Obit: Christensen, W. A. (1874 - 1930)

Contact:  Stan

Surnames: CHRISTENSEN HOUSLEY CHRISTOFFERSON SCHEMMER HAKER

----Sources: COLBY PHONOGRAPH (Colby, Clark County, Wisconsin) 16 Oct 1930

Christensen, W. A. (4 Jan. 1874 - 14 Oct. 1930)

W. A. Christensen, manager of Libby, McNeil & Libby’s canning factories at Colby and Dorchester, committed suicide Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning by chloroform. He had cut a hole in a corrugated paper container about the size of a shoe box under which he placed a large sponge, saturated with chloroform, on an ash tray. This he placed on his desk and put his face over the container. He also put a typewriter cover over his head so that the fumes would not escape. He was found in that position at about 3:00 o’clock in the morning by his wife and his brother, Charles of Manitowoc, who, with his wife, had been visiting here. Dr. Housely, Clark county coroner, was called to make an investigation who is of the opinion that illness and despondency over losing his position were responsible for his act.

Mr. Christensen had spent the evening until about 9:00 P.M. playing cards with his wife at the home of Dr. and Mrs. H. H. Christofferson. He then excused himself, saying that he had an appointment with the canning company auditor. Later, he called his wife and asked how she was getting along with the game, adding that he "had his fingers crossed to bring her luck and hoped she was winning."

Later, his wife and guests retired, and, at about 2:30 o’clock, Mrs. Christensen woke up startled not to find her husband at home. Fearing an accident had occurred, she and her brother in law, Charles Christensen, went to the canning factory office. There they found Christensen lying over his desk with a typewriter cover over his head.

Dr. A. L. Schemmer was immediately called, who, in turn, summoned *** The rest of this paragraph is cut off and not available at the time of transcription.

Dr. Housely of Neillsville, county coroner, who returned a verdict of death by suicide, caused by inhaling chloroform.

He left a note for his wife explaining the business situation and adding that "I looked in the mirror, and I looked so sick, so I decided to kill myself." However, it was generally believed here in Colby that he was enjoying good health.

Christensen received a letter Tuesday from company headquarters accepting his resignation which he tendered ten days ago. Business conditions, it was said, necessitated the change in managership.

Funeral services will be held at Manitowoc Friday afternoon, Oct. 17th, at 3:00 o’clock, and will be in charge of the Manitowoc lodge, F. & A. M.

The deceased was born in Manitowoc county on January 4th, 1874, thus reaching the age of fifty-six years, nine months and eleven days. He was married to Miss Lillian Haker at Manitowoc on March 27th, 1900. He spent several years teaching school, but, for the past thirty years, he had been engaged in the canning business. He was considered one of the oldest and best canners in Wisconsin. He had been manager of the Colby canning plant for about ten years, starting when the plant was first put up by the Central Canning Company.

Besides his wife, his death is mourned by one son, Lewis, attending university at Madison; and two brothers, Charles, Manitowoc; and Alex, Chicago, Ill.

The news of Mr. Christensen’s rash act came as a shock to the people of Colby as he was one of the last persons in the community that was expected to commit suicide.

 

 


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