George Christensen, 86, of Grand Island, died under the care of Hospice Buffalo, Sunday, March 10, 2013, after a lengthy illness. Mr. Christensen was a resident of Clymer, until moving to Grand Island in 1973.
He was born March 23, 1926, in Clymer, to the late Chris and Winifred (Campbell) Christensen.
Following graduation from Clymer Central School, Mr. Christensen attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Like many from his generation, his studies were interrupted by World War II. He served in the United States Army Air Force until the end of the war be-fore returning to Pitt.
For more than two decades, Mr. Christensen ran C. Christensen Motors in Corry, Pa., with his father. During this time, Mr. Christensen served on the Clymer Central school board, the Corry Memorial Hospital board and with the Corry Kiwanis. Mr. Christensen was a longtime member of the Clymer Methodist Church and was also a six-decade member of the American Legion Damcott-Jones Post 874, Clymer.
Mr. Christensen served the volunteer fire service for 64 years, 25 years in Clymer, where he held the post of assistant chief and 39 years on Grand Island, where he was active in various county and state fire associations.
In the early 1970s, Mr. Christensen became the district sales manager for Brockway Motor Truck in Southwestern New York and northwestern Pennsylvania. In 1972, Mr. Christensen achieved a historic company sale known as "72 in '72" where he sold 72 trucks in one transaction. In 1973, he became branch manager for Brockway's Western New York Division based in Tonawanda. Upon Brockway's closing in 1977, he went to work for Higgins Erectors and Haulers of Buffalo. He served as the president of Higgins' rental division until his retirement in 1992.
George was an avid fan of the Pitt Panthers and Buffalo Bills and enjoyed watching the many Clymer and Grand Island football games at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
George and his wife Marianne (Smolk) were married Nov. 8, 1952, at the Abbe Reformed Church, Clymer.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, Julie (Michael) Ganske of Clymer; and two sons: Kurt (Diana) of Lorton, Va., and Kris (Michelle) of Grand Island. He is also survived by five grandchildren: Melissa Christensen of Chicago, Mary Kate Ganske of Clymer, Lindsay Christensen of Lorton, Michael and Brooke Christensen of Grand Island. Other survivors include his sister-in-law, Judith Smolk and three nieces: Alisa (Bryan) Duke, Shawn Smolk and Gina (Don) Robinson, all of Florida.
Family will receive visitors at the Kaiser Funeral Home, 1950 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island from 4-8 p.m. Friday, March 15, 2013. Grand Island fire company chaplain, Father Earle King will lead a memorial service at St. Martin's-in-the-Field Episcopal Church, 2587 Base-line Road, Grand Island at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, March 16, 2013.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorials may be made to the Grand Island Fire Company, 2275 Baseline Road, Grand Island, NY, 14072; or The Hospice Foundation of Western New York, 225 Como Park Blvd., Buffalo, NY 14227.