Dr. James Edward Christiansen, Ph.D

Dr. James Edward Christiansen, Ph.D
September 1, 1930 – August 8, 2018

Dr. James Edward Christiansen, PH.D, passed away at home, August 8, 2018, with his wife of almost 68 years, Jean, by his side. Also by his side was his youngest son Bruce, who cared for his father tirelessly the last weeks of his life, his daughter-in-law Dianne, and his oldest son, James, speaking to him via speakerphone from Alaska. A memorial will be held on what would have been his 88th birthday, September 1, 2018, at 11am in Covenant Presbyterian Church on Rock Prairie Road. Inurnment will be in the family plot in Douglas, Arizona, at a future date.

Dr. James Christiansen was born September 1, 1930 in Douglas, Arizona to Ada Naomi (Squire), teacher, and Felix Lawrence Christiansen, rancher. He graduated from Douglas High School, and went on to University of Arizona where he received a B.S., and M.Ag.Ed. in Agricultural Education. While at the University of Arizona, he met Jean McInnes, and on Christmas Day, 1950, they were married. He said marrying Jean was the smartest thing he ever did.

During the Korean War, he was drafted into the U.S. Army, and was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers, as Design Draftsman. In that position, he was stationed in California, and was instrumental in the design of Beal Air Force Base for the U.S. Air Force. While there, in June 1953, his son James Lawrence was born. Dr. Christiansen was discharged with the rank of Sargent, and the family moved back to Arizona.

From 1954 to 1961, he taught Vocational Agriculture, Industrial Arts, and Biology in the Arizona high school system.

In 1961, he took his small family to Iran and spent two years as Co-Administrator and Project Manager, developing and managing an agricultural teachers’ college for the Near East Foundation. While there his son Bruce was born. They returned to the United States in 1963 and James was awarded his Ph.D. at Ohio State University on December 17, 1965.

He was Assistant Professor of Agriculture Education at University of Florida, Gainesville for two years. Then in 1968, he accepted an Associate Professorship at Texas A & M, and then Professor of Agricultural Education. He retired officially from Texas A & M on March 31, 2004, after 51 years in agricultural education. This included the seven years teaching high school vocational agriculture in Arizona, two years teaching in Iran, three years at The Ohio State University, three years at the University of Florida, and 36 years at Texas A & M. He was involved in development projects and provided training in nine different countries. He worked in or visited 19 other countries for professional reasons on 32 occasions. As Professor Emeritus, he continued to go into his office half days until just the last few months of his life.

He was an active member of A & M Presbyterian Church, and after a merger, Covenant Presbyterian. He served as an Elder multiple times, and he was a member of several committees up until just a few months before he passed.

James is survived by his wife, Jean Christiansen; son, James (Dianne), granddaughters, Jessica Ruth Cooper, (BJ), great grandchildren, Mathew Elijah, and Katheryn Dianne; granddaughter Aminta Gail Remisosky, (Anthony); son, Bruce; first cousin, Rosalba Christiansen; sister-in-law Ursula Christiansen and her children and grandchildren. His parents, and his younger brother Richard preceded him in death.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Dr. James E. Christiansen memorial scholarship fund that will be set up at Texas A&M University. Please contact Callaway-Jones Funeral Center for more information.

Express condolences at CallawayJones.com


  1. Alice and I send deepest condolences and comfort but celebrate a life well-lived. Dr. Christiansen always left things better than he found them. His lasting impact on students and on domestic and international agricultural education stands as a legacy. Alice and I are proud that we were able to share time together.

  2. Beth and I send our love, prayers, and sincere condolences to Jean and family. What a wonderful friend and colleague for almost 40 years. When I was fortunate to be hired as a young Assistant Professor in the Department, I was asked to assume leadership for the teacher education/student teaching program so that Dr. Jim could use his expertise in international agriculture, methods of technological change, and the graduate program. He took me under his wing and helped me get off to a good start. What a great mentor he was! I would not want to be limited to this, but if I had to use one word to describe Dr. Jim, it would be the word PROFESSIONAL. Day in and day out, in any and every situation, he was always the consummate professional. He was a gentle, warm and compassionate person, always ready to give of his time to a student or colleague who needed his help. He loved Jean and his family. His marvelous influence will live on for generations. He will be missed greatly, but I am confident that he is in a better place enjoying to the hilt that wonderful place we know as heaven, basking in the presence of our Lord and Savior. On August 8, 2018, Jim closed his eyes on this earth and opened them in heaven.

  3. Please accept my sincere sympathy in the loss of your loved one.
    At a sad time as this, the Bible gives us comfort at Revelation 21:3,4 where God promises to eliminate sickness, sorrow and death. What a wonderful time when we no longer have to face these enemies.
    I hope this scripture gives you some consolation.

  4. I am so sorry to read of James passing. I went to school with him and he was quite an example to all of us. He was a great guy and I will miss emailing with him. My love and prayers to your family. Peggy

  5. I first met Dr. Christiansen when I was about 12 years old helping my Dad in the loading dock area of the Ag. Education building on the A&M Campus about 1972. The last time I saw him was at my Dad’s funeral service last year. Both times I was comforted by his kindness towards me as he looked me in the eye and gave me the support that I was needing.

    It has been a blessing to have known him all these years.

  6. I knew James through his brother Richard and his family and through his son James who came to Arizona prior to going to Alaska on his great adventure as part of the Alaska Pipeline. James was a fine individual. I last saw him at Richard’s funeral here in Douglas.
    RIP James

  7. I am sincerely mournful for the loss of my graduate school teacher, advisor and mentor. My heartfelt sympathies to JJean and children and grandchildren I know were his joy! His legacy to me will always be creating change necesisitates vision, openness to input and diversity, preparedness, patience and endurance!!! Godspeed to a good and faithful man. AgEd1997

  8. I am sincerely mournful to learn of the passing of my favorite professor, graduate school advisor and mentor. His kindness, compassion, patience, help and leadership during my grad program was a gift…and critical to my success for sure. I treasure having known and had the privilege to learn from him! They will be shoes NOT easily filled in the community. My heartfelt sympathies to Jean and children and grandchildren… I know were his joy! His legacy to me will always be that in any aspect of life…. change necesisitates a historical perspective, a long vision, openness to input and diversity,respect, compassion, preparedness, patience and….endurance !!! Godspeed to a… better-than-most… and Faith-full man.
    *LLR – M.Agr,AgDev 1997

  9. I just learned of Dr. C’s passing. Please accepted my belated sympathies. I enjoyed getting to know him during my time at Texas A&M. He was very kind to someone like myself who was far from home.