Don Christianson, age 84, a long-time resident of Wausau died at home on March 8, 2021, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Don was born March 2, 1937, to Orville and Alberta (Harris) Christianson in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jane, and his son Jay. He was preceded in death by his brother, Lynn, and his son Ben. After graduating from the Eau Claire public schools in 1955, he attended UW - Eau Claire and obtained a degree in elementary education. He was then employed by the Wausau School District to teach fifth grade at Longfellow School, and later, sixth grade at Central Washington School. Don truly enjoyed his fifth- and sixth-grade students.
At the end of his first year of teaching, Don married Jane Rand in Black River Falls and they departed for Boulder, Colorado where, after four summers, he obtained a Master’s Degree in school administration from the University of Colorado.
In 1966, Don was named principal of Stettin School. Over the next thirty years, he served as principal at Stettin, Hewitt-Texas, G.D. Jones, and Hawthorne Hills and, at the same time, built and directed the district’s audio–visual and elementary library programs. He was a past member of the Marathon County Retired Educators’ Association.
At the suggestion of neighbors, Don was asked to fill a vacancy on the Marathon County Board of Supervisors and the Wausau City Council representing Wausau’s second ward. He was later elected to the post and served a total of five years. During that time, he was appointed to serve on the Marathon County Park Commission and served continually until 2013.
He volunteered as a ski patroller on the Rib Mountain/Granite Peak Ski Patrol and served for several years as the patrol director.
He was a member of the Noon Optimist Club and served a term as the club president. He truly enjoyed working at the club’s many youth projects and he, Jane, and the boys, enjoyed working at the club’s brat and beer stands at the Wisconsin Valley Fair.
Toward the end of his career in education and part of retirement, Don took his life-time love of woodworking and began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity. He worked with other volunteers and the homes’ prospective owners to construct over thirty-five homes for deserving families. He enjoyed the work of building and watching the families move into their new homes.
Due to COVID, there will not be a visitation at this time.
Memorial funds will be donated to the Ben Christianson Earth Stewardship Scholarship.
Family and friends are asked to go to www.brainardfuneral.com to leave online condolences and words of remembrance.
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