from the University of Minnesota. John and Brigitte were married in her family church in Sollerod, Denmark, 20 Jun 1964, honeymooned in Paris, and moved to Vermillion, SD, where John taught history 1964-66 at the university and Birgitte continued her undergraduate education, having attended Santa Rosa Junior College previously. During 1966-67, they lived at 1969 Kenwood Parkway, Minneapolis, while John was Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. Birgitte gave birth at Immanuel Hospital in Mankato to a son, Erik-Kenneth Gyde Christianson.

In 1967 the Christiansons moved into their present home at 110 Pleasant Hill, named “Solihogda” (Sunny Heights) in 1931 by its builders, Lully and Einar Lund of Decorah Posten. A 1993 addition was made in the original Norwegian Empire Revival style. John taught history and Birgitte pursued her education at Luther College, where she received her B.A. in 1973. Birgitte gave birth to a second son, Paul Frederik Gyde Christianson, at Smith Memorial Hospital. As their sons were growing up the Christiansons were active in the Decorah community. Birgitte was a member, officer, and president of Monday Club, Luther Women’s Club, and AAUW (Assoc, of American University Women), chairman of Decorah United Way in 1982, president of First Lutheran congregation in 1986, and a member of the Northeast Iowa Refugee Board 1984-90. Inspired by Lucille Price, Birgitte helped to establish the Broadway Historic District by heading a 1975 Broadway project of AAUW. She designed and edited the map brochure of the district which has since been reprinted regularly. In 1991 she and John became Co-Commissioners for Iowa of the Norsemen’s Federation. During a sabbatical year of 1973-74 spent in Denmark, she began working as a free-lance translator, then worked from 1980-88 as a real estate associate, first with Haugen Century 21 and later with Dave Kelly & Co. She joined the staff of Luther College as Advancement Officer in 1988 and was named Director of Capital Campaigns in 1995.

Besides teaching history and chairing the History Department from 1967-83, John has served since 1969 as Luther College’s liaison officer with Vesterheim and coordinates the college’s Museum Studies program. In 1968 and 1975 he chaired the committees that planned visits to Decorah by His Majesty Olav V King of Norway, rode with the king in the 1975 parade, and served as Co-Chair of Protocol for the 1987 and 1995 Norwegian royal visits to Decorah. In 1990-93 he was on the Steering Committee for a Decorah Comprehensive Development Plan Update. He was active at First Lutheran Church, in Symra Literary Society, presented programs during several Nordic Fests, and with Vera Harris in 1968 wrote the script for the Nordic Fest bus tour which was used by George E. Knudson in his “Decorah Trails and Trolls" (1976). In 1995 he received the Knight Cross of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit.

Their sons attended Decorah public schools. Erik sang in three choirs at First Lutheran Church and in chorus at school, played trumpet in band and bugle in Decorah Kilties. He graduated from Decorah High School in 1985, attended Luther College, and in 1990-91 was proprietor of the Cornerstone Music Store on Water Street in Decorah, before moving to Northfield, MN. Paul was student body president, member of National Honor Society, and sang the lead role in the 1986 high school production of “Bye Bye Birdie.” He was a basketball starter who also lettered in tennis, track, and cross-country, and many will remember the evening he broke his leg in a home basketball game on 20 Feb 1987. He graduated from Decorah High School in 1987 and received his B.A. from St. Olaf College in 1991. Erik and Paul both live Minneapolis in 1995.

Christianson, Kenneth and Marian (Peterson)

(John Christianson)

Bio Photo

Marian Christianson at age 86 in 1992.

Marian Christine Peterson was born at her parents' home in Mankato, MN 11 Oct 1906. Her father, C. P Peterson, D.D.S. (1867-1958), emigrated from Denmark in 1888, married in 1898, graduated from Keokuk Dental College in 1903 and settled in Mankato that same year to practice his profession. Her mother, Jennie C. Christianson (1867-1957), belonged to a family of religious nonconformists who had emigrated from Denmark to Hamilton Co., IA in 1868, where her father founded the town of Randall in 1878. Marian grew up in Mankato and went to St. Olaf College where she received her B.A. degree in 1928.

After 2 years of teaching and coaching in Clear Lake, IA, Marian was married 17 Jun 1930 to her college sweetheart, Kenneth Orvin Christianson (1905-1979) from Canby, MN. Kenneth’s family had emigrated in 1875 from Nes in Hedmark, Norway to Clayton Co., IA and then homesteaded in 1880 in Lincoln Co., MN. His mother’s parents, Oline (Jorstad) Lien and Ole Nielsen Lien (1842-1907) had emigrated in 1869 from Ringsaker and Faberg, Norway to Spring Grove, then homesteaded in 1873 in Yellow Medicine Co., MN.

The newlyweds lived in an apartment in Minneapolis where K. O. Christianson was treasurer of a furniture manufacturing company. Their daughter, Jean Marie

Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living was not transcribed. See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

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