. Michael, died Friday, July 7, 2023.
He was born on April 6, 1941 to Bertram and Olga Christenson of Vance Creek, WI. He graduated from Unity High School in 1959 and entered the United States Navy that summer. Duane was stationed at Monterey, CA, and spent four years there. After leaving the Navy, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education from Southwest State, Marshall, MN. Duane later continued his education and graduated with a Master’s Degree in School Counseling and Specialist Degree to be a principal from Mankato State University, Mankato, MN. Duane started his teaching career in Maynard, MN, where he taught 6th grade. He left Maynard to take a counseling position in the Morton and Franklin, MN, school districts. It was the first day of teacher workshop on the front steps of the school in Morton, MN, where he met his future wife, Nadine.
On May 5, 1979, Duane was joined in marriage with Nadine (Weber) at St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Lake Benton, MN. God blessed their marriage with three children, Emily, Daniel, and David.
Duane held several positions in education after leaving Morton and Franklin schools. He was the High School Principal in Bricelyn, MN, and later the Superintendent at Granada-Huntley School District. It was in the fall of 1984 when Duane was hired as the Junior High Principal in St. Michael-Albertville School District in St. Michael, MN. He later moved to the St. Michael Elementary School as principal. At school Duane was known as “Mr. C”. He loved his students and they loved him. Duane was at every lunch duty and this is where he learned all his students’ names and got to know them. Duane also loved and supported his staff. His staff and colleagues always admired his great sense of humor and laid back personality. He enjoyed spending time with staff and loved playing basketball in the mornings before school. Mr. C had a lot of lines but one of his most memorable was “Friday – best day of the week.” He remained as principal there until his retirement in 2006. Upon retirement, Duane enjoyed spending time on his farm in Prairie Farm, WI, but most of all he loved spending time with his wife, children and grandchildren.
In 2011, Duane was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The disease progressed slowly but as the years passed more care was required. Duane spent the last two and a half years in memory care at the Engel Haus in Albertville, MN. Parkinson’s and dementia had slowly robbed him of doing all the things he loved. His family slowly watched their hero and strong role model leave them little by little.
The family thanks the Engel Haus staff for all the love and support Duane received there. We will be forever grateful.
Duane is survived by his wife of 44 years, Nadine; three children, Emily of Buffalo, MN, Daniel (Dominique) of Coon Rapids, MN, David (Jenn) of Lakeville, MN; four grandchildren, Aubrey, Blair, Reid, Blaine; brothers, Bob (Linda) of Osceola, WI, George of Prairie Farm, WI, Gary of Ridgeland, WI; several aunts, cousins, nieces, nephews; great nieces and nephews; as well as many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, Bertram and Olga Christenson; sisters, Shirlee (Southworth), Sonya (Christenson).
A Mass of Christian Burial was held on Tuesday, July 18 at 11:00 AM at the St. Michael Catholic Church, St. Michael, MN, with a visitation on Monday, July 17 from 4-8 PM and one hour prior to the service at the church on Tuesday.
Interment will be at Fort Snelling National Cemetery at a later date.