Dr. Michael Wayne Christensen, “Mato-Topé" (Four Bears), passed away peacefully Saturday, April 2, 2019, at his home in Mesa, AZ, at age 59. He was surrounded by his family and loved ones.
He is survived by the love of his life, Bobbie Christensen; their children, Justin (Megan) Christensen, Benjamin (Becky) Christensen, and Kendra (Jerod) Roland; six grandchildren; his father, Michael Ward; and his siblings, David Christensen, Cherese Lewis, and Devon Ward. Additionally, he leaves behind many aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Michael was born to Marlene Ward (Burr) and David F. Christensen on Feb. 28, 1960, in Chicago, IL, though his formative years were spent on the Christensen family ranch in Halliday, ND. It was there that he developed an exceptional work ethic equally matched by a love for the outdoors. Throughout his youth he enjoyed hunting, fishing, trapping, and competing in rodeos. These activities were often shared with his beloved brother, David, who was his best friend and closest confidant.
Though he adored his adventures outdoors, Michael was gifted with an astonishing wit and an iron-clad memory. He attended school in several places across the midwest before moving to Washington State where he met the love of his life Bobbie Nichols. He graduated from North Beach High School in 1978, then enrolled at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA.
Soon thereafter, Michael and Bobbie were married and moved on to the University of North Dakota where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.S. in Natural Sciences. After graduating from UND, Michael was accepted into the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO, where he graduated with his M.D. He then went on to complete his OB/GYN residency at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. During this time, the couple welcomed two sons and a daughter.
In 1990, Mike took a position with Indian Health Services in Rapid City. In 1992, he entered in to private practice in Rapid City, where he stayed until his retirement in 2012. Over the course of his career he garnered the respect of his peers and was known as an exceptionally skilled surgeon and physician who devoted himself to bringing life into this world.
Michael was a devoted father, a proud and loving grandpa, a friend, a physician and a mentor. He was a man who was blessed with wisdom beyond his years. He saw only the best in people and was almost universally adored by all who had the pleasure of knowing him. His words were kind and gentle, but never without a bit of his characteristic humor and contagious smile. He often would sit and tell stories of his adventures, his experiences, or just tall tales that would leave his audience in stitches.
He was an avid golfer and loved to play pinochle, dice, and dominoes. He was a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan and never gave up hope that they would one day win a Super Bowl. But above all, Michael adored his wife Bobbie. After his retirement he often would share that he was lucky to spend almost every day of the past seven years with her. Together, they traveled the country, had adventures, and were constantly visiting family and friends. He will be missed, but comfort can be taken in the knowledge that Michael left this world a better place through his practice, love, and humor.
Services will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Twin Buttes Veterans Memorial Hall in Twin Buttes, ND.