Odell V. Christensen, 94, of Prosser, passed away on October 22, 2017 at his home in Prosser.
He was born on July 25, 1923 to Nels Ephraim and Ida (Braegger) Christensen in Bear River City, Utah. He was raised on the family dairy farm with his brother and three sisters. At the age of ten, he took on the responsibilities of delivering newspapers for the Salt Lake Tribune on horseback. He attended school in Bear River City and graduated from Box Elder High School in Brigham City. He went on to attend the Utah State Agricultural College in Logan where he studied Airplane Propeller Mechanics for a year. Odell married Lila Lee Potter in Malad, Idaho and the couple made their home in Bear River City where their daughter and son were born.
In 1943, Odell was working at Hill Air Force Base in Layton, Utah when he was drafted into the U.S. Navy and assigned to the USS Wasp air ship carrier and then to an LCIG (Landing Craft Infantry Gunboat), a flat bottom boat used for underwater demolition as part of the amphibious force to clean out a harbor before the troops would land and storm the beachhead. Odell was involved in six major battles and countless invasions. He was one of the few who survived the conflicts he was involved in. Odell was awarded four stars for the Asiatic Pacific conflict and two stars for the Philippine Liberation as well as a Navy Unit Commendation Ribbon. Following his honorable discharge in 1946, Odell resumed all his previous duties on the family farm. In 1957, Odell left the farm to work as a tugboat captain on the Great Salt Lake for the next three years, constructing a causeway made of rock and gravel to replace a 1903 wooden trestle used to cross the lake. That job was the beginning of a long and successful career for Odell in civil construction. He became a member of the Operating Engineers Union and operated heavy equipment, primarily loaders and scrapers in construction of roads, dams and bridges over the next thirty years. On August 11, 1979, Odell married Ida Lazenby Putnam and she traveled with him on numerous jobs around the country until Odell retired in 1985 and the couple made their home in Salem, Utah. Following the death of his wife Ida in 2011, Odell moved to Prosser to live with his son, Gary.
Odell was a member and Elder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Prosser Ward. He enjoyed reading, especially Louis L’Amour books, gardening, swimming and playing the saxophone.
Odell is survived by his children, Gary (Annette) Christensen and Linda Brown; eight grandchildren; twenty-one great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren; his brother, Boyd Christensen and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; first wife, Lila Lee (Potter); second wife, Ida (Lazenby Putnman); and three sisters, Emerene Anderson, Damsel Nielson and Janae Duke.
Funeral services will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, October 26th at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Prosser Ward. Visitation will be held prior to the service beginning at 10:00 a.m. Concluding services and burial will follow in the Grandview Cemetery with Full Military Honors provided by the Lower Valley Honor Guard. The family extends special appreciation to Heartlinks Hospice & Palliative Care and ResCare Home Care for their support and care of our father over the past few weeks. You may leave a message for the family at www.Prosserfuneralhome.com