A former president of Brigham Young University-Idaho died last week.
Joe Christensen, the 12th president of then Ricks College, died on May 18. He was 91 years old.
Joe Christensen served as the college’s president from 1985-1989. He was born on July 21, 1929 and grew up in Banida, Idaho.
A funeral service was held for Christensen on Saturday in Salt Lake City. During the service, his six children, Amy Poulton, Susan Jones, Stephen Christensen, Linda Evans, Douglas Christensen and Spencer Christensen recounted their most memorable moments with their father.
“No matter where the brethren asked him to serve … His heart was always tethered to his home, the tiny town of Banida,” Evans said during the service. “He truly was a believing Idaho farm boy.”
Douglas Christensen later shared his childhood memory of family trips to his grandparents’ home in Banida. During the trips, Joe Christensen would always encourage his children to roll down their windows and breathe the southeast Idaho air in deeply upon crossing the Utah-Idaho border.
“On our trip home, dad would dramatically inhale just before leaving Idaho so his lungs were full of the pure, rarified air of southeastern Idaho. To his core, my dad was an Idaho farm boy,” Douglas Christensen said.
Joe Christensen served as General Authority Seventy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1989 to 1999. He was also the president and matron of the San Diego California Temple from 1999 to 2002. He worked for 34 years in the Church Educational System as a seminary teacher and would then become a director in the institutes of religion adjacent to Washington State University, the University of Idaho and the University of Utah, according to his obituary from Dignity Memorial.
Henry B. Eyring, former president of BYU-Idaho also spoke about Christensen, sharing his appreciation for the influence Joe Christensen had for the church.
When the San Diego California Temple was being constructed, one of Joe Christensen’s main concerns was addressing accessibility for disabled people, which is now main design aspect during temple construction, Eyring said.
“The influence of Elder Christensen will go on for generations,” Eyring said. “Elder Joe J. Christensen touched my life in so many ways.”
The livestream of Joe Christensen’s funeral service is available on Salt Lake Valley View Stake Broadcast’s YouTube page.