Posted By: Cathy Joynt Labath (email)
Date: 1/7/2007 at 08:36:12
RUTHVEN, IOWA CENTENNIAL 1884-1984
John Christiansen was born December 20, 1892 on the Island of Fyn in Denmark. He was the son of Rasmus Christiansen and Karen Marie Mortensen. He had three brothers. He was five years old when his mother died and later his father remarried and two girls were born to this union. John received his education in the schools of Denmark. He worked on farms as manager and served in the Army of Denmark in W.W.I.
His brother, Fred, came to America first, along with some other relatives. The Depression hit Denmark before it did here, closing all the banks and many lost their savings. John came to America in 1928 and stayed with his brother Fred for a while and then went to work for Bill Brown Sr. on the home place and on other farms in the area.
In 1946, he quit farming and moved to town, building a house across the street from the Oliver block. After the school house burned on July 5, 1944, four country school houses were moved in and put in the north part of town. John was a janitor and drove school bus for one year.
While John was building his house, he made many trips to the hardware store for supplies. One day Sam Wigtahl asked John if he knew anything about jet pumps and John said he knew how to repair centrifugal pumps. They were both talking about the same thing using different names. It wasn't long before John was a full-time pump man and also a plumber for the hardware store, where he was a dedicated and loyal employee for 23 years. Heart trouble finally forced him to retire. He made a host of friends, and if a farmer called and said he was out of water for the livestock John never refused to go whether it was Sunday, a holiday or during a blizzard.
During the years, John became acquainted with the Howard Prather, family and adopted them as his own. They in turn adopted John making his life fuller and happier as he watched the children grow to adulthood and have families of their own. They are a special to him as he is to them.
On May 1, 1982. John had a stroke, spent one month in the Palo Alto County Hospital in Emmetsburg, and one month in the Care Center. He now resides at the Lakeside Lutheran home in Emmetsburg, where he celebrated his 90th birthday on December 20, 1982.
Palo Alto Biographies maintained by Cathy Joynt Labath.
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