Dr. James Edward Christiansen, Ph.D
September 1, 1930 – August 8, 2018
Dr. James Edward Christiansen, PH.D, passed away at home, August 8, 2018, with his wife of almost 68 years, Jean, by his side. Also by his side was his youngest son Bruce, who cared for his father tirelessly the last weeks of his life, his daughter-in-law Dianne, and his oldest son, James, speaking to him via speakerphone from Alaska. A memorial will be held on what would have been his 88th birthday, September 1, 2018, at 11am in Covenant Presbyterian Church on Rock Prairie Road. Inurnment will be in the family plot in Douglas, Arizona, at a future date.
Dr. James Christiansen was born September 1, 1930 in Douglas, Arizona to Ada Naomi (Squire), teacher, and Felix Lawrence Christiansen, rancher. He graduated from Douglas High School, and went on to University of Arizona where he received a B.S., and M.Ag.Ed. in Agricultural Education. While at the University of Arizona, he met Jean McInnes, and on Christmas Day, 1950, they were married. He said marrying Jean was the smartest thing he ever did.
During the Korean War, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers, as Design Draftsman. In that position, he was stationed in California, and was instrumental in the design of Beal Air Force Base for the U.S. Air Force. While there, in June 1953, his son James Lawrence was born. Dr. Christiansen was discharged with the rank of Sargent, and the family moved back to Arizona.
From 1954 to 1961, he taught Vocational Agriculture, Industrial Arts, and Biology in the Arizona high school system.
In 1961, he took his small family to Iran and spent two years as Co-Administrator and Project Manager, developing and managing an agricultural teachers’ college for the Near East Foundation. While there his son Bruce was born. They returned to the United States in 1963 and James was awarded his Ph.D. at Ohio State University on December 17, 1965.
He was Assistant Professor of Agriculture Education at University of Florida, Gainesville for two years. Then in 1968, he accepted an Associate Professorship at Texas A & M, and then Professor of Agricultural Education. He retired officially from Texas A & M on March 31, 2004, after 51 years in agricultural education. This included the seven years teaching high school vocational agriculture in Arizona, two years teaching in Iran, three years at The Ohio State University, three years at the University of Florida, and 36 years at Texas A & M. He was involved in development projects and provided training in nine different countries. He worked in or visited 19 other countries for professional reasons on 32 occasions. As Professor Emeritus, he continued to go into his office half days until just the last few months of his life.
He was an active member of A & M Presbyterian Church, and after a merger, Covenant Presbyterian. He served as an Elder multiple times, and he was a member of several committees up until just a few months before he passed.
James is survived by his wife, Jean Christiansen; son, James (Dianne), granddaughters, Jessica Ruth Cooper, (BJ), great grandchildren, Mathew Elijah, and Katheryn Dianne; granddaughter Aminta Gail Remisosky, (Anthony); son, Bruce; first cousin, Rosalba Christiansen; sister-in-law Ursula Christiansen and her children and grandchildren. His parents, and his younger brother Richard preceded him in death.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dr. James E. Christiansen memorial scholarship fund that will be set up at Texas A&M University. Please contact Callaway-Jones Funeral Center for more information.
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