Merle Christensen  1921 – 2013

Apr 15, 2013
Merle Christensen

Merle Christensen, 91, passed away peacefully at home on March 28, 2013, in Mount Vernon.

She was born in Seattle on July 19, 1921, to Ival Vern and Hattie Clyde Evans and lived in Edmonds for 60 years.

She graduated from Edmonds High School where she accompanied the orchestra as a fine pianist.

In 1938 she met the love of her life, Orland M. Christensen, the “new kid from Ballard” and new first violinist in the orchestra.  Both went on to the University of Washington.

Orland and Merle were married on June 19, 1942, and moved to Boston, Mass.

After five years they moved back to the Seattle area so Orland could complete law school at the UW and enter practice as a patent lawyer.

They later settled down in Edmonds to raise their three children.   They were very active in the Edmonds United Methodist Church with Merle serving as President of the Women’s Society for several years.

She was also active in the Edmonds Coterie, the Edmonds Music and Art Association, and the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution).

In 1964 as Seattle Opera was being formed, Orland and Merle became ardent supporters and were part of the first group of season ticket holders.

Their passion for opera was lived every day as they continually invited others to experience it.

After Orland died in 1984, Merle continued her activities with Seattle Opera as a Trustee and with the Guild as a proponent of Opera in the Schools.

In 1999 she was presented with the prestigious “Award of Distinction” by the Seattle Opera Guild in honor of all her work and accomplishments for Seattle Opera.

She also was one of the founders of the Creative Retirement Institute in partnership with the Edmonds Community College, served on the Stevens Hospital Board, and was a member of   P.E.O.

She loved to travel and took many trips throughout the US and abroad.

Riding horses was also a special joy.  The family spent many summer vacations at a dude ranch in Montana.  She especially loved dude ranching in the winter in Arizona and last rode a horse when she was 87!

In 1996, she moved to Mount Vernon to be close to her children.   But until last year, she still traveled on I-5 to the Opera, and to CRI classes!

Merle was predeceased by her parents, Ival and Hattie, her brother Donald Evans, and her beloved husband Orland.

She is survived by her children, Martha “Marti” Wall (Daniel), Dale Christensen, and Scott Christensen (Christine) all of Mount Vernon; her grandchildren and their families Korie Holmes (Jody), Cheryl Willsey (Brandon), Jennifer Trulson (Dave), Jason Wall, Lisa Butters (John), Justin Crouch, Paul Christensen (Tracie), and Cara Mazer (Justin); and numerous great-grandchildren.

She is also survived by her sister-in-law Ruth Evans, and a cousin Eugenia Kline, as well as nieces and nephews.

To celebrate Merle there will be a service on Saturday, April 20, at First United Methodist Church in Mount Vernon at 11a.m. with a reception following in Sprague Hall.

Remembrances in Merle’s name may be made to the Seattle Opera Association, or to the Mount Vernon First United Methodist Church Endowment Fund.

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