We Remember


1927 – 2023

On September 23, 2023, Jens Peder Christensen, passed away at the age of 96. He was a son, brother, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, and friend. He will be loved forever by his family, daughter Karen Christensen (Riyn MacGregor), her children, Ben Christensen, Brigitte Halun, Trent Halun, Troy MacGregor and Ashley Sawatsky. Also remaining behind are his daughters Iwalani Rose (Gary) and Debra Hogan (David).

Peder was pre-deceased by his wife, Margaret Christensen, in 2011, and his son Jamie Christensen, in 2002, and his son Kim Christensen, in 1979.

Peder was born in central Denmark in 1927. His family were landowners and farmers and they raised cattle, horses, goats, chickens, pigs and grew many crops. He slept in the loft of the barn, his bed was made of straw, and his dog Smoot kept his feet warm and the mice away. He had 13 brothers and sisters all of whom perished before him. He was the last sibling to live.

During the WW2, he worked with the Danish underground to deter the war. His headmaster was in charge of their region. In Peder’s efforts he bravely went on midnight missions to support air drops and shipment of supplies while dodging bullets from enemy planes. He was forced to leave Denmark suddenly during one of these missions, he couldn’t tell his family, and he ended up going to Sweden and over to England. He had to survive so he enlisted with the British Army. He was only 15 and lied about his age with fake ID used from an older brother who passed away as an infant, but in those days if you were born after such a tragedy, you would take on the same name as the deceased brother. Peder was trained as a paratrooper and was a member of the 6th Airborne Division. He had many missions as a paratrooper. In one mission, Peder was sent to the jungles of the east to help find Japanese soldiers who didn’t realize the war was over. Towards the latter half of his service, Peder was on the ship SS Exodus, which took 4,515 Jewish migrants back and forth from France to Cypress, back to Europe and then to Haifa. He helped pregnant women on board give birth. He had to fight on gang-planks from ship-to-ship as the war was still rife with conflict. The United Nations General Assembly approved a resolution to partition Palestine, and that is where Peder served as one of the very first peace-keepers. He was honourably discharged in 1948 and returned to Denmark and took an agricultural course with his older brother Nels.

What an adventure this farm-boy was on, and it wasn’t enough. In 1950 Peder said goodbye to his family and took a steamship across the Atlantic to Canada, where he became a Canadian citizen under the federal authority as a C.N.R. Special Agricultural Nominee.

He first landed in Quebec and worked on a farm, but he wanted to go west, so he ended up on a farm in Ontario, but he wanted to go more west, so he and a friend drove to B.C. in Peder’s 1937 Ford Coupe. He said that the road was so bumpy that the front fenders fell off and he had to throw them in the trunk. He eventually made it to BC and worked on the Island as a logger. He didn’t like the rain so he planned a drive to Alberta, but was stopped on the way and was commandeered to become a fire-fighter, on the spot. He helped to put that blaze out, and carried on to Calgary. While living in Calgary, he worked various jobs as a dump truck driver, labor, but eventually became a painting contractor. The big attraction for Peder to move to Canada was that he admired the wild west paintings of horses and mountains and rivers and lakes. He loved nature.

He met his wife, Margaret May Henry in 1961, and they married in Calgary in 1963. She was the love of his life. In 1964, they had a son, Jamie Christensen, and in 1966, a daughter, Karen Christensen. Once Karen was born, they moved to Kelowna, B.C.

In 1967, Peder started Christensen Painting & Decorating, and worked it for over 40 years here in the Okanagan.  He painted everything from the downtown Kelowna Sails sculpture to private homes and commercial businesses. He reluctantly retired at around age 80.

His last 26 years has been spent taking care of everyone he loves. He sat with mom holding her hand until her death in 2011. He also endured losing his sons. We never saw him cry, he was the strong one. He was so positive, gentle and loving. Peder lived the last 10 years with his daughter Karen and her family. Together they built a new house and he had his own suite. He would say everyday when he woke up and looked out the window that he thought he lived in paradise. He loved mowing the lawn and tending to the garden. He shovelled snow. He walked the dog. He did the recycling. He kept everyone in line. He loved being around ‘young people’ because old people were boring. He loved our three dogs, they were his buddies. He was never lonely. He never complained. He always said family comes first.

The family will be holding a celebration of his enormous life on Sunday, October 29, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. The address is 909 Mount Royal Drive, Kelowna. If you knew Peder, or his family, please come say hello.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2023 at 2:00 PM

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