For the Capital Press

Stan Christensen, a leading figure in Yamhill County, Ore., agriculture for nearly 60 years, has died. He was 84.

Christensen was born in Yamhill County on March 28, 1926, to a large family of farmers. He died Aug. 9.

He was the third generation of the Christensen family to farm in the county. His grandfather, Ed Christensen, began farming in Yamhill County in 1901. Of five boys and two girls, four boys -- Art, Rupert, Merlin and Stan's father, Stanley -- continued in agriculture.

In 1951, he married Mary Erdmann. They raised five children on the farm.

Other surviving family members include two sisters, Dorothy Full and Marian Troyer; two sons, Lyle and Jerry; daughters Lora Brockman, Janice Buehner and Lynn Slater; seven grandchildren; three great-grandchildren, two great-grandstepchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

In 2004, when Christensen stepped down from his position as chairman of the Yamhill Soil and Water Conservation District board after 50 years, he was named a Legend in Conservation by the Oregon Association of Conservation Districts,

Stan followed his father, who served on the local school board, in service to community. In 1945, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in the Philippines and with occupation forces in Japan. He earned a bachelor's degree in farm crops and soils at Oregon State University.

He bought a 120-acre farm in the late 1940s and alternated farming and working as a field representative for McMinnville feed dealer Buchanan-Cellers Grain Co. In 1953, he was elected to the board of the Soil Conservation Service, as one of the founding members.

The high priority at the time was drainage, as the federal government was encouraging farmers to put tiles in the fields. "We were always interested in minimizing erosion. We encouraged people not to plow too late," he said in a 2004 Capital Press interview.

The legend award capped a lifetime of service to agriculture and community, which included the local watershed council, Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, the county and state fair boards and Ag Fest.

He was elected president of the McMinnville Chamber of Commerce several decades ago.

Services were Aug. 14 at Macy and Sons in McMinnville.

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