Owen Christensen ’52

Owen Christensen ’52 90, died peacefully at his home on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, with his loving family at his side. Owen was born in the Bronx, New York in 1927. He was the son of the late Ove and Helmi (Torppa) Christensen. He grew up in Flushing, Queens, New York and graduated from Flushing High School in 1946.  Growing up, Owen was active in the Boy Scouts of America, earning the distinguished rank of Eagle Scout as well as the Order of the Arrow and Sea Scout. Owen relocated to Gardner, Massachusetts after high school. He served in the U.S. Army-Air Forces from 1946 to 1949. While in the Army Air Forces, Owen played trombone in the 702nd Army-Air Force Band and with The Glen Miller Army Air Force Band.  He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Hope College in Holland, MI in 1952 and participated in the Cosmopolitan Fraternity and the Hope College Band and Orchestra. Owen received a Doctorate in Medicine from Tufts University Medical School in 1956.  He conducted post graduate training at Boston City Hospital and New England Medical Center Hospital in Boston. In 1960, Owen accepted a position at Henry Heywood Memorial Hospital in Gardner, where he served for more than 50 years. The foundation of Owen’s practice was not only his passion for medicine, but also the deep love he had for his patients and colleagues, which was easily recognized by the strong bonds he created during his years of practice.  During his tenure at Heywood Hospital, Owen helped establish and was Medical Director of the Cardiac Rehab Program since its inception and served for more than 25 years.  He was also member of the Hyperbaric and Underwater Medical Society where he began researching the benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and wound care. He worked hard with Henry Heywood Hospital administration to open the Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Heywood Hospital in 2008. He also served on the Board of Health in Westminster for a number of years.    He was an active member of the William S. Miller, American Legion Post, #174. Owen had many passions in life.  He loved music and played in the Westminster Town Band for a number of years. He was an avid fisherman in both fresh water and salt water throughout the US and in remote parts of Canada. He was frequently found skiing at Mt. Wachusett. He also loved hiking, golfing, traveling and scuba diving. True to his Finnish heritage, Owen thoroughly enjoyed the Sauna, the hotter the better, creating memories with dear friends and relatives, particularly with his special Thursday night sauna group.  He was an active member of The First Congregational Church of Westminster and for a time was a Sunday School teacher. Owen also had an article published in the Journal of Pathology and Bacteriology, on Primary Adrenal Lymphoma. Owen’s family extends its deep appreciation to the Gardner VNA, particularly hospice care, the Westminster Police Department and the Westminster Fire Department, who provided selfless care and compassion over the last few months of Owen’s life. Owen leaves his wife of 18 years, Carole A. (Antilla) Christensen; four children, Matthew Christensen and his wife Sue of Ashburnham, Julia Bruce and her husband Gary of Prescott Valley, AZ, Amy Christensen of Winchendon and Andrew Christensen and his wife Laurie of Lunenburg; ten grandchildren, including Meg Christensen, Katie Christensen, Dillon Bruce, Hanna Van Tuyl, Kevin Bruce, Shaina Martinez, Lily Christensen, Sam Christensen, Scott Christensen, and Eric Christensen; and three great-grandchildren. He also leaves one stepdaughter, Erica Smith of Lexington, one stepson, Joshua Waxlax of Winchendon and many loving supportive friends. He was predeceased by his first wife Patricia (Lundeen) Christensen in 1979 and a daughter, Elizabeth Christensen in 2007. Funeral services will be held on Friday, March 23, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. in the First Congregational Church of Westminster, 116 Main Street, Westminster, MA 01473. Calling hours will be held on Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 5-8 pm in the Westminster Chapel of the Sawyer-Miller-Masciarelli Funeral Homes, 123 Main Street, Westminster, MA. In lieu of flowers, Owen’s family asks that  memorial contributions may be made to one of the following; The First Congregational Church of Westminster, P.O. Box 477, Westminster, MA 01473, The office of Philanthropy C/O Henry Heywood Hospital, 242 Green Street, Gardner, MA 01440, the GVNA Hospice, 34 Pearly Lane, Gardner, MA 01440, Westminster Rescue Fund, 7 South Street, Westminster, MA 01473, or the Westminster Police Association, 7 South Street, Westminster, MA 01473 For further information see www.masciarellifamilyfuneralhomes.net John F. Masciarelli, Walter C. Taylor and James M. Hebert, funeral directors

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