Ken Christensen with fellow founders of Leadership Huntington Libby Hubbard, Craig Rider, Dianne Parker and Lou Giordano. Photo by Katheryn Laible
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” ~Google tells me this quote is attributed to Nelson Henderson but to me it belongs to Ken Christensen, who spoke those words often and took them deeply to heart.
Ken Christensen was a true and exceptional community steward and family man, best he knew how. After serving in the U.S. Merchant Marines, he became the proprietor of his father’s plumbing business which he later passed on to his own son. Ken was also a former Councilman for the Town of Huntington, as well as a passionate member of the Huntington Station Rotary, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce, the Huntington Township Housing Coalition, the Huntington Environmental and Open Space Advisory Committee (EOSPA) and a number of other local entities advancing community revitalization and civic engagement.
Ken believed in appreciating that which came before, and in taking care to nurture those who would come after. While a longtime proud Republican, Ken took deep pride in independent thought and in supporting candidates whom he felt best understood and valued the community, regardless of political affiliation. A great follower of the works of Fred Friendly and more local legends such as Quentin Sammis, Arthur Goldstein and Vaughan Spilsbury, Ken was tremendous proponent of lifelong learning, cross-perspective engagement, respectful discourse and honest debate. He strongly believed in working together with others to serve the community as whole.
This passion perhaps most profoundly manifested – and will continue to blossom and bear fruit – through his endeavors as a proud founder and lifelong steward of Leadership Huntington. Ken took great delight in seeing graduates of that program assume stewardship roles throughout community, and pursue their own passions with a deeper understanding of both themselves and the greater community in which they operated
While my time with Ken primarily involved his dedicated civic engagement, one could not know him for long without also learning how deeply proud he was of his children, how much he loved and appreciated his wife, and about his care for his friends and extended family. Our hearts are with them and all who love him now.