Lowell Howard Christensen


USAF Lieutenant Colonel Lowell "Chris" Howard Christensen, 83, of Las Vegas, passed away Nov. 29, 2017 surrounded by his loving family. He was born Oct. 11, 1934, in Ishpeming, Mi., and had resided in Las Vegas for 33 years spending 17 joyful summers in the Upper Peninsula. Lowell was married 57 years to Mary "Toni" A. S. Christensen.

Son of Charles, a Norwegian immigrant, and Tirzah Christensen, Lowell grew up in Champion, Mi., graduating from Michigan Tech with a BS in mechanical engineering in 1956. While at Tech, he was a brother of the Beta Chapter of Theta Tau Fraternity, and met Mary on a blind date at a rivalry collegiate hockey game. They were married in Pittsburgh, Pa. in 1960. In addition to his wedding day, his proudest days were the births of his son and daughter.

Lowell enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1956 and proudly served the nation until 1984, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. During his service, Lowell bravely fought in the Vietnam and Cold Wars and was stationed across the country in places as remote as Alaska and as far away as Korea and Thailand as well as a tour at Nellis Air Force Base in the Air Combat Evaluation Air Intercept Missile Evaluation (ACEVAL) unit. Over his distinguished military career, he used his navigating skills in the cockpits of the T-29, B-57, F-100s, C-118 and C-121 aircrafts and was a part of assignments requiring top military clearance. Lowell received many decorations and commendations, including being awarded two Bronze Stars, the military's fourth highest honor, for valiant and heroic actions in the Vietnam War.

After retiring from the military, Lowell joined Hughes Aircraft Company working at the Nevada Test Site and Area 51 until he retired from civilian life in 1998. Lowell also earned a master's degree in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University.

He spent much of his retirement years on Lake Ruth in Three Lakes, Mi., with Mary, enjoying the company of dear friends, Tom and Jan Heikkinen, as well as that of family and childhood friends. Lowell loved Mary and his family, the UP, Runnin' Rebel basketball games (section 113), the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Tigers, computers, Willie Nelson, ABBA and coffee.

Lowell is survived by his beloved wife, Mary; his son, Drew R. Christensen, and daughter-in-law, Nell, of Las Vegas; his daughter, Dawn K. Christensen, of Henderson; grandchildren, Chase, Caden, Chloe and Cole; and loyal furry companion, Lenny. He is also survived by his brother, Claude and his wife, Bertha, of El Paso, Tx.; and Claude's children, Joe, David, Betsy, Steven, Karin, Robert, James and Jane; as well as much extended family. He is preceded by his parents, Charles and Tirzah; and his in-laws, August and Mary Schimmel.

A memorial will be private. As Lowell was a proud member of the Champion-Beacon-Humboldt Historical Society, donations in his honor are appreciated. www.cbhhs.org

"Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened."