Dick Christiansen, 85, of Newell, died Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016 at Newell Good Samaritan Society.
Funeral services were held Monday, Sept. 19, at Bethel Baptist Church in Newell. Burial followed in Newell Cemetery with military rites by the Newell American Legion. Fratzke & Jensen Funeral Home in Newell was in charge of the arrangements.
Dick was born to Lorenia (Oldham) and Henry (Hank) Christiansen on April 6, 1931. He attended school in Newell and served two tours of duty in the Navy and was a proud member of the SeaBees. Upon returning home, he married Betty Frahm on March 13, 1955 and they farmed together for over 50 years before retiring. Dick and Betty celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary this year. They had three children: Janet (David) Sather of Sartell, Minn.; Mike (Lisa) Christiansen of Newell and Judy (Dean) Funk of Urbandale.
Dick never met a person that he couldn’t draw into a conversation about his hometown, farming, turkeys, flying his airplane, woodworking, trapshooting, or his passion for rebuilding antique tractors and engines. Always one to be involved in public service, he was proud to serve with the following organizations: Board of Trustees of the Buena Vista Regional Medical Center (formerly Buena Vista County Hospital) for 18 years and as chairman for 16 years; Buena Vista County Soil Conservation Commission for six years; Iowa Turkey Federation for 14 years where he held several positions including serving as the federation’s president in 1985; a member of Iowa Poultry Association for six years and served as the association’s treasurer and vice-chairman. Dick proudly served as a director on Citizens First National Bank Board for over 30 years, just retiring from that position in December 2015. Dick was also the mayor of Newell for nine years. As a veteran of the Korean Conflict, he recently participated in the Brushy Creek Honor Flight.
Dick and Betty, along with several other couples, were founding members of Bethel Baptist Church in 1959. There he served numerous terms as deacon, trustee, moderator and treasurer. Dick loved telling people about the gospel and his faith in Jesus Christ.
Along with his wife and children, Dick is survived by his shining stars – his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. His grandchildren include: Nicholas Sather and Christian Sather of Sartell, Minn.; Jill (Matthew) Johnston, Megan Christiansen and Kate Christiansen of Newell; Nathan (Brooke) Funk of Elk River, Minn.; Betsy (Blake) McKibbin of Houston, Tex.; and Garrett Funk of Urbandale. His great-grandchildren include Violett, Jasper, Weston and Archer Funk of Elk River, Minn. and Louis and Orlynn McKibbin of Houston, Tex. He is also survived by many nieces and nephews and his family-in-love, the entire Kier family.
Dick was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Lorenia; his parents-in-law, Claus and Anna Frahm; his older brother, Bill; his infant brother who died at birth; as well as several brothers and sisters-in-law.