February 19, 1927 – February 20, 2020
Art was a first generation Canadian. His parents, Alfred Olaf Christensen and Johanna Osing, immigrated to Canada from Norway in the early 1900’s. They were from Fauske, a small farming town in northern Norway. They met again in Canada in 1925, where they married and moved to Kimberly British Columbia where Alfred found work at the Sullivan mine.
Art was the second of five children; two boys and three girls. He went to school in Kimberley and was active in Scouts, moving up to be a King Scout. While in high school, he worked in the mine during the summer to save money for university.
After completing grade twelve, Art went to the University of British Columbia, graduating in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science in geology. His working career began with Cominco in Kimberley, then moved to a position as project geologist at the Tulsequah mine in northern B.C. From there he went to Falconbridge Nickel and worked for a time in Sault St. Marie Ontario.
In the mid 1950’s he was sent to the Yukon to manage exploration of a nickel property on the White River. This is where he was working in 1957 when he met his future wife, Ione Cameron, who was working at the Taylor & Drury store in Whitehorse.
The next two winters were spent with Falconbridge in Toronto, with the summers in the Yukon at the White River site. A romantic at heart, Art proposed on August 17, 1957, in the middle of the Robert Lowe Bridge over Miles Canyon, the start of a 62-year partnership, filled with adventure and community service.
Art and Ione were married on February 1, 1958. They promptly quit their jobs and departed on a two-month honeymoon in their new car visiting the west coast of the U.S., over to the Grand Canyon and then back into Canada to visit family in Kimberley before turning homeward to the Yukon to look for jobs. Art started with the Hougens plumbing company, then on to exploration work for United Keno Hill north of Mayo. In the fall of 1958 he took a job with the Yukon government, Department of Highways and Public Works where he worked until his retirement in 1984.
In the spring of 1959 Art and Ione bought a lot in the new Riverdale subdivision and spent the summer building their new home after work and on weekends. While the inside was not finished, they moved into their new home in early October. They never moved from this location.
In March of 1962 they had a near miss. They were flying in a small plane just outside of Whitehorse when they were caught in a spring white out and crashed. Of the four in the aircraft, Art was the only one injured; a broken arm and a head injury.
This decade blessed Art and Ione with the arrival of two lovely little boys, Paul in 1965 and Philip in 1967. Two wonderful men who still live in Whitehorse with their families. Art was so proud of his boys.
There were many accomplishments during those 93 years. Art continued his work with the Boy Scouts and was the Scout Commissioner for the Yukon for a number of years. Through his work with the Yukon Government he oversaw the building of many Yukon schools, roads and buildings. With Ches Campion, he drove the first truck from the Dempster Highway to Old Crow on a winter road to deliver supplies for a new school. He was involved for many years with the Masonic Brotherhood, and the Shriners, and was a member of the Yukon Fish and Game Association when the Whitehorse fish ladder was built, spending several summers counting salmon on their long migration.
When the boys were three and five, Art and Ione purchased a truck and camper. Summer weekends were now spent in the Yukon exploring and fishing in the family Zodiac.
After his retirement in 1984, Art took on many new challenges; managing the Yukon Quest for several years and working on a board to finalize several First Nation land claims.
Travel took him to a sister city in Japan as well as to many other places in the world with his travelling companion, Ione. Maui was a favorite January get-away. Art and Ione also had many adventurous ocean Zodiac trips with their friends the Dabbs and Gonda’s.
Art was a true Viking. He loved adventure, boating on the ocean, and fishing. His favourite dinner was baked lake trout.
Art began losing his sight and hearing in 2005. This made his big world smaller and he did not complain. For a person who lived an active life, meeting and working with people, this new reality was limiting.
Art was loved by many and will be sadly missed.
Art is survived by his wife Ione of 62 years, sons Paul (Michelle) and Philip (Kate), grandson Harry, and many nephews and nieces in B.C. and Alberta.
He was predeceased by his mother, father, brother Ivan and three sisters Kris, Agnes and Jean. Obituary
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