Gayle Arlyn Christenson, 74, a longtime Baker City resident, died Feb. 7, 2005, at home surrounded by family and friends.
An Elks service and celebration of his life will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. at the Elks Lodge, 1896 Second St.
Gayle was born in 1931 at McMinnville to Chester and Lola (Johnson) Christenson. He attended school in Newberg and graduated there in 1950. He received training in radio engineering and moved to Salt Lake City where his distinct deep voice got him a job as a radio announcer. From there, Gayle worked a short time in the oil fields of Wyoming before he moved back to Detroit, Ore. There he went to work for his granddad, who owned and operated Detroit Phone Company. The town of Detroit was being relocated for the damming of the Santiam River. Gayle worked to rebuild and move the phone system of Detroit and two smaller towns nearby.
His career with Pacific Northwest Bell as janitor for three months months began in Portland, then he soon moved to Baker City. Here he met Karen Metcalf, who was working as a telephone operator. They were married in 1954. Gayle retired from the phone company in Baker City in 1989. He worked the central office in Baker and several microwave stations of Central Oregon where his troubleshooting and problem-solving skills were well known.
Gardening, hunting, travel and A LOT of fishing were Gayle’s favorite pastimes. He was a longtime brother of the Baker Elks Lodge and he coached Little League and Babe Ruth baseball for several years. Many people say Gayle could give meaningful advice without you knowing he did. He possessed patience and wisdom and topped all of that off with a great sense of humor.
Gayle is survived by his loving wife, Karen; sister and brother-in-law, Norma and John Sanford of Keizer; brother-in-law, Chuck Morris of La Grande; daughter and son-in-law, Carol and Dave Phillips and their kids Katie and Billy Phillips, and Toni Phillips Zikmund and her husband, Paul, all of Baker City; a daughter and son-in-law, Joni and Kirk Sager, and their kids Jim and Clint Sager, Luke Kolb and Katie Strong of Grants Pass; two great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews also survive.
Gayle was preceded in death by his father and mother.
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Baker Sports Complex and/or the Baker Elks Drum and Bugle Corps, in care of Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, February 11, 2005
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor