Althea Joanne (Thompson) Christensen passed away peacefully at her home in Anita Iowa on December 9, 2022. Her husband of 70 years, Thomas Henry Christensen, was by her side. She will be the most remembered for the loving care she gave to all her family. She was born the youngest of 5 daughters to C. Elvin and Dorothy Thompson on June 25, 1934, near Grainton, Nebraska. She began school in Wiota, Iowa and moved to Anita where she graduated from Anita High School in 1952. As a teenager she and her family lived in a home that was located where the Park Ranger home is now at the entrance to Lake Anita. Family remembers her sadness as that home was destroyed to make way for the lake.
She married her high school sweetheart, Tom Christensen, shortly after graduation on July 11, 1952, at the Anita United Methodist Church. Once married, they made their home in the upstairs of Tom’s aunt and uncle (Shorty and Genevieve Christensen) on West Main in Anita. During their first year of marriage, Tom was drafted into the Army and was overseas in Germany for 2 years. While Tom was away, Joanne babysat and worked at the Anita Café. During that time, she lived with different relatives until she bought their first home on Cherry Street. This home saw the birth of their children, Cheri Leigh, Kent Alan and Charl Rhea. At the news of expecting a 4th child (Camma Dee), they moved their family back to the larger house on West Main where they had lived as newlyweds.
In 1972 Tom and Joanne moved their family to Osceola Iowa to own and operate several feed stores while supporting Tom’s over the road semi-truck business. Here Joanne focused her time caring for her mother, raising the family and assisting Tom with the feed store business. In 1983 with all their children graduated from college and on their own, Tom and Joanne returned to their extended family in Anita. Once back in their beloved Anita she enjoyed camping, playing cards, and gardening, always with Tom and their family. She especially loved the times kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces, nephews, great niece, and nephews could all be together. She loved to be out in the community and hear a little voice call out “Aunt Joanne”” or Grandma Jo”.
In the past several years, Joanne has enjoyed spending time with her great-grandchildren reading books or singing songs. She is well known for her rendition of “The Wheels on the Bus”! These were the times her face would light up with joy for these precious children.
Proceeding in death by her Parents, C. Elvin and Dorothy Thompson; Sisters, Lula Marie Wrede, Alice Peterson, Edith Lett, son Kent Alan Christensen and several nieces and nephews.
Surviving family includes husband Tom, children Cheri (Jim) Miller, Charl (David) Claussen, Camma Stott, Mark Miller, Shelly Obermeire, sister Betty Belle Ford, brother-in-law Roger Christensen. Grandchildren: Jeff (Augustmae)Miller, Cecilia Miller, Michael (Arlina)Miller, Drew Stott, Alcia Stott, Ethan Clausen, Erin (Kaleb) Lund, Emily Claussen (Brandon Johnston), Katie Hightower, Brian Hightower, and Ashley Hightower. Great-grandchildren: Juniper Miller, Remington Lund, Finnegan Lund, and Raidyn Johnston. She is also survived by many nieces and nephews who are too many to list, but she loved them all.
A Celebration of Life with a luncheon will be held at the Anita Methodist Church on Saturday January 7th, 2023, starting at 11:00 am in the church basement. The Schmidt Family Funeral Home of Anita is caring for Joanne and her family and condolences can be sent at: schmidtfamilyfh.com