MERRIFIELD -- Russell David Christensen, 84, died Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2002, at home.
He was born June 6, 1918, in Minneapolis to Frank and Ann Christensen. He attended the Jewish Community School in northern Minneapolis where he learned to play the cello. He attended North High School. During school he worked at Colonial Furniture. After high school he joined the Minneapolis Symphony and worked his way through college, eventually earning a master's degree with a minor in celestial navigation. He received flight training at Flying Cloud Airport in Minneapolis and became a pilot in 1936 for Pan American Airways.
In 1941 during World War II he was asked to train Navy and Army pilots in celestial navigation and obtained the highest rank of Master Ocean's Captain. He continued to work for Pan Am until 1952, when eh became a manufacturer's representative for the furniture industry. He sold furniture for Kent Coffee, Fairfield, Hickory Parlor, Sanborn and Chase. In 1960 he purchased a furniture store in Lincoln, Neb. He became president of both Furnitureland Products in Minneapolis, a showroom and a warehouse, and Fabric Cote Midwest, Inc., a fabric protection company. He purchased real estate in Beaver Lake, Ark., which formed the basis for his company D. Llessur, Inc. In 1963 he moved to Blowing Rock, N.C., and advanced to vice president sales manager of Bernhardt Industries. After retirement, he and his wife, Carolyn, began an organic farming and honeybee operation in Merrifield, known as Bonny Lake Farms. In 1969 he became Bernhardt's Midwest sales representative. He joined the Northern Lights Motorcycle Club in 1971.
Survivors include two sons, David, Lodi, Wis., and John, Minneapolis; and two grandsons.
His wife, a son, Terry, and a sister, Sophie Christensen, died earlier.
Services will be noon Sunday at the Mission Cemetery. Memorials are preferred to the Bahai Breakfast Club in Madison, Wis.
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