Jerry Christensen, 79, Gridley died on Thursday, December 8, 2022 at 11:47 a.m. at his home.
His funeral will be at 10:00 AM Saturday, December 17, at the Gridley Apostolic Christian Church. Church ministers will officiate. Burial will be in the Gridley Cemetery. Visitation will be from 4-8 PM Friday, December 16, at Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home, El Paso, and one hour prior to the funeral service at his church. Memorial gifts may be made to Apostolic Christian Home LifePoints in Morton, IL. Online condolences may be sent to his family at www.ruestmanharrisfuneralhome.com
Born, January 13, 1943 in Pontiac, IL, son of Thomas, Sr. and Catherine (Bond) Christensen, he married Ada Klopfenstein on July 24, 1965. She survives.
Also surviving are two sons - Drake (Laura Casey) Christensen of Mundelein, IL, and Jason (Janice) Christensen of Downers Grove, IL - and one son-in-law, Jerry Wetzel of Jacksonville, FL. Mr. Christensen had nine grandchildren - Heather (David Attig) Celis; Kelsie (Bryce) Johnstone; Heather (Zachary Wade) Clark, Nathan Wetzel; and Grace, Owen, Zac, Noah, and Miles Christensen - and four great grand-children: Jett and Harper Burns, Bellamy Attig, and Sapphire Wade. He is also survived by one nephew, Steven (Robin) Christensen of Bridgeview, IL.
He was preceded in death by his daughter Angela Wetzel; his parents; sister, Kay; and brother, Thomas, Jr.
He was a member of the Gridley Apostolic Christian Church where he served in various offices including Sunday school teacher, Trustee, and the Sunrise Manor Board. Along with his wife Ada, he was instrumental in instituting the Crown Financial Ministry program in the congregation. He also served a nine-year term on the Board of Directors of the Apostolic Christian Home for the Handicapped in Morton, Illinois, where his brother had been a long-time resident.
Jerry graduated from Chenoa High School with the class of 1961. He received a Bachelor's Degree in math in 1965, a Master's Degree in Educational Administration in 1968, and a Certificate of Advanced Studies (Chief School Business Official) in 1984 all from Illinois State University.
Mr. Christensen was a well-known educator in central Illinois, having served in several school districts in various capacities. His career covered several positions including: a math teacher at Dwight Township High School, high school principal at Low Point-Washburn High School, junior/senior high school principal at Minonk-Dana-Rutland High School, and Superintendent of Schools at M-D-R. Jerry was instrumental in the reorganization of M-D-R, Toluca, and Wenona schools into the consolidated school of Fieldcrest Community Unit #6 and served as the first Superintendent of Schools there for two years
Retiring from public education in 1996, he and his wife moved to Gridley where he continued to do consulting work for the Illinois State Board of Education, and served in several interim positions including Superintendent of Schools at Low Point-Washburn, Junior High principal at Putnam Co. Schools, and with the assistance of his long-time friend Leonard Savage, Eureka, developed an alternative night school for students in Marshal, Putman, Woodford, and LaSalle Counties.
In 1998, he returned to teaching math at University High School on the campus of Illinois State University and later served as Assistant Principal at U-High for three years. He ended his career as Principal of University High School on the campus of Illinois State University where he started some 40 years prior.
During his forty-year career in education was a member of many professional organizations, served on a variety of committees and made many presentations around the State of Illinois particularly on the topic of school district reorganization and educational labor relations.
Following his retirement from U-High in 2005, he continued to be active and especially enjoyed volunteering at OSF-St Joseph's Hospital as a transporter and working in the Joint Replacement Unit. He was awarded "Rookie of the Year'' as a volunteer in 2007.
He was a loving Christian man that enjoyed most being with his wife and family, especially with his grandchildren.
Saturday, December 17, 2022