Raymond “Ray” Stanley Christianson, age 74, peacefully entered into his eternal home in heaven with a glorious reunion of his wife and family early morning on Saturday, January 26, 2019, at the Eastern Montana Veterans Home, Glendive, MT.
Ray was born on November 22, 1944, to James & Ruth (Lindevig) Christianson in Wolf Point, MT. Ray was raised on the farm along with his sister, Mary and brother, Harold south of Poplar, MT. He attended the grade schools in Hillcrest and Grandview and in1957, he attended grade school in Richey, MT. While in high school, Ray was in choir, track, threw horseshoes and was nicknamed “Ringer Ray.” While in school, Ray enjoyed helping his dad with farming and all the chores that went with that. He graduated from high school from Richey in 1964. After graduating he rented land north of Lambert & farmed there until the fall of 1969.
In his earlier days, Ray enjoyed bowling and bowled in different leagues for over 20 yrs. He also enjoyed fishing even though he didn’t like to eat fish. He later became a life member of the North American fishing club.
On January 12, 1970, Ray entered into the U.S. Navy as during the Vietnam War. He spent 2 years of active duty at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, TX. To earn extra money he worked in the Hobby Shop Garage where he did carpentry work. He was honorably discharged from active duty and was transferred to the Naval Reserves for 4 yrs. on January 12, 1976 he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy; and returned home to work on the farm until they sold it and moved to Sidney.
Around Valentine’s Day 1976, Ray met the love of his life, Marianne Bjornsen. His mom and Marianne’s friend did a little match-making and got the couple together. They were united in marriage on June 25, 1977 in Plentywood, MT. Ray worked at Western Implement for a year while they lived there. The couple moved back to Sidney and he worked at John Deere & Peavy Seed Plant. In this union brought two girls, Elaine and Diane, who were his pride and joy. In 1978, Ray enlisted in the Army National Guard, where he spent the next 10 yrs. He was a Food Service Specialist so he cooked for them and would always tell stories how he would use potato chips when making hamburgers and they raved about them.
One of Ray’s many talents was his woodworking; he didn’t have patterns, it was all in his mind. He would always say pointing to his head, “It’s all up here; I don’t have a pattern.” One of his greatest and best projects he did was a wooden Ferris wheel. He entered his “works of art” into many local fairs including Culbertson, Glendive and of course Sidney and was rewarded with many ribbons. He enjoyed going to his girls’ middle school shop class to help them with their wood projects. Ray was also very passionate about gardening; he planted corn, potatoes, and his favorite being radishes and much more. He used his farming skills by utilizing rain gutters and plastic tubes to “irrigate the garden.” Ray insisted to plant radishes and potatoes on Good Friday; it was always a success. His other passion and love was his cats. After his girls moved away they were his “kids” and they kept him on his toes. In visiting dad’s house, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that he had adopted another stray cat or two. Ray’s favorite TV show was the Dukes of Hazard, where he got where he would tease, “This is how I learned the law.” He also loved music- he enjoyed singing in church choirs, listening to music, especially country and hymns. He would often blare his music for the whole block to hear.
Every Christmas, his house was lit up like the Griswold house from the movie, National Lampoon’s Family Vacation. He always had something new, quirky to improve and build upon from the previous year. Marianne would get frustrated with how many Christmas lights were bought, however every year he always wanted to make it better. He always said he did it for other people’s enjoyment, and was happy to do it. Another tradition was that he made the Norwegian deserts, krumkake & rosettes. He made them for his sister-n-law Emelie’s & for Elaine’s wedding. He was talented at making them and made dozens of these Norwegian delicate treats to share.
Every year in September his family would attend the Threshing Bee in Culbertson, MT. Ray took part in the thrashing of hay, working on and driving tractors, while Marianne and the girls helped in the kitchen and food shack. It was a fun weekend we all looked forward to.
Ray and Marianne together along with the kids were a big part of American Legion and the Auxiliary. He was a life member and wore his uniform with MUCH pride to any and every event he could. He was very patriotic and very proud of being a part of the American Legion clubs. One of his many other talents included making the popular crepe paper flower, poppy. He volunteered many hours of his time making these complicated poppies. He truly enjoyed his hobbies and being creative in all aspects of his life.
Ray never thought of himself as old, he was just “29 & holding” and a big goofy kid. If you asked him how he was his doing, his response was “I'm goofy”. Whenever the girls would cut their hair he always says jokingly “I could have done it with a weed eater.” When Diane would leave after a visit with dad, he always had a quirky joke about her car having round wheels or having 4 tires. Ray always had a joke for everything and everyone. He LOVED visiting with people, and would go to various businesses in Sidney just to see people, visit and joke around.
In the fall of 2007, Ray experienced the Biggest miracle of his life, his re-dedication to Christ. He was always so excited and proud to tell his miraculous story of how God changed his life to everyone and anyone, whether they wanted to hear it or not. Even when he told it numerous times they would hear it again and again and again….even to his daughters. During this reformation, God delivered Him from his alcohol addiction and He gave all the credit to Jesus. He truly was a changed person, in which many people noticed, especially his girls.
Ray loved his grandkids very much and cherished time spent with them. He loved to make funny faces with them, play peek-a-boo, and tried making them laugh in any way he could. He loved getting them birthday and Christmas gifts. A memory we will cherish in your last days was when Isabella, screamed in the room, you lifted your head as high as you could, turned to us, and gave a huge smile. Also, you were so excited to see us and gave us a big smile and squeezed our hands.
Ray moved to the Glendive Eastern MT Veterans Home in the fall of 2015. The staff loved him, and he enjoyed teasing with them. Thank you to the staff who gave him great care in his last years.
Dad ~ you were eccentric at times but we love you & you will always be remembered for the quirky jokes and stories you always told, we will cherish the memories of you forever. We will miss you “Kid.”
Surviving him are: his daughters, Elaine (Aaron) Fields, Sidney, MT and Diane (Morten) Thomassen, Billings, MT; his grandchildren: Laryssa Fields, Madelyn and Issabella Thomassen; brother-in-law’s, Paul Strobel, Mounds, OK and Bernhard Bjornsen, Great Falls, MT; sister-in-law’s, Emelie (Oscar) Trunk, Ft. Benton and Helen (Peter) Bellonzi, Watsonville, CA; nieces and nephews, Marty (Cristina) Strobel, Andi (Wes) White, Lindsey (Brett) Jackson, Daniel, Nicole, and Abigail Bellonzi; 5 great nieces and nephews.
Ray was reunited with: parents; his wife, Marianne; brother; sister; a nephew, Ryan Strobel; grandparents; and father and mother-n- law, Bjorn and Esther Bjornsen.
(Sidney , Mt)
Jan 27, 2019
Eldon Dana Moos
Jan 28, 2019
Violet E Tharp
Jan 29, 2019
Lowell & Carol Jean Sandvik
Jan 30, 2019
Jan 30, 2019
Vern and Jan Brost
Jan 31, 2019
Feb 1, 2019
Feb 3, 2019
Feb 11, 2019