ForeverMissed
Gregory Edward Christenson, 71 of Phoenix, Arizona went home to his Lord and Savior on Monday, September 21, 2020. Greg was surrounded by family and, as a faithful servant, finished his work here so incredibly well.

Greg was truly an inspiration to all who knew him with his positive attitude, joyful demeanor, great sense of humor and remarkable quick wit that drew people to him like a magnet. Greg was always grateful in all circumstances and he was awe-inspiring in how he handled his Inclusion Body Myositis (a rare muscle disease similar to ALS) which was diagnosed in 2009. Even with his physical limitations, his outlook on life soared to unbelievable heights. When he was diagnosed, he said, “Well, those aren’t the cards I wanted to be dealt, but I have to play this hand the very best I can.” People around him were in awe of his ability to persevere under his trials as he never let anything get him down or steal his joy. He grew to rely heavily on Mark 10:27, “With God all things are possible.”

Greg was born to Helen (Behles) and Alfred Christenson (both deceased), grew up in Mount Prospect, Illinois and attended Michigan State University after high school. He began his career at Moore Business Forms right out of college and met his wife, Joan (Hitzman) Christenson at Moore where he stole her heart and became her soulmate in 1989.  They were married for over 31 treasured years and Greg was the most incredible, generous and loving husband, father and friend to all who knew him. Greg always put everyone else before himself, especially his family; daughter, Erin Spray (fiancé-Mark Sterkel, grandson-Tyler) and son, Ryan Christenson (wife-Erica, grandchildren-Zachary, Marissa and Brock). Greg also worked at North American Paper and Shamrock Companies before retiring on disability due to his illness.

When Greg was younger, his aunt and uncle owned a pleasure farm in Wisconsin where Greg’s uncle taught Greg how to downhill ski, ski jump, hunt, fish and fly airplanes. His uncle taught Greg a love for the outdoors that became a passion in his adult life where he pursued many adventures to enjoy nature and its full beauty. The stories of his childhood on that farm with his aunt and uncle, cousins and siblings (Wayne Christenson-deceased and Susie Nicholson (spouse-Brian) were something out of a fiction novel, full of fun and adventure. Greg lived his life to the fullest and was always a happy and fun-loving soul. Greg had a long list of family, in-laws, nieces, nephews and friends who all adored this amazing man. Anyone who crossed Greg’s path is all the better for knowing him as he touched everyone’s hearts in a very special way and Greg will be terribly missed.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at Desert View Bible Church, 105 W Carefree Highway, Phoenix, AZ 85086 on November 21st, 2020 at 2:00 pm in the Worship Center.

In lieu of flowers, the family has designated two possible donation considerations:

Community of Faith at Glencroft which is a church community Joan and Greg were involved in launching on campus at Glencroft Center for Modern Aging when Joan was their Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Residential Services at this faith-based senior living community. The Pastor Joel Eidsness and his wife Sharon have developed a robust spiritual life program and light a spark in the senior population there as well as visitors to strive to make the invisible Christ visible. Please make checks out to Friendship Foundation Inc. and write on the check memo line – Community of Faith IMO Christenson or the funds will not be designated to the Community of Faith.Mail checks to the Friendship Foundation Inc., 8611 North 67th Avenue, Glendale, AZ 85302.

Barrow Neurological Foundation to support Dr. Knievel’s research at Barrow Neurological Institute. Gifts can be made online with a credit card at www.supportbarrow.org/donate or by check, payable to Barrow Neurological Foundation, 124 West Thomas Road, Suite 250, Phoenix, AZ 85013. Please write on the memo line of your check: IMO Greg Christenson.
Posted by Mary Ann Paroby on October 22, 2020
Greg was a wonderful neighbor and friend. He was always upbeat and so much fun to be around. He was an exceptional person who looked at life as a gift from God, being thankful for each day, even while living with a debilitating muscle disease. He was a great testimony to the love and grace of God. His strong faith comforts us as we know he is now with his Savior. We will forever miss him and his wonderful smile.
Posted by Teya Mcdermand on October 14, 2020
What a great guy! I worked with Greg early in my career and he always had time to help me. A true gentlemen and just a class act. He truly made peoples lives better for knowing him. I am blessed! Love to you and your family Joan. Please come to Florida anytime.
Posted by Mike Messina on October 6, 2020
Greg was a great man. Our mutual love of hunting made us friends. We went on an annual pheasant hunting trip to Wisconsin for more years than I can count. I always looked forward to seeing Greg on those trips and cherishing the time we spent together. Telling stories, sharing laughs and doing what we loved to do Greg always brought a smile and a happiness for life that was contagious to say the least. I didn’t see Greg much when he had gotten ill but our phone calls were never short of some good laughs and stories of the past. Miss you my friend!
Posted by Mariam Rudd on October 5, 2020
Bob and I have continued to pray for Greg during his last months here on earth. He was a wonderful man and we were blessed to have met him and worshipped together at the Community of Faith Church. He loved life and he certainly adored his family.  Joan, we love you as well and are praying for you and your family during this time.

Greg is completely whole and is enjoying being in the very presence of His Lord and Savior. One day we will join Greg and worship together again.

All our love.
Bob and Mim
Posted by Kerry Knievel on October 3, 2020
I will never forget Greg and feel incredibly fortunate to have known and cared for him. His calm demeanor, positive outlook on life and patience despite his progressive physical limitations is an inspiration to all! It was a pleasure to get to know Greg and Joan over the past several years. Greg left a mark on my life as with so many others at Barrow Neurological Institute and certainly everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him!
Posted by Daniel Herting on October 1, 2020
It has been my pleasure to have known Greg and Joan for almost 30 years. We met when Greg and I worked together for a short time and became good friends.
His attitude and outlook on life was always positive, particularly the last several years in spite of his ailment. In following Greg's journey in recent weeks through Joan's posts, it is evident that he had a very positive effect on many people, and I can certainly attest that he has had a positive effect on my life. I will truly miss our talks and his great smile. I keep Joan and the entire family in my prayers as his loss will be felt for quite some time. You will continue to be loved, my friend.
Posted by Beverly Trunick on September 30, 2020
Greg was the most loving and caring brother any girl could ask for. Any time I talked with Greg you could feel the love and caring in his voice. Mom and Dad will also be blessed with having Greg, their 'son', with them in heaven. They truly loved Greg! The marriage that Joan and Greg had was amazing to watch - so much love and caring for each other. My sincere condolences to Joan - my other sister!
Posted by Mary Nicolosi on September 30, 2020
Joan
What a beautiful tribute to Greg
You both have blessed me in so many ways
Greg was a good good man and his faith in our Savior Jesus turned him into a great man and blessing to everyone who knew him
I’m always here for you and right next door!
Love you
Mary
Posted by Bob De Garmo on September 30, 2020
I am grateful to have known Greg. His joy of life and positive attitude was contagious. His genuine interest in others made everyone feel special. We never forgot each others birthday, and when we talked it was as if we never missed a beat. God bless you Greg - you'll be missed but not forgotten.
Posted by Karen Jackson on September 30, 2020
My heartfelt condolences to Joan and family. I had the pleasure of having Greg as my Sales Manager at the Shamrock Companies. Greg was the kindest and most fair person I ever had the privilege of working for. Even after retiring and moving to Arizona Greg sent me a Christmas card every year and called me every birthday. He was and always be one of the greats. Fly high Greg, you will be missed.
Posted by Joan Christenson on September 30, 2020
God blessed me with the most incredible husband as Greg and I had an amazing marriage. I can say we never had even a quarrel in our 31+ years together. Loving Greg was so easy and my love for him deepened every single day we were together. I am grateful he is my eternal soulmate as I know I will be with him again.

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Mary Ann Paroby on October 22, 2020
Greg was a wonderful neighbor and friend. He was always upbeat and so much fun to be around. He was an exceptional person who looked at life as a gift from God, being thankful for each day, even while living with a debilitating muscle disease. He was a great testimony to the love and grace of God. His strong faith comforts us as we know he is now with his Savior. We will forever miss him and his wonderful smile.
Posted by Teya Mcdermand on October 14, 2020
What a great guy! I worked with Greg early in my career and he always had time to help me. A true gentlemen and just a class act. He truly made peoples lives better for knowing him. I am blessed! Love to you and your family Joan. Please come to Florida anytime.
Posted by Mike Messina on October 6, 2020
Greg was a great man. Our mutual love of hunting made us friends. We went on an annual pheasant hunting trip to Wisconsin for more years than I can count. I always looked forward to seeing Greg on those trips and cherishing the time we spent together. Telling stories, sharing laughs and doing what we loved to do Greg always brought a smile and a happiness for life that was contagious to say the least. I didn’t see Greg much when he had gotten ill but our phone calls were never short of some good laughs and stories of the past. Miss you my friend!
his Life

The Mighty White Hunter

Most women dream of a prince on a white horse riding into their life and sweeping them off their feet to live happily ever after.  Greg was more of a hunter on a horse with a rifle in hand ready to love, protect and provide with a joyful spirit and loyal heart.  My prince was Greg and he made my fairy tale come true.  He was the very best man God has ever created.
Recent stories

A Detour to Phoenix

Shared by Joan Christenson on October 11, 2020
In 2018, Bill Fischer and Dan Repas were in California on business and made a detour to stop in Phoenix to visit Greg before returning home to Ohio.  What a gift to Greg and a treasured memory as the boys went to the park next door to smoked cigars and shared stories.  This was the note that Dan sent along with this picture that was so precious to me I had to share some it with all of you.

Dear Joanie:  Words can’t describe the sorrow and pain I felt when I heard about Greg’s passing.  I hope that you are ok.  It’s never easy dealing with losing a loved one, especially one who was a tremendous person like Greg.  I read this once before and had to find it again because it made me think of Greg.  “When we lose someone we love, we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.”  I was truly blessed to meet Greg. He was such a source of knowledge in the business and more importantly shared with me how he always treated the customers and everyone else for that matter with kindness and respect.  We’d spend time sitting in his office and talk 5 mins of business and 55 mins of life.  Glad we got to stay in touch these past few years.  I have attached a photo of the time Bill and I paid you and Greg a visit. You can tell by the wide beaming smiles there is a mutual love for one another.  A copy of this photo is now hanging in my office. I was touched that when Greg heard I had relapsed that he made extra efforts to reach out – even though he couldn’t use the phone anymore.  Every time we talked he would always ask me first, “So how you doing?  How you feeling?”  and I’d fill him in on the details.  Then when I asked him, it was always,  “Joanie and I are doing great! She’s working hard and  I’m trading stocks and smoking cigars!”.  He never filled me in on his struggles. One thing we didn’t talk about when we worked together was our faith.  Over the past few years, it was comforting to have conversations with him about his faith and I know one day we will all be reunited together in eternal life. I send you nothing but love and compassion at this time.  Greg is gone but will never be forgotten.

Love, Dan Repas
Thank you Dan for passing along a great photo of the three of you that I did not have and will treasure.

South Africa

Shared by Joan Christenson on September 30, 2020
For four years Greg researched and planned a hunting trip to South Africa to pursue and adventure of a lifetime.  I kept telling him I didn't want to go to South Africa and he kept saying, "You want to go, you just don't know it yet."  

Well sure enough in 2002, I went to South Africa to join Greg on his adventure.  He was right I wanted to go, I just didn't know it as it was a trip of a lifetime and a trip that Greg never could have done later in life due to his muscle disease.  The memories of that trip were amazing and it was truly a dream come true for Greg to be able to have such an awesome hunting experience.  

I am so glad he talked me into going as I cherish those memories.  I will especially remember hearing Greg and his professional hunter singing and laughing as they were driving into camp after Greg shot his cape buffalo.  You could hear them from a mile away and it was so contagious the entire camp was laughing by the time they arrived back.