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Hubert Charles "Buzz" Christiansen
Hubert Charles "Buzz" Christiansen was born on April 29, 1928 to Ralph and Alice Christiansen in Red Lodge, Montana. Buzz passed away on Feb. 1 due to heart complications. Buzz was small in stature yet large in influence to all who knew him, especially his children and grandchildren. He was raised in a household of four siblings, one brother, Norman, and three sisters, Cis, Arlette, and Betty. Buzz graduated from Red Lodge High school in 1946.
He married Bernice Crumbaker in June, 1948 while living in Red Lodge. Buzz left Red Lodge to seek his education in Billings at Eastern Montana College, MSU, and WSU. He acquired his elementary teaching and administrator endorsements serving as an accomplished educator for over 47 years. Buzz's first teaching experiences in Roberts and Red Lodge, Montana led to serving thousands of children and classroom teachers in Billings, Montana. His teaching experiences included Rose Park Elementary and Jefferson School. Orchard Elementary was his first principalship followed by Ponderosa Elementary, finally retiring from Billings Public Schools at Beartooth Elementary. The pursuit of excellence in education led him to seek the office of Yellowstone County Superintendent of Schools fulfilling these duties from 1983-94. Retirement was filled with attendance at thousands of grandchildren's baseball, basketball, and volleyball games, golf tournaments, tennis matches, and equestrian events. Yellowstone Country Club course marshall was his last "job." Tuesday mornings were filled with his Billings Clinic volunteer time. To call Buzz a sports enthusiast is an understatement. There was no one on this planet that could have a transistor radio to each ear listening to two ballgames at once all while channel surfing, which was tough to do prior to the remote control, in an effort to view any snippet of a ball game he could catch.
He could tell you the exact scores of each and would engage in a conversation with a stranger who indicated any level of interest. Buzz refereed all levels of football and basketball games for over twenty-seven years with his career being recognized by receiving the Montana Sports Official Association Hall of Fame Award in 1977. Buzz was a member of the First United Methodist Church, School Administrators of Montana, Montana Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals, and the National Association of Elementary and Middle School Principals, serving the western states as the Zone 7 Director, as an ambassador for educational leadership and education in general. In 1984, Buzz received the Adrian Langstaff Award, the highest award the School Administrators of Montana present to a school leader. He also received the G.V. Erickson Award as the outstanding Administrator of Montana in 1984.
Buzz served on numerous boards including Pioneer Kiwanis, Al-Bedoo Shrine, St. John's Lutheran Home and Eastern Montana College Alumni Association. Buzz served as a board member and chairman for the Eastern Montana Coal Task Force DARE program, 1989-94. Buzz is survived by his wife of 65 years, Bernice; sister Betty Peacock, Springfield, Va.; daughters Denice (Gary) Marshall, Cathedral City, Calif.; Jo (Jim) Swain, and Beth (Jimmy) Desjarlais, Billings. Grandchildren include Leigh (Jason) Scherer; Aaron (Hilari) Berklund; Dennis (Phyllis) Swain; Hannah (Dustin) Blodgett; Joseph Binstock; and Haley Swain. Great-grandchildren include Brittney (Jay) Jamieson, Tenley and Harper; Caleb Scherer; Rowan Blodgett; Paityn, Sloane, and Steele Berklund. Buzz is also survived by numerous nieces and nephews.
The family would like to thank the doctors and nurses at Billings Clinic who have provided tremendous care and comfort. In lieu of flowers, the family requests tributes in honor of Buzz be made to First United Methodist Church or to the PTA's at Beartooth, Ponderosa, or Orchard Elementary Schools in the name of Hubert "Buzz" Christiansen. Buzz would want us to improve the life of a child! Cremation has taken place. Memorial services will be held 11 a.m. Tuesday at the Al-Bedoo Shrine. Michelotti-Sawyers Mortuary has charge of arrangements. Remembrances may be shared with the family by visiting www.michelottisawyers.com