Russell W. Christenson ’40
Deceased February 28, 2011
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The presence of our class has been diminished further by the death of Russ Christenson in February. Majoring in economics, Russ was noted on campus for being a member of Sphinx and playing baseball; he was captain of the team his senior year. He came to Amherst from Deerfield Academy, where he earned the support of the headmaster, Frank Boyden, for his career at the college.
Russ was in many ways always an ardent supporter of Amherst from his vantage of living in Florence and Leeds, Mass. It was an easy drive—and a favorite one, no doubt—to the college. Save for the time he spent in New Jersey when, as an industrial engineer, he worked for U.S. Rubber and the H. K. Porter Co., he was rooted in Western Massachusetts.
The communities in which Russ lived and worked benefitted from his personal interest and support, which included donations from a generous pocket. His civic support is exemplified by Arcanum Field in Northampton: Russ and his family assembled the land and donated it to the city. He was also a leader in supporting the creation of playing fields for the Amherst town Little League; he also supported many other charities and community organizations.
Russ Christenson’s wife, Priscilla, died in 1999. His survivors are his children, Virginia, Karen, Gail, Bruce, Nels and Janet, and their spouses; 11 grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.
His deceased brothers, Leon ’49 and Robert ’52, were also Amherst alumni.
—Louis P. Dolbeare ’40