Written by The Herald-News
Raymond Neil Christoffersen, 86, died Wednesday, July 10, 2013, at Roosevelt Medical Center in Culbertson.
He was born at Lake Preston, S.D., July 26, 1926, to Alfred and Hattie (Hanson) Christoffersen. He attended a rural school there for eight years and attended high school in Lake Preston for one year. In 1942, he moved to Froid, where he worked for his uncles Ewald and Holger Christoffersen and completed his sophomore and junior years at Froid High School.
In 1944, he volunteered for military service and served in Europe with the U.S. Army’s 106th Infantry Division. While he was overseas, his mother died and, in August 1946, he was honorably discharged as a Specialist 5 and returned to South Dakota. His father was hospitalized, so he cared for his younger brother and sister, as well as operating the family farm. After his father’s death in March 1947, Ray returned to Froid, where he started farming.
He married Iris Ester Overland in 1951. They had six children before her death in August 1971. Raymond enjoyed fishing trips to Canada as well as spending time vacationing with his family in his earlier days.
Although he never finished high school, he was a certified journeyman blacksmith and also highly skilled as a welder, machinist, mechanic, electrician, carpenter, mastering many skills. He worked for Herb Base as an electrician, for the Farmers Union Oil Company and for Steve’s Chevrolet as a blacksmith, machinist and mechanic; and also worked on road construction, plumbing, did boiler work, was a custom combiner ... he did it all, as well as taking care of his own farm work.
He is survived by three sons, Steven Christoffersen of Lincoln, Neb., Robert Christoffersen of Froid and James Christoffersen of Dickinson, N.D.; a daughter, Elizabeth Bartlett of Billings; three grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a sister, Carol Lebsack of Denver, Colo.
Besides his wife, Iris, he was preceded in death by two sons, Owen in 1991 and Neal in 2000; a sister, Jeannette Gade; and three brothers, Warren, Harold and Alfred “Bud” Christoffersen.
Memorial services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 20. Pastor Jan Martin will officiate at the service at Froid Lutheran Church, with military honors following the service. Private interment of cremated remains in Big Lake Cemetery, east of Homestead, will be held at a later time.