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In Memory of Clarice Christensen

Clarice Christensen in Memoriam — 

By Carlo Christensen

Clarice passed away September 13, 2013 at the Solvang Lutheran Home.

She was born on a farm near Harlan, Iowa of Danish immigrant parents.

She was a lifelong teacher with a remarkable career that started in a little “Red Schoolhouse out on the Prairie”. After a few years there she moved west and settled as a highly appreciated teacher in South Pasadena. At her retirement she was duly honored by that city, and by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Clarice never married, but her students were all her children.

In the early 1950’s, she joined her brother Lloyd at the L.A. Danish Church. Here Lloyd was the leader of the Folkdancers, with solid support of Clarice. This group was well known, and highly visible and appreciated at various cultural events throughout the Southland. Lloyd’s widow Ellen and Clarice created and sewed the copies of authentic folk costumes, from various parts of Denmark. Clarice could also be named as the official photographer, with countless pictures, the pride of her life. Lately she was seldom seen without an album under her arm, which she shared freely with anyone she came in contact with.

On Saturday, September 28, 2013, a memorial service was held at the Danish Church in Yorba Linda. Pastor Anne-Grethe conducted a very nice service in her usual relaxed, easygoing way, supported by multi-talented organist Rush Robinson. The service was followed by a social gathering at the Knudsen Cultural Center. Delicious refreshments, best described as a “Sonderjysk Kaffebord” was thoroughly enjoyed. Several friends offered a variety of interesting stories from Clarice’s life, one among others, glances over at the display of pictures, and said with some sadness, “our names will be forgotten , as the snow of yesteryear, (vore navne glemmes som sne der faldt i fjor). Fortunately our former Pastor Nakamura(sen) erased the sadness by saying “sure, but it is still snowing”. And indeed, by looking around at all the beautiful youngsters of the Christensen Clan and their friends, there is no need for sadness because, “for the old ones who fell, there are new ones everywhere”. (For de gamle der faldt, er der ny overalt). So don’t despair.

Some of Clarice’s costumes and pictures are already at the Danish Immigrant Museum in Elk Horn, Iowa, and hopefully more will follow.

Her life story is an important part of the ongoing cultural ties among all Americans of Danish decent, as well as Danish Americans.

Honored forever be her memory. CC.