A memorable West Seattle neighbor named Vern Christensen is gone but not forgotten. Cindy Craig shared photos and the story of how neighbors and friends gathered to remember him a few rainy/sunny Sundays ago:
On Sunday, March 30, about 40 friends (several of them 4-legged) gathered at the traffic island at 40th Av. SW and SW Juneau to remember their good neighbor, Vern Christensen, who passed away on March 15.
Most days during the past 24 years if you drove by the grassy knoll there on the corner previously known as ‘Weed Island’ you were likely to see Vern taking his daily constitutional, keeping a benevolent eye on the neighborhood between Fauntleroy and California and Brandon and Morgan. If it was raining, you would probably see him clearing the storm drain with his trusty rake because the city had asked citizens to help. Long before the West Seattle Blog was the ‘go to’ source for any news in Fairmount Springs, Vern was who you thought to ask first.
Vern was a farm boy from Flasher, North Dakota, born during the Great Depression in 1932. He always seemed to embrace those rural values of knowing your neighbors and taking the time to stop and share a story. He knew what the value of community was and he would have been pleased to see the diverse group of people that he helped weave together gathering to celebrate our common thread at the newly renamed ‘Vern Island.’
A native currant was planted on the island in Vern’s honor, and the Golden Rake and its duty to keep the drain cleared was transferred to another resident of 40th Av. S.W., Vern’s close friend Paul Sureddin:
And for a little while on a rainy Sunday afternoon in March, the sun came out just long enough for Vern Christensen’s neighbors to take one more walk around Vern’s beloved Fairmount Springs and remember a man who reminded us every day in his unassuming way what it was to be part of a community.
We will miss him.