Fern Sonja (Koljonen) Christensen was born April 26, 1948, to Andrew and Lois Koljonen. Her childhood was that of a typical farm girl, growing up in the fields, pastures and woods near New York Mills. Fern grew to have a love for nature, flowers, and farming. It was no surprise she embraced farm life when she married Bob on September 12, 1970. Together they farmed near Battle Lake, evolving from dairy to crop farming in later years. It was there they raised their three girls.
Fern was a hard worker, selfless, giving and kind. It was never a surprise when she showed up with a kettle of soup, paintbrush, or shovel to help someone she thought needed it. She was a fierce supporter of friends and family, and a loyal and loving soul – tough as nails, but with a huge heart. Fern had a habit of running a bit late, but always showed up. Her friends would agree she gave more than she was willing to take. Sewing and quilting were a favorite pastime. Working best under pressure, you would find her whipping up a quilt just days before a graduation, wedding or baby shower.
Fern’s attic was filled with gifts she stocked up on for anyone, especially kids. Fern adored children. Her face would light up at the sight of a baby or child, and she would soon be engaged in conversation. Her creative ideas for childhood fun will be cherished forever.
Fern’s love of nature showed in her beautiful flower and vegetable gardens, where you would find her working tirelessly in her floppy hat. Her girls and Bob worked alongside for years, selling pumpkins, squash and gourds at their charming roadside stand. Fern’s faithwas an integral part of her being, and she leaned on that faith throughout her life. In quiet times, she was a voracious reader; a mystery or suspense book could always be found nearby. Another favorite pastime was exploring garage sales with Bob, and they were masters at finding a good bargain. Fern was funny, creative, resourceful and kind. If there was a will, there was a way
– and Fern would find it.
Some light went out of Fern when she lost Bob in February 2018. Health issues made the last years of her journey difficult, but her faith remained, and she looked forward to being reunited with Bob. Her fighting spirit and love of family helped her endure years of kidney dialysis and cancer.
Fern passed away December 4, 2022, at her home. She is survived by her children Jennifer ( Kendall) Cikanek of Baker City, Oregon; Allison (Joshua) Wyatt of Goodhue, Minn.; and Rosanne (Justin) Oberstar of Battle Lake, Minn. grandchildren Karsten & Jarren Cikanek; brothers Gary (Janet) Koljonen of Great Falls, Montana, Ron Koljonen of Spokane, Wash.; Gerald (Stephanie) Koljonen; and Ross (Ruth) Koljonen of New York Mills, Minn. Preceding her in death were her husband Bob Christensen, parents Andrew & Lois Koljonen, and brother Kevin Koljonen.
It’s hard to turn the page when you know someone won’t be in the next chapter, but the story must go on. Fern’s friends and family will miss her greatly.
Funeral service: 2:00 P.M., Saturday, December 10, 2022, at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Richville, MN, with limited seating of 75. The family encourages close family and friends to attend, but the service is not private.
Celebration of Life: 11:00 a.m., Saturday, December 10, 2022, at Trinity Lutheran Church in New York Mills, MN, hosted by Fern's brother Pastor Gary Koljonen.
A reception with a full meal that would make Fern proud will be held at a later date this summer.
Funeral arrangements are with the Glende-Nilson Funeral Home of Battle Lake for Fern Christensen.