Cover photo for James L Christensen's Obituary
James L Christensen Profile Photo
1934 James 2023

James L Christensen

June 7, 1934 — September 9, 2023

Breckenridge, Minnesota


James L. Christensen, affectionately known as "Jim," age 89, of Breckenridge, MN, went to his heavenly home on Saturday, September 9, 2023.  Jim was born June 7, 1934, to George and Minnie Christensen in Breckenridge, MN. He grew up on the family farm near Doran, MN. He attended elementary school in Doran and went on to graduate from Breckenridge High School in 1952.  During high school, he worked at Wings Pontiac greasing cars. After high school, Jim attended North Dakota State School of Science for 1 year studying auto mechanics. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy, and he served on Midway Island on the fire crew. He was honorably discharged in 1955 after his dad passed away.

After his service in the Navy, Jim began farming with his brother Ralph. He was a devoted son and brother, checking in with his mom daily, and always willing to help his sisters. His mom encouraged him to ask the neighbor girl, who was friends with his sister Arlene, for a date. He got the nerve up one winter day, and pitchfork in hand, asked Ione Wiertzema out. She joked that she had no choice but to say “yes.” On June 1, 1957, they were married and began a life of faith, family, friendships, and farming. 

Jim and Ione worked side by side on their farm near Doran. Raising 2 daughters, Jane and Joan, and 2 sons, Jeff and Jimmy. Jim loved being a farmer and loved that his sons and some of his grandsons continued to farm. His favorite time of year was harvest because his whole family was working together to get it done! In 1995 Jim and Ione retired and moved to Breckenridge. Jim still played an active role in the family farm, going to the farm every day to help Jeff and Jimmy. He enjoyed seeing his grandchildren at the farm and regularly shared his lunch with them, especially the rice crispy bars. 

Jim enjoyed following his children and grandchildren in all their activities, but his favorite spot was on the bleachers, next to Ione, cheering them on at football and basketball games. He also spent many hours playing Rook with family and friends and taught the grandkids to play, so he always had a partner to beat grandma!

Jim was a faithful follower of Jesus Christ and led his family with a faithful and tender heart full of love for the Lord. He was an active member of his church, serving on the church board and volunteering wherever and whenever he could.   

Jim’s dimpled grin and teasing, upbeat personality will be greatly missed by all who knew him, especially his daughter Joan Wileman and her husband Dan, his sons, Jeffrey and his wife, Rebekah, Jim and his wife Fran. His son-in-law, Cameron Gage and his wife Ronda.  Grandchildren, Jessica and her husband, Andrew Engdahl, Jennifer and her husband, Samuel Piper, Caleb and his wife, Jacie, Jordan and his wife, Hanayh, Ally, Elijah and his wife, Holly, Micah and his wife, Vanessa, Noah, Jonah, Ezra, Luke, and Levi Christensen, and great-grandchildren, Cameryn and Madison Engdahl, Esbern and Soren Piper, Cambri, Cannon, and Carsten Christensen, and Loie Christensen.  He is also survived by his dearly loved sisters, Beverly Christensen, Arlene Thompson, Del Mae Johnson and her, husband Al.  Many loved in-laws, nephews, nieces, cousins, and dear friends.

Jim is joyfully reunited in heaven with his wife Ione, an infant son, and his daughter Jane Gage.  His parents and brother, Ralph and his wife Bette, his sister, Charlotte Maher and her husband, Don, and his brother-in-law, Jerome Thompson preceded him in death.

Jim’s family would like to thank the Home Health Care and Nursing Home staff at St. Catherine’s for the compassionate care they gave the “ornery” old man, making his last few years more pleasant and enjoyable.

Visitation will be held on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, from 5 to 8 PM at Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home in Breckenridge. Visitation will continue Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at Harvest Outreach Church in Wahpeton from 10 to 11 AM followed by the 11 AM funeral service. Pastor Dominick Warne will be officiating the service. The burial will be held in Riverside Cemetery in Breckenridge. A live stream of the service will be available on the funeral home's website.


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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, September 12, 2023

5:00 - 8:00 pm (Central time)

Joseph Vertin & Sons Funeral Home

303 North Fifth Street, Breckenridge, MN 56520

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

Harvest Outreach Church (Wahpeton)

1155 21st Ave N, Wahpeton, ND 58075


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There will be visitation one hour prior. Livestreaming will be available for this event.

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