Eric R. “Swede” Christensen passed away peacefully on August 31, 2020 in his home in Ammon, Idaho surrounded by his beloved wife Jeannie and their children at the age of 78.
Swede was born July 16, 1942 to Harry and Naomi Christensen. From a young age Swede had a fascination for all things in Aviation. Swede attended Shelley High School and graduated in 1960. His patriotism and love of service led him to serve for three years in the U.S. Army. It was during this time; Swede was able to gain his wings as a pilot. He proudly wore his “Vietnam War Era Veteran” hat for much of his later life and always supported his fellow Armed service brethren, attending numerous funerals often participating in the Honor Guard.
After completing his service in the Army, Swede enrolled in Idaho State University in the A&P Mechanic license program. Upon completion of the program he married his eternal sweetheart Jeannie Bateman on July 19, 1968 in Shelley, Idaho. Swede spoke lovingly of his bride at every opportunity. The early years of their marriage were spent pursuing his career in Aviation. Swede’s career included experiences as a Fire Bomber, a Flight Instructor of both fixed and rotor wing, and finally finding his true passion as a Crop Duster. In 1972 Swede and Jeannie made their home in Shelley, starting their family and Crop-dusting business “Aircraft Specialties.” Over the years Swede served as President of the Idaho Agricultural Aviation Association, Board member and delegate to the National Agriculture Aviation Association, Life member Aircraft Owners & Pilot’s Association, and Life Member of Sons of Utah Pioneers.
Swede loved serving the City of Shelley for 12 years as a councilman and 12 years as Mayor. He loved the people of Shelley and spent many hours in dedicated service to the city. Swede valued the connections he made during this time.
Swede was a faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served in various callings including Sunday School President, Stake Sunday School, and High Councilor. Swede and Jeannie were sealed for eternity on April 26, 1990 in the Idaho Falls Temple. This became a date Swede always looked forward to calling it “A Moment in Time”. Swede loved spending time in the Temple and immersed himself in the work. He tirelessly searched out his ancestors, connecting generations of his family tree.
Swede had a deep love for his family and always looked forward to family get togethers and visits with his children and grandchildren. He never missed a chance to brag about his family, his greatest joy. He was presently working part time for Ag Parts in Shelley and for his son’s business, Custom Gable Vents.
A special thanks to Advanced Home Health Care and Solace Hospice.
Swede is preceded in death by his father Harry, mother Naomi, sister Loretta, and grandson Porter. He is survived by his loving wife Jeannie, Brother Bill (Coralie) of Holladay, Utah, son Mikel (Christy) of Idaho Falls, daughter Tiffany (Steve) of Idaho Falls, daughter Shannon (Kory) of Tooele, Utah, daughter Cherice (Brett) of Idaho Falls. Swede is also survived by his 14 grandchildren whom he was so proud of.
A graveside service will be 12:00 Noon, Friday September 4, 2020 at the Shelley Hillcrest Cemetery with Military Rites by the David B. Bleak Post #93 and the Idaho Army Honor Guard.