G. Norman Christensen M.D. May 16, 1935 – July 5, 2023
Dr. G. Norman Christensen (Doc Chris), husband, father, grandfather, physician and humanitarian passed away on July 5, 2023. Norm had a love for life and was always ready for a challenge and adventure, with a passion for medicine. His life was filled with love for his family, God, medicine and music. Norm is preceded in death by his parents George and Franc Christensen and his brother Bill.
Born in Rochester, MN, he moved with his family to Wickenburg, Arizona as a young boy and graduated from Globe High School.
Norm earned his Bachelor of Science from University of Arizona in Tucson and his Medical Degree at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. He completed his internship at the Minneapolis General Hospital, followed by a surgery residency at the Albuquerque Veterans and Bernalillo Indian hospitals and another two years as a surgeon at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX. He obtained the rank of Captain in the United States Air Force.
Norm joined the Eastern Nevada Medical Group in July 1968 and became part of a team of five doctors that provided clinical medical support to White Pine County; this was the first incorporated medical group in Nevada. As a board-certified surgeon he worked with the Eastern Nevada Medical Group, the White Pine County Hospital, and the William Bee Ririe Hospital and Clinic. During his tenure he served as the Medical Director, Chief of Staff, and a member of the Hospital Board at the William Bee Ririe Hospital. He also served as the Medical Director of the White Pine Care Center for 53 years, and started the local Emergency Medical Service (EMS) in White Pine County, serving as the Medical Director for 50 years.
To support organized medicine Norm served as a rural representative for the Nevada State Medical Association for many years. In 1991 he was President of the NSMA and he was later selected as “Doctor of the Year”. He served as a representative to the American Medical Association, and on the State Medical Licensing Board.
Norm was very invested in educating future health care workers. He sponsored students to PA school, supported nurse practitioners in remote areas, and served as a mentor to physicians in training. Over the years, Norm served as a rural preceptor for over 200 students from the UNR School of Medicine to expose them to the unique needs of rural medicine.
Shortly after arriving in Ely, Norm and his family joined the Ely United Methodist Church. He served as a trustee and as the Church Council Chairman for many years. He was critical to the completion of the new church facility that was a 25 year project.
Norm was Rotarian for over 50 years, and served as president for two terms. He also liked older vehicles and enjoyed his 1941 and 1965 Chevrolet pickups along with activities with the White Pine Historical Car Club.
Appaloosa horses were one of Norm’s greatest pleasures. Over the years he enjoyed trail riding, showing, cutting, chariot racing and raising his own hay. He was an active member of the Shellbourne Re-riders, completing the Pony Express Annual Reride 42 times.
Norm loved to sing and play the trombone. He sang with the White Pine Community Choir, the Ely United Methodist Church Choir, and The Pick Up Quartet. He played trombone at every opportunity with The Cheatgrass Band and performed with the “76 Trombones” in Las Vegas.
Norm is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joyce; daughter, Deborah (Gary); grandchildren Hayden, Marissa, and Sydney; son, Chris (Rose); grandchildren Armando, Holly, and Joseph; son, Bret (Valerie); grandchildren Drake and Kyla; seven great grandchildren.
The family would like to express their thanks for the outstanding and compassionate care provided by the staff at the William Bee Ririe Hospital.
A Memorial Service is scheduled for August 12, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Ely. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation in his honor to the William Bee Ririe Hospital or the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Salt Lake City.