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Obituary for Gail Christensen

Gail Edna Christensen
October 31, 1941 ~ February 19, 2012

Gail was born on Halloween in 1941 in Franklin, NH to Norman and Edna Butler. She grew up in Tilton, NH. She graduated from Tilton High in 1959 then went on to spend a year in nursing school at the MGH Institute in Boston.

Gail met Don in 1963 and they were married a year later in New Hampshire, thus making her an Air Force wife. They were stationed on several bases on the East Coast then were transferred to McChord AFB in Washington upon Don’s return from Vietnam in 1972. They fell in love with the area and have been there ever since.

Gail stayed home to raise her three children while living on base. After buying their first home in Lakewood when her youngest child was in second grade she herself went to school at Clover Park Technical College for Medical Office Coordinator certification.

Gail worked as a medical office coordinator for many years and later worked as a Para educator as a one- on- one with a very special young man, Brian Faust, then worked with the Ecap/Special Ed program in the Clover Park School District. She always enjoyed the focused and specific assistance she could give and the relationships she could cultivate with the students who needed that special and personal relationship. She always thought of and treated Brian as another of her kids. She retired in 2004.

She always enjoyed her many travels and hobbies. In earlier years when her children were not too old to hang out with their parents, she and Don took the family camping and motorcycle riding in the mountains, creating many wonderful lasting memories. There were many trips into the Cascades and especially to Spirit Lake before Mt. St. Helens erupted and buried that beautiful spot. She would take Denise out in a raft to the middle of glacier fed Spirit Lake so they could wash their hair. Hours were spent picking huckleberries and trying to keep their black lab Jack from eating them all!! Gail made huckleberry pie in the tiny camper oven because no one could wait until they got home before getting some. When, Spirit Lake huckleberries were found in the freezer many years after the eruption of Mt. St. Helens in 1980, Gail made the last celebratory batch of muffins for her family. They were all sad and realized how much they had missed that area, and just how good Gail’s muffins were.

Gail was always artistic and very creative. She could draw and paint. She could help with a report on aerodynamics or on your math homework, and you would learn so much from her. She could knit, needlepoint and cross stitch, refinish and reupholster furniture and then re-stitch the canvas roof of her son’s Land Cruiser. If it needed to be done, and she hadn’t done it before, she invented her way through it. She took computer programming classes in the days of Apple II’s just to know what all the fuss was about. She could do anything she set her mind to. There were also the yearly family vacations across the country to the East Coast to visit relatives in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. These were always the greatest times of the year, even though they somehow often resulted in one child or the other returning home with a broken arm, and they all loved it!

In later years she and Don would travel by camper or 5th wheel to Alaska, the Florida Keys and many places in between. They also made trips to Texas and Florida to see their sons and grandchildren. She also enjoyed the many adventures they had on their boat. Fishing in Puget Sound and touring around Friday Harbor were some favorites.

She and Don bought a beat up cabin in the Oyehut community at Ocean Shores in 2010 and would spend many weekends there. Gail, always creative, would fix and paint and decorate making a wonderful and comfortable beach home for her and Don. As sick as she was at times, the paintbrush practically had to be pried out of her hands. She enjoyed spending time with family and the many friends they made there.
When she found out her cancer had returned Gail and Don spent their time doing the things she wanted -- going to the casino, spending time at the cabin and visiting relatives in Berkeley, California.
Although not feeling well, she was overjoyed to have all of her children, grandchildren and great grandson together for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful time, rare for a family dispersed from Washington to Massachusetts, Florida, and Texas.

No matter what life threw her way she fought hard and lived it to the fullest. She will be missed dearly by both family and friends. She will live on through the strength and character she imparted to her children.
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