Val at the barn
This online memorial was created in loving memory of Val Christiansen, whose life story is told throughout this memorial website. Please sign Val's guest book and let us know you came to visit. We will remember Val forever.
Val Christiansen was born in Emery, Utah on August 21, 1932 to Elsworth and Henrietta Christiansen. He was the youngest of nine children: Phyllis Ruby, Delma, Melvin, Ann, Elsworth Jr. (June), Earl, Kay Roy, Vedo Jamar, and Val R. His sister Ann and brother Kay Roy had died before his birth. In 1944, Val's closest brother, Jamar, was killed in a tragic farming accident. Shortly after, Val dropped out of school to help run the farm. At 16 years of age he moved to California, living at different times with his sisters and brother, and began work as a laborer. He enlisted in the navy and was assigned to the construction battalion (CB's) where he was given charge of men as much as twice his age. He served during the Korean War and while diving in the South Pacific sustained permanent injury to his hearing. While in Philadelphia for an ear operation, Val attended a USO dance at a Jewish Y where he met and fell in love with Helen McKim, a Catholic girl from South Philadelphia. After 2 weeks of seeing each other Val proposed. Actually, he just gave her a ring and said, "I guess you know what this means." She accepted, but thought it had meant they were going steady. She figured out they were engaged when they started talking about houses. They were married on August 21, 1954 in St. Anthony's Church in Philadelphia under the church's condition that Val would sign a written pledge that all his children would be baptized Catholic.
They lived first with Helen's mother, Lena McKim. Lena loved her son-in-law as he was kind and willing to help her around the house with repairs. Her own son, Tommy was not so inclined, so she called Val, "the son I never had". After a short while they moved into their own home, on 62nd and Wheeler Street in Southwest Philadelphia. They lived there for 16 years. Val served the community and church as Scout Master for most of that time. It was there that all of their 5 children were born. Eleanor was born in 1956, David in 1958, George in 1963, Valery in 1968 and Kim Marie in 1970.
In 1970 they bought a big house just outside the city in the small town of East Lansdowne. They lived there for 24 years. In 1972 Helen joined Val's church, but by 1978 he no longer attended himself. He started his own plumbing and heating business (Val, Inc.) and worked long hours. He enjoyed photography, dog training and especialy hunting. He was often involved in household improvement projects. In the early 1990's Val invested with his son, George, in a property in Bryn Mawr, Pa. They began converting the historical barn into a home for George's family with in-law quarters for Val and Helen. By 1994 Val had sold his business and Helen had given up her babysitting business of 24 years, and they both moved to the barn in Bryn Mawr. In 2004, Val underwent quintuplet bypass surgery and celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, children, his children's spouses, and 20 grandchildren. In the next few years that number would grow to 24 grandchildren. He was a devoted and loving grandfather, and later great-grandfather of 2.
In December 2005, Val decided to drive to Utah to make some repairs on a rental property he owned in Provo, Utah. He never returned to Philadelphia despite begging and pleading from family. Everytime he seemed convinced to return, his health would fail or the property would need repairs. In fall of 2011 Val became too ill to care for himself and was admitted to Trinity Mission in Provo, Utah. He died there peacefully on January 10, 2012. Surviving are his wife Helen, his sons David and George, and his daughters Valery and Kim.