US Air Force

Richard L. Christianson

January 14, 1937 ~ November 13, 2021 (age 84)


Richard Lyle Christianson

84 years old

South Bend, In:

Richard Lyle Christianson was born to Ragnhild (née Male) and Lyle Christianson in Radcliffe, Iowa on January 14th, 1937.

He is survived by Ruth (née Ernst) Christianson wife of 61 years; his children, Robin Christianson (Kim Miller), Roxann Knapp (Jim), Rosalyn Christianson, Richard Christianson II (Margaret), Ross Christianson (Marie), Ryan Christianson (Susan Bonk); his grandchildren, Nicole Adams (Steve), Payton Knapp (Kayla), Montana Knapp (Sireana), Knute Knapp, Kate Miller, Alex Miller, Lucius Perry Gregg IV, Dylan Christianson, Haley Christianson, Chase Christianson, Owen Christianson, Alex Christianson, Jakob Christianson; and his great grandchildren, Connor Adams, Azria Cayabyab, Eleanor Adams, Matilda Knapp and Halas Knapp.

He is also survived by his sisters, Mary Brenno, Ruth Blome (Robert), Helen Cady and Linda Hess (John).

He will be reunited with his parents, Ragnhild and Lyle Christianson; brother, Jim Christianson; his in-laws, Opal and Arthur Ernst; and his brothers-in-law, Robert, Jerry and Bill Ernst, Walt Brenno and Don Cady.

Richard Christianson grew up in Radcliffe, Iowa in a small farm community in Central Iowa. His early childhood was spent delivering newspapers and working on his Uncle Joe and Aunt Loretta’s farm.

At the age of 11, he survived being run over by a tractor. It took months to recover. Richard had four sisters who adored him and a brother who looked up to him. He enjoyed working in the local creamery in Garden City, Iowa to help his mother’s family.

He graduated from Radcliffe High School on May 17, 1954. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on September 15th, 1954. He began his training at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. He endured and survived the cold weather survival training. He was then assigned to Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Richard was a radio repair man on the B-17 Flying Fortress which was trained to shoot down drones over the white sands of New Mexico. On June 11th, 1960 Richard married Ruth Ernst in a small ceremony in Haverhill, Iowa. They began their married life and moved to Marshalltown, Iowa where Robin and Roxann were born. Richard began a job with Thermogas which soon took his family to Hamilton, Ohio. Soon their family welcomed Rosalyn, Richard, Ross and Ryan. He continued his job with Thermogas and moved his family to Hershey, Pennsylvania. Soon after Richard moved again to Selingrove, Pennsylvania. His last move for Thermogas took his family to Cassopolis, Michigan. His final move took his family to Niles, Michigan. He enjoyed his time relaxing, fishing and watersports at the lake houses on Barron Lake in Niles, Michigan and Diamond Lake in Cassopolis, Michigan. He founded Christianson Industries in Edwardsburg, Michigan, an RV company. He partnered with his brother Jim to form a farm equipment company in Iowa. He also owned and operated DC Corporation, RCI Industries, B & R Pallets and the Port ‘O Call Grille in Niles. He sold his businesses and retired in the late 1990’s.

After 30 years in Niles they sold their home and retired to Lake Templene in Sturgis, Michigan. After many years at the lake Richard and Ruth decided to move closer to family and friends moving to the west side of South Bend, Indiana.

He enjoyed reading, fishing, traveling and spending his most cherished moments watching his grandchildren and great grandchildren grow up. He lived this last year for the arrival of two new babies whom he loved and adored.

Private family services are being held for Richard.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made to the Center for Hospice Care in Richard’s honor. To leave online condolences please visit

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Private Services

Kaniewski Funeral Home
3545 N. Bendix Dr.
South Bend, IN 46628

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