Bountiful, UT – Fred MacRay Christensen, “Mr. Mac,” died peacefully at 85 years old, surrounded by his family, on October 11, 2019.
Mac was born May 11, 1934, in Salina, Utah, to Frederick Paul Christensen and Allie Arnold. He was raised in Sanpete County, the oldest of five children. Mac married his sweetheart Joan Graham on June 23, 1953 and enjoyed 66 years by her side. They were blessed with eight children, 39 grandchildren, and 44 great grandchildren.
Mac knew how to work, even from a young age. At age eight he mounted his horse in the morning, gathered the neighboring farmers’ cows, took them to pasture on the outskirts of town, and returned in the evening to drive them home. He always worked hard and instilled his work ethic in his family and all those who worked with him. He was Junior Class President, played basketball and baseball, and graduated from Snow High School, then attended Snow College, later receiving a Distinguished Alumni Award.
Mac and Joan left Sanpete County and moved to Salt Lake City where Mac had been offered a job as a laborer at the Kennecott Copper Mine. By the time he got to Salt Lake, a union strike shut down the mine, leaving him to look for work elsewhere. He found a temporary position during the busy Father’s Day season at Z.C.M.I., took over the men’s ties for the summer until Christmas, and was later promoted to salesman, beginning what would become a six-decade career in the men’s retail clothing business. His first position at Z.C.M.I. was only part-time, but ten years later he was promoted to be an assistant buyer, then buyer, then divisional merchandise manager.
Combining what he learned at Z.C.M.I. with his work ethic, Mac sold the family home and opened a men’s clothing store in downtown Bountiful, now known as Mr. Mac. Business was slow at first so he filled a van with men’s suits and drove up and down the Wasatch Front selling suits out the back of the van. The rest is history. Nine stores in Utah and one in Arizona now bear the Mr. Mac name.
Mac enjoyed people and made lasting friends of many of his customers. He always felt a great sympathy for other people and felt blessed whenever he could help them. He was quick to lend a hand and generous without judgment. His genuine and personal warmth made every person he met feel like family.
Mac was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and served faithfully as a sealer in the Bountiful, Utah Temple. He particularly enjoyed his twelve-year calling as president of the Tabernacle Choir, Orchestra, and Bell Choir at Temple Square. He also served with Joan as Director of the Washington, D.C. Visitors Center for two years.
He held a variety of Church callings, including High Priest Group leader, Elders Quorum president, High Councilor, Young Men president, and executive secretary to two stake presidents, a regional representative, and the Bountiful Utah Temple Committee.
He had many opportunities for service including serving on the boards of Tracy Collins Bank, Weber State Board of Trustees, and the Utah State Fair. He was President of the Sertoma International Club, Oakridge Country Club, and served on Amicus, the fund-raising branch of LDS Hospital.
Mac received many awards for his service: the Gold Caduceus Award from LDS Hospital for outstanding service to Amicus and the hospital, Days of ’47 Pioneers of Progress Award, Breath of Life Award from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Governor’s Lifetime Achievement Award for Service. He was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities from Weber State University.
Mac enjoyed many rounds of golf with good friends and grandsons at Oakridge Country Club. He loved watching basketball, football, and baseball and always cheered for the Utah Jazz.
He is survived by his beloved wife, Joan; daughter-in-law Terri (Taud) Olsen, and seven children, Scott (Janine), Sydnie (Reed) Shurtliff, Stan (Teri), Spencer (Carolyn), Stuart, Shauna (Michael) Cleverly, and Sara (Matt) Ebert; 39 grandchildren; 44 great grandchildren and two more great-grandchildren on the way. Also surviving are two brothers, Michael (Carolyn) and Marcus (Maria), and his sister, Maud Thurman.
Mac is preceded in death by his oldest son, Steve; his parents; his sister, Margaret Ann Bott; his brother-in-law Bob Thurman; his daughter-in-law, Betsy Wiscombe Christensen; and his great-grandson, Bowen James Larsen.
A public viewing will be held from 6-8 pm, Sunday, October 20, 2019 at Russon Mortuary, 295 N. Main Street, Bountiful, Utah. Funeral services will be held at 12:00 pm, Monday, October 21, 2019 at the Bountiful Central Stake Center, 640 S. 750 E., Bountiful, Utah, with a private family viewing from 10:30 am – 11:30 am prior to services. Interment, Bountiful City Cemetery. Online guestbook at www.russonmortuary.com.
Life Story Info
To the Christensen family:
As one of the many young men, Mac Christensen impacted so positively in home 8th Ward of the Bountiful Central Stake, I offer my sincere gratitude to all of you. His life was so well lived and his influence so endless. I had the privilege of listening to many of his lessons in the Priest Quorom of 1973-75 filled with constant inspirational thoughts and messages that were "just so." He taught us to love God by serving and loving each other. His work ethic was legendary but he always took time to make sure every one around him felt loved and encouraged. Later he gave immeasurable service to my mother after she became a young widow encouraging her to bring out the very best in herself. He made all my family feel like important members of his family.
I thank God that I had the privilege to know him. I thank his whole family for sharing Mac with us.
-Frank Rigby Vancouver, WA
Dear Christensen Family - Our thoughts are with you during this time. Mac was a selfless, amazing example to our family. He took our mom and gave her a job after being widowed at a early age and then promoted her to cleaning for the family, which was her joy as she served the grand kids and children of Mac. Mac always gave us a great deal at his store and set Byron up well for his mission to Canada in 1977. Your family and Mac have been a strength to our family and especially to Donna. We love you and pray for your peace and comfort at this time.
Great leader, humble, kind, great teacher, great exemplar. President Mr. Mac became president of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir (aka Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square aka TabCATS) just after I first got in the choir in 2000. He taught me so much about how to be a Christ-like person and not judge people but accept them for who they are and love them as a child of God and a brother or sister. I or anyone could go to him and he would welcome you and make you feel special and loved. He knew my uncle Eldon Malmrose and family and would often express his great love for them shedding a tear or two. A couple of his famous quotes which have stuck with me for the past 19 years are, "If someone looks at you cross-eyed it's because they are cross-eyed." and "Whoop-ti-do!". I love him and missed him a lot when he left the choir and know he will be welcomed in the arms of Heavenly Father. Well done, President Mr. Mac. Well done thou good and faithful servant. Jeannie Perrington formally A66.
It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the death this great man Fred Christiansen known to people all around the world is Mr. Mac. We will all miss him and we Extend to its family our condolences we will be in our prayers is a go through this part of the journey. May God be with you Till we meet again.