Nelle Marie Christensen (Jones)
October 27, 1931 - April 15, 2018
Nelle Christensen passed away April 15, 2018 in Medford, Oregon. She was born October 27, 1931 in Clinton, Oklahoma. She was the daughter of Hercel C. Jones and Florence L. Jones (Hill).
She grew up during the Great Depression. Fleeing the Dust Bowl in 1939, her mother Florence and her second husband, Daily, loaded the pickup truck and trailer with five children and headed west. They landed in Talent, Ore. at a peach orchard on Beeson Lane.
She married Carl Fredrick Christensen Jr. on November 9, 1947 in Carson City, Nevada. This union produced five children. They divorced in 1961, leaving her to raise five children as a single parent. In her early life, Nelle worked picking corn and tomatoes in the fields. She later worked at some of Medford’s landmark restaurants, including Hunt’s Ice Cream, Hal’s Hideaway, and Kim’s.
In 1962, wanting a better way of life for her family, she enrolled at Southern Oregon College (SOC) and graduated in 1968 with a BA in English. While putting herself through school and raising children, she was also involved in the following volunteer work; was a founding member of Head Start, Board of Directors for Jackson Co. office of Economic Opportunity, and as a children’s speech therapist.
After graduating SOC in 1968, she was hired by the Sacramento County Welfare as a social worker until 1975. She later received a master’s degree in social work from Sacramento State College.
In later years, she helped start the California Homemakers Association (CHA) and the National Labor Federation on both the east and west coasts. To this day, these organizations still provide a centralized voice for workers to help them obtain better wages and working conditions.
In 1982 Nelle moved to Seattle, teaching adult education for the University of Washington. She also went on to develop and administer training for the YMCA disabled adults. This program helped place disadvantaged adults in independent living. As well, she was a founding member of the Goodwill Literacy Program. In 1993 she graduated with a doctor of divinity from the Academy of Universal Truth.
She is survived by her brother, Jack Jones of Lompoc, Calif.; her children, Kathleen F. Romig (Robert), Diane Reichert, and Laura Christensen, all of Medford, Ore., and John Christensen (Gwen) of Rogue River Ore. She has seven grandchildren; 13 great-grand-children, and four great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her father, Hercel C. Jones; mother, Florence L. Smith (Hill); brothers, Earl Jones and Neil Jones; sister, Ethel Ray Buckles; son, Arlon J. Christensen; and grandsons, Drake J. Marshall and Joel D. Romig.
The family would like to thank the workers at Asante Hospice and Home Instead Senior Care for their excellent care for Mom in the last few weeks.
Funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday April 21, 2018 at Memory Gardens Memorial Park, 1395 Arnold Lane Medford, Oregon 97501. The service will be held in the funeral chapel building.