|Birth: ||Aug. 25, 1928|
|Death: ||Aug. 8, 1994|
Donald G. Christiansen entered into active military service February 16, and separated August 1, 1947. He made daily and weekly inspections on 36 military vehicles to determine state of repairs while assigned to the 13th Engineers combat battalion stationed at Seoul, Korea. Supervised 20 Korean and 2EM mechanics in the performing of 2nd and 3rd echelon repair work on the vehicles.
Don Christiansen, one of first local ambulance operators, passes away.
Donald G. Christiansen, 65, of Buffalo, Minn., who with his family owned and operated one of the first private ambulance services in Wright County, died late Monday, August 8, 1994 at the North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale.
Born in Alexandria, Minn., on August 25, 1928 the son of Merlin and Myrtle (Heglie) Christiansen, he married Joan Gilbert of Buffalo on April 1, 1950.
Don was a Korean War veteran. He owned and operated the Wright County Ambulance Service for more than 15 years, from 1964 to 1979. He eventually sold the service to Health Central, the corporation that oversaw the Buffalo hospital at the time.
Don was a member of the Metropolitan Ambulance Service and the Minnesota Rescue and First Aid Association.
His ambulance service was available day and night, 24 hours a day. Former sheriff's deputy Jack Bodin, who had worked part-time as a driver with the service, remembers that Don was very proud of the fact that his service was ready all the time and could respond on time almost anywhere in the county.
"Everyone knew Don Christiansen, and they knew he would be there if they needed him," Bodin said.
He added that Don was good with children.
In a recent story that appeared in the Journal-Press Don's wife Joan recalled that there were some very late nights for the family as they responded to ambulance calls. They were on call at all hours.
Joan did her share of handling calls and driving one of the two ambulance vehicles they owned. Later, she concentrated on dispatching duties.
She mentioned that Bob Fix, Buffalo's present police chief, worked with the ambulance service for a time when he first came to town.
Wright County Ambulance eventually left the local scene as most communities set up their own ambulance services and the Buffalo Hospital established an ambulance service.
Don is survived by his loving wife Joan E. Christiansen, son Curt (Margaret) Christiansen of Golden Valley, Daughter Jody (Tom) Peterson of Buffalo, grandchildren Chuck Peterson, Jesse, Lucas and Aubrie Christiansen, great grandchild Nicholas Peterson, brothers and sisters Marie Sundquist, Cliff (Mona) Christiansen, Carol (Dennis) Mostad, Phyllis Carlin, Lois (Chuck) Seldon, Charles (Alice) Christiansen, Diann Dougherty and Sonja (Roberto) Bari, mother-in-law Martha Gilbert, brother-in-law Robert (Joyce) Gilbert, and sister-in-law Helen (Les) Bakke. He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service will be held this Thursday, August 11, 2 p.m., at the Evangelical Covenant Church in Buffalo. Rev. Carl L. Taylor and Rev. Randy Orison will officiate. Interment at Lakeview Cemetery will precede the service. Friends were to call at the Peterson Chapel in Buffalo on Wednesday, August 10 from 4-8 p.m.
Arrangements by the Peterson Chapel.
The family is rejoicing knowing heaven is Don's new home, and knowing they will see him again.
Tree planted in memory of Don Christiansen
There are many trees on the landscape just outside the Buffalo Hospital building. The addition of one more may not be noticed by many people, but the recent planting of a young evergreen tree in front of the hospital has a very special meaning for the family and friends of Don Christiansen.
The former ambulance service owner and operator passed away August 8. He is remembered by many for the part he played in the local medical community during the early years of the Buffalo Hospital.
During a gathering of friends and family members at the tree planting event last Thursday evening, August 25, hospital administrator Mary Ellen Wells said it is not the hospital building that makes medical services work, it is the people. Don Christiansen was one of the people who made a lasting difference in the community.
Jack Bodin, a former sheriff's department official, remembers Christiansen's pride in providing a quality ambulance service. "He broke new ground and set a standard for the future." he said in a statement read at the tree planting.
Jim McDonnell, publisher of the Journal -Press, said, "If anyone washed his car more than Donny, I would like to know who." HE added that Christiansen continued to help others even after he developed health problems of his own.
Sheriff Don Hozempa remembered how fast Christiansen would get to the scene of an emergency. He was available day and night.
Hozempa said Christiansen was known as "Load 'em and Go." He added that Christiansen was a great supporter of law enforcement.
Buffalo Mayor Fred Naaktgeboren spoke about Christiansen's care for patients and the special care he gave to details.
Getting back to how fast Christiansen responded to emergencies, Buffalo Police Chief Fix said, "He must have slept with his pants on."
During his early years in Buffalo, Fix worked for Christiansen. "He would call and tell me he would pick me up for a run, and before I was out of the house, he was at the door to pick me up." Fix recalled.
Christiansen's wife Joan remembered, "One time when he was in the hospital, he said, "If anything happens to me, be sure to keep the cars clean."
The tree planted in memory of Don Christiansen is located just west of the hospital's main entrance in front of the building's southwest wing.
Journal-Press, Buffalo, MN September 1, 1994
"How proud Don would have been last night of the wonderful things that were said and done for him. Thanks so very much! Joan, Curt, Jody Christiansen and families"
Curtis Robert Christiansen (1951 - 2006)*
Created by: Dorothy Peterson Kunz
Record added: May 29, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 90952178