Thomas Ray Christensen, age 70, passed away on Monday, April 23, 2018 doing one of the things he loved most – yard work at his mother’s home in Darlington.
”Tom C. grew up in an agribusiness family and spent the greatest part of his childhood in the enchanting woods above and thick brambles along the muddy Pecatonica River. Rugged rock outcroppings, signatures of this magical Driftless Area of SW Wisconsin, added drama to the woods, and his imagination. While he had those dear friends that the best of childhood is accompanied by, he always seemed to see things, feel things, wonder about things, a long way beyond what his friends recognized when he tried to share with them. He left Luther College in his third semester, to find the fundamental answers that god had to have made available to anyone, not just to students in the cornfields of NE Iowa. That journey is a book in itself, but in short, has led him around the world, to teachers, lovers, healers, yogis, shamans, strangers with huge hearts and experiences that left him living in the largest circle of belonging humans have available,” wrote Tom in the foreword of his forthcoming poetry book.
Born Aug. 4, 1947 in Darlington, Tom went on to attend Luther College to study and play basketball. Upon leaving college early, he enlisted in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Returning to Wisconsin following his service, he settled in Madison and studied Philosophy, Religion, Art, South East Asian Studies and Counseling Psychology as an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. After ending his formal studies, Tom continued his quest for knowledge on his own up until the very end of his life, ultimately becoming an active member of the Gravesian Theory and Metamodernist communities of thought.
Tom was a thinker, scholar, gifted writer, dreamer, entrepreneur, realtor, salesman (from Bobcats and kitchenware to innovative technology), artist, boogie-woogie piano player, spiritual seeker, teacher, basketball player, mentor, friend, veteran, husband, father, member of many community organizations, lover of animals, the guy with the little rubber animals and so much more. He was many things to many people. You could often find him dancing down the streets of Madison on his rollerblades rocking out to his Walkman or working with plants in his lush magical garden at 1243 Jenifer Street or more recently his new home in Mineral Point that gave him such pride. He was captivating and knew how to draw people into his playful world, especially children. He never lost his sense of childlike wonder at the miraculous beauty in everything. He was genuinely interested in talking with people and hearing their stories, offering advice and help whenever he was able. He was loved dearly by many and will live on in the hearts of all he touched as a powerful inspiration to live life to the fullest.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, Harry J Christensen. He is survived by his wife: Stephanie Kessenich; mother: Gladys Christensen; sister: Cheryl Christensen (Sue Scott); sons: Kier, Toffer (Hsiao Mei Chou), and Andrew Christensen; daughter: Kara Christensen; stepchildren: Monica, Nick, and Dylan Remis; and grandchildren: Koll and Adderley Christensen and TuHoi and Heleke.
A Celebration of Tom’s life was held Sunday, April 29, from 2-4 p.m. at his home in Mineral Point, Wis., at 205 Merry Christmas Lane.
The family asks in lieu of flowers to please plant a tree, feed the birds, or otherwise take in all that mother nature has to offer, in Tom’s honor.