Glenn was born Jan 7, 1904 on a small farm 9 1/2 miles north of Medina, North Dakota. He was the first of eleven children born toCarl and Inga (Olsen)Christopher.
Later the family moved to their home in Peterson Township, often called the "Christopher Camp." He attended early education in the rual school in Peterson Township and later in Medina.
Winters in North Dakota were brutal as this story from brother Ken explains:
"The one room school house was about 1 mile from the Christopher place. The kids walked to school most days. In the winter it was so cold and snowy, sometimes they had to hold their arms in between the barred wires so they wouldn't get lost. North Dakota winters were so cold that when the kids walked to school, the oldest one would walk backwards and watch all the noses of the little kids. As soon as he saw something turning white he would grab some snow and put on it as protection from frost bite. It was always pretty chilly in the winter. It was -30 or -40 sometimes but the wind always made it colder than that."
|Chrsitopher Camp Peterson Township 1916 Glenn on the front fender with the family dog|
Carl often wrote about Glenn in the Peterson Township section of the
Medina Citizen Newspaper:
When Carl took Inga to Rochester Minnesota to the Mayo Clinic for treatment for her in the fall of 1917, Glenn was left in charge of their place for weeks. He was only 13 at the time.
|Glenn and Roy|
Company H, 164th Infantry Regiment from June 13, 1925 to June 12, 1928. Some of that time was served at Camp Grafton, 1927.
He worked on the farm until 1931 when he carried mail for the Star Route. He put heated bricks in the mail wagon in the winter to keep warm. Sometimes he stayed overnight with someone at the end of his route because it was too cold to come back home at night. He held that position through the 30's which is the main reason he made it through the depression years when many farmers and townspeople didn't make it.
He moved into Medina in 1932 and on August 18, 1935 he married Edna Gieseke, (born 8/5/1904-Fairfield, Minnesota) at the English Lutheran Church of Medina. They lived in a small 2 room house which Glenn added on to as the family grew.
got together on Sunday afternoons for pot luck dinners followed by card games through the evening.
Daughter Janet remembers:
"Glenn and Edna knew each other well from school events such as dances. Glenn was dependable, serious, quiet and shy. So shy that when the engagment ring they had ordered arrive, he simply left it
in the Gieseke mailbox during his regular mail route. Edna attended a seamstress school in Jamestown and used her skills throughout her life taking in sewing for the townspeople. She and Glenn worked together on a drapery business. She would make the drapes and Glenn would hang them. Glenn was quite the perfectionist so their reputation grew and practially everyone in town got their drapes from them. Together they made it through the difficult time of the 30's."
Glenn was quite the mechanic even building his own car and he could do just about anything in woodworking. He added cupboards here and there in their house as Edna needed them. He build on a bedroom and bathroom to their home. Glenn was employed at Reule Implement Company for a while and later became a manager of the Feton Lumber Company for 35 years. He was active in community affairs and served on the Medina School Board, the Medina Fire Department and was a member of the Medina Lions Club. He also served on the church board of the English Lutheran Church.
Glenn raised his family in Medina. He loved Medina history and was a principle member of the Medina Historical Committee. He preserved the weekly issues of the local newspaper, the Medina Citizen, which was published from 1905 through 1920 and again from 1929-1934. The 75th anniversary of Medina was celebrated in the town in June of 1974. Using the Medina Citizen newspaper articles that were saved by Glenn, plus photos and biographies that were contributed by the community a memorial book was published. Inside the book, Glenn wrote the "History of Medina," and helped put together many of the articles and photographs featured.
The following dedication was written inside the front cover of the memorial publication, Diamond Jubilee:
"Deeply grateful to GLENN CHRISTOPHER, we dedicate to him this book. It was his foresight to save and preserve the early history of Medina so that we can again, relive the experiences of our pioneers and preserve their hardships, joys and accomplishments."
website where this publication can be found: http://digitalhorizonsonline.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/ndsl-books/id/11003/rec/25
1933 and the children were left to manage the farm. Glenn had
the mail route so he stayed in Medina and continued to work.
Glenn's brothers moved to Arlee, Montana around 1934-5. Three brothers died in the 40's: Vernon, Clifford, and Roy. Lester moved
to Missoula, then Anaconda, Montana. Bob moved to Missoula,
then back to Arlee, Lauren raised his family in Arlee. Ken raised
his family in Arlee, then moved to Polson. Don raised his family in Missoula and Arlee. Their sister, Ruth married A.G Skofstad of
Medina and raised her family in Polson Montana. Sister Doris
married A. Paul of Arlee and raised her family there.
|Glenn Lauren Lester Ken Bob and Don in 1949|
|Glenn Lauren Lester Ken Bob Don|
|Glenn, Edna, Mark, Janet and Paul|
Glenn and Edna moved to a second house in Medina raised their family there and when their children grew up they stayed within the state. Glenn taught his sons and grandsons woodworking and mechanical skills.
|Glenn with grandson Peter|
|Glenn eith Karna and Eric|
|with Eric Sarah Wes and Rus|
May 31, 1984, Glenn passed away in Medina, North Dakota. Edna passed away Nov. 10, 2001.
|Glenn and Edna|
|Mark Janet Paul|
Their three children's families:
1)Janet Ruth 8-25-37, md 7-20-59 William Well : 4 children:
|Janet and Bill in front|
Russell, Sarah, Martin and Wesley in back
Wesley Harold 9-16-60, md. 6-8-85 Patricia Olson,
Alexander Ryan, 9-14-90
Anna Kathryn, 9-3-93
Martin Christopher 3-31-62, md. 10-29-85 Lisa Curtis;
Allison Jane 6-10-90
Catherine Anne 10-13-94
Russell Clifton 12-21-65 md.8-20-88 Michelle Klose
Christopher William 6-l3-94
Morgan Michele 4-3-99
Sarah Ruth 3-3-71 md. 5-24-93 Marti Sunderlin,
Maxwell William 7-16-00
Isabelle Ruth 10-23-03
|Sharon and Mark|
Karna Glynn 8-26-68
Ellie Crosby 7-17- 94
Taylor Crosby 1-13-98
Eric 3-9-71 md 10-15-2005 to Jeanne Zimniewicz
3) Paul Gary 3- 4-45 md 8-20-66 Susan Heiberg, 3 children
md Jane Elaine Carlson 3-5-2005
md Jane Elaine Carlson 3-5-2005
Adam Paul 7-31-71,
Jaden Paul 2-10-02
Ashton Matthew 6-18-03
Nolan Joseph 3-17-08
Matthew Glenn 6-26-73
Peter Joseph 3-20-77, md 5-31-2008 Jill Anderson
Lily Grace 2/12/10
|Peter Jill Lily and Tyler|
GLENN AND EDNA'S GRANDCHILDREN:
|Sarah Karna Wes|
Adam Pete Eric Middle row
Marty Russ Matt back row
“Dad provided the total Christopher family with a valuable record of our family during the days of our life in Medina. All the brothers and sisters of the Christopher family were born in Medina and after some very tough times the family moved on and only mom and dad chose to spend their entire lives in the place of their birth. Dad decided to dedicate a huge amount of time collecting everything he could find and protecting the information which has resulted in him becoming recognized as the historian of Medina. We are all thankful for his efforts.
We often wondered why it took so long for mom and dad to decide to get married since they were neighbors from their childhood days. We are really glad they did finally decide to marry and raise their family in Medina. Since we kids were all born after dad was thirty years old, our knowledge of his first 30 years are from records and shared stories from all his brothers and sisters.
Dad was born in 1904 and spent his first 30 years trying to be a farmer but hard times forced this decision to change. For a few years he was a rural mail carrier and then worked nearly 13 years as a mechanic for an implement dealer and then accumulated extensive knowledge in mechanics and woodworking which he passed on to Paul and I.
Dad managed a lumberyard for another 24 years. So dad was a very quite man. He was often known for what he did not say rather than what he did say. He was however a wonderful teacher and he taught us as he allowed us to work with him in almost everything he did. I have thousands of memories of Dad as we worked together. It was fun and I looked forward to tagging along with him in almost everything he did, So as I thought I was learning work skills when in fact I was learning life skills. I am forever thankful for this.
Dad made things he and his family needed. Since money was always tight in our family we often made things we needed. Mom was a seamstress, dad had outstanding skills mechanically and wonderful woodworking and carpenter skills. So he built a car, he made my bicycle, he made a motor scooter, we made several boats, he made our furniture, rebuilt several houses, and of course had a huge garden, making use of those farming skills.
I was a challenge for our parents as I did not follow the rules well. My sister and brother were significantly less challenging I am sure. It is interesting that Dad never once used traditional disciplining techniques on me but he influenced me by the example he set on a daily basis. Interesting parenting approach.
Dad was a sharing contributor to his church, his community, the school and of course always open to helping his neighbors.
Music was a key part of our family. Before TV we supplied our evening entertainment by making family music. I heard Dad played in some local bands but he never let us know much about it. His fiddle was always close and mom provide some piano input. All us kids were encouraged to be in the band, the church choir and take advantage of every music opportunity that may come along.
This was one great man. Father, teacher and wonderful example for all of us. We miss him.”
Son Paul's reflections of his Dad:
"My time of memory was all when dad was in the lumber yard and we lived in the house that he was constantly fixing and improving. He was a respected man in the community because of his assistance when people had a need, his skill in the lumber business and carpentry, his involvement in church, and his self- appointed role as community historian.
Dad taught me a great many things about keeping my bike in good shape, about home repair and about working with customers. As I grew older he often got odd jobs around town for Mark and me to do. Some of these were beyond my ability but he provided the support needed. One early job was to help an old man build on to his house. I didn't have building skills at that time but recalled him telling me what to do first and then each evening getting my report and telling me what to do the next day.
I respect his involvement in our church. We never missed a Sunday but he also was a volunteer custodian and we often helped with keeping the building clean. He never talked about his personal faith but found his service in support.
Without ever saying so I always felt that dads teaching method was to show us once how to do something and then assuming we could handle it in the future. Without realizing it when young, it was very affirming and also taught us to think for ourselves and figure things out.
My most significant reflection of dad was that he was a gentle man. He was gently in his support and discipline of growing kids. Mom was firm and if she ever said, "Ask your dad" when we want to use the car or something, we knew we had a yes from him before even asking. His gentleness was far more significant than just in family discipline. As I grew to be a man and found myself working with many men and women in my occupation, I grew to profoundly respect him for his gentle nature and to realize that gentleness was often a gift that many men did not possess or were afraid to explore given the society expectations and the idea that men should be anything but gentle. lf I were to put one sentence on his tombstone it would be: "He was a gentle man.""
Anyone wanting to add addition memories/stories about Glenn, send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add them in the next updated blog post.