Early in the morning of August 31, 2021, our kind and loving father, brother, husband and friend Kay Christensen quietly passed away in his sleep at his home in Draper, Utah of natural causes pursuant to age. Kay was born March 15, 1944 to Merlin Deloy and Martha Catherine Bishop Christensen in Delta, Utah. He was accompanied on this blessed day by his best friend, Ray. Kay and Ray were later told in patriarchal blessings that they were such good friends in heaven that they were promised that they could come to this earth together. Kay didn't mind sharing his parents, his birthday and the family's attentions with Ray. Sharing was one of his superpowers...perfected through a lifetime of service and giving. Kay was either the third, or fourth child born to Merlin and Martha (no one knows for sure which) having been preceded in birth by a sister, Shirley, and a brother, Ken Deloy. They were later followed by Don Merlin, Ann Catherine, Scott D and Jerry.
Kay was brought up like most kids in small farming towns in America. He learned to believe in God and His plan, to work hard, to be respectful of others, and to love his family and country. His baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Manti Temple at age 8 cemented in him an unending devotion to the gospel and a love of that special temple.
Kay was handsome and well-liked. He learned to play the trombone and played in both the Delta High band-where he served as Band President-and the BYU marching band. He also played basketball on the high school team, sang in various choirs and had roles in various musicals. He was a Boy's State attendee in 1962 and excelled at many things during his time in school.
One event stands above all others in his time at Delta High. During Kay's sophomore year his older brother and hero, Ken, passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. This sensitized him to loss and steeled his determination to remain faithful to the belief that his family could be together forever.
After high school Kay was drafted, but was found to have a heart murmur which eliminated him from serving. He enrolled at BYU and was later called on a mission to Scotland where he faithfully served and fell in love with the people and the culture – but not the food. After returning from Scotland, he resumed his studies at BYU and had his mind turned to marriage and starting a family. He was drawn to the lovely Annette Moody from Sutherland, Utah. They were married in July, 1965, and together they were blessed with 6 talented and beautiful children: Kara Ann, Jana Kay, David Kay, Heather, Natalie and Lara Lee. Kay valued his relationship with Annette's family and cherished the friendships and memories made with her siblings for the rest of his life.
While attending BYU, Kay put his business skills to the test and started an insulation company. Through hard work and talent he grew that business into a powerhouse in the industry. Intermountain West Insulation eventually had franchises across Utah and several western states. It seemed any family member or friend who was interested was provided the opportunity of a franchise. Kay and Annette both had a love of travel and visited many beautiful places around the world together. Kay developed a special love for Hawaii and passed that love along to the rest of his family...and to his posterity.
Kay was a member of the Cougar Club and cheered for "the Y" throughout his life. His satin BYU Cougars jackets were as permanent a fixture in his life as strawberry pop and candy. He was making plans this year to get Cougar basketball tickets again. The stadium, Marriott Center, campus and BYU Bookstore were all places Kay took solace when life wasn't perfect.
After more than 20 years of marriage, Kay and Annette divorced. Again, he felt the sting of significant loss. Not wanting to be a distraction, Kay moved to St. Louis, Missouri, started another company and threw himself into his work. He was joined in that office by Kara. He repeated this process in Kansas City a couple of years later where David joined the company and learned the business. Through those years in Missouri, Kay enjoyed summers with his children, and the occasional visit, but his desire to be closer to his family more of the time finally led him to move back to Utah.
As his workload decreased, he found additional opportunities to serve. He was a regular volunteer at the Provo Missionary Training Center as well as a regional planner/representative for Single Adults in Utah County. He lived on his own or with some of his children's families during this time.
Kay experienced another great loss when his daughter, Heather was killed on the way back from a marching band competition in Idaho. Heather left the safety of her seat and tried to correct the course of the bus as it traveled off the freeway and toward dangerous terrain after the driver lost consciousness. Kay and Heather shared a love of family history and genealogy and had collaborated on many projects gathering and preserving Christensen family history. This tragedy left him reeling. He rode the whirlwind of interviews, high school and college band memorials and community commemorations for Heather. He spoke to anyone he encountered-at work, or elsewhere-of his remarkable daughter and her tragic loss. As the pain dulled over time he returned again to the things he knew would ensure his chance to be with his daughter again. And to the end he carried Heather's temple recommend alongside his own.
Kay likely logged a million miles traveling to Delta through the years, seeking a physical closeness to the places, the people and the memories he held so dear. But he was too often lonely. He was blessed to meet Linda Eslick Arnold who became not only his wife, but his travel companion and friend. Through the last years of Kay's life they traveled far and wide to celebrate holidays and school events with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. They attended rodeos, ball games, weddings, receptions, homecomings and anything else they could find to share time with each other and with family. Linda's presence was a blessing in Kay's life. With her along to handle the bulk of the visiting, he was free to just sit and observe the family he loved so much around him. He quietly reveled in it. With a little smile on his face. Then, before anyone else was ready for them to go, he would announce their departure and express his hope that family would be together again soon. He loved having that plan to look forward to. Recently family announced to him that they would be working to organize a big Christensen Family Reunion for summer 2022. Kay was thrilled with the idea...but it seems he may have chosen an earlier, alternate reunion.
Kay leaves behind his wife and friend: Linda Arnold Christensen; his sisters: Shirley Roper and Ann (Hal) Schmid; his brothers: Ray (Rinda) Christensen and Jerry (Christina) Christensen; sister-in-law: Marilyn Oliver; his lifelong friend: Junior Songer; his children: Kara (Richard) Higginson, Jana (Eric) Hogenson, David (Jamie) Christensen, Natalie (Dan) Hooge, Lara Christensen; grandchildren: Richard Kay (Haley) Higginson, Nathan Higginson, Sarah (Parker) Lemon, David Higginson, Matthew (Danielle) Higginson, Kristina (Anthony) Raitani, Zachary Hogenson, Nate (Lindsey) Hogenson, Jansson Hogenson, Brooklyn Christensen, Madison (Kyle) Andrew, Logan Christensen, Cameron Christensen, Corbin Christensen, Aspen Christensen, Hailey Hooge, Hayden Hooge, Harrison Hooge, Hudson Hooge, Hyer Hooge, Hannah Hooge; and great-grandchildren: Jane Higginson, Oliver Higginson, James Lemon, William Higginson, Caleb Lemon, Penelope Raitani, Annette Higginson. Kay was preceded in death by his parents: Merlin & Martha Catherine Christensen; his brothers: Ken Deloy, Don Merlin and Scott D Christensen: his brother-in-law: Gary Roper and his beloved daughter: Heather Christensen.
As we celebrate the life of our pleasant, unselfish and remarkable father, we ask that you take a little time to quietly reflect on the priceless relationships which bless your life. Then express those feelings to the individuals involved. Then, go reconcile the relationships that need improvement. In the end it is those relationships that will bind us together and help us stretch into eternity.
Funeral Services will be held on Monday, September 6, at 11:00 am, at the Nickle Mortuary, 190 South Center Street, Delta. Viewings will be held at the Nickle Mortuary on Sunday evening, 6:00-7:30 pm; and Monday, 9:30-10:40 am, prior to the service. The service will be live streamed through the link: https://youtu.be/FvlKY9fBSu4. Burial will be in the Delta City Cemetery.