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July 4, 1953 – July 22, 2021

A man of kindness and generosity with a powerful, fighting spirit, Robert Gregson Christen passed away on July 22, 2021.

Born on the Fourth of July in 1953 in San Francisco, CA, the whole country celebrated Bob’s birthday, and he loved it.

Bob graduated from Novato High School in 1971 prior to joining the Navy in 1972. He served as a Boiler Technician (BT) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (aka San Francisco’s Own). He spent time in Southeast Asia towards the end of the Vietnam War, achieving the rank of E-5 when honorably discharged in 1976.

After the Navy, Bob sailed the seas of Southeast Asia again as a merchant marine with Military Sealift Command. In 1989 he came to South Lake Tahoe for a two-week vacation, and never left. While in Tahoe he worked as an Assistant Chief Engineer at the Horizon Casino-Resort for over 13 years.

Robert was a big, boisterous man with a winning smile and sparkling green eyes. These charming traits were especially helpful when he met his beloved wife, Ellen. She was at a local Lake Tahoe bar, The Turn, with her ex-husband. Bob approached him and said, “I just wanted you to know that I’m going to start dating your ex-wife.” Bob and Ellen were remarkably compatible and remained together ever since that day, marrying on 11/12/13.

The couple loved vacationing in Cabo and La Jolla, with Bob buying drinks and getting to know everyone at all the local bars. He was charming and made friends easily.

Funny, caring and smart, Robert had a way with people. His wide breadth of knowledge and generous spirit allowed him to serve as a mentor many times.

He loved the ocean, riding motorcycles, playing cribbage and Words with Friends. Perpetually lucky, he once won a Harley Sportster at a ticket drawing, and often saw success with video poker. He could frequently be found cheering on his favorite teams the San Francisco 49ers and Giants at The Turn.

When he fell ill, he remained proud and strong, fighting the good fight until the very end.

Bob was predeceased by his father Harry F. Christen; grandmother Adelaide “Addie” Adams; and his cherished canine companion, Scruffy, who remained forever by his side until her passing in 2014.

He is survived by his wife, Ellen; her son Jason; mother, Barbara J. (Gillette) Christen; sisters Linda Hill (Robert), Elizabeth Christen-Roberts (Edward) and Diane Hamill; nephew Robert “Bobby” Hill, III; nieces Kristen Ainger (Ron) and Jessica Hansen; brother-in-law Robert Sandoval (Kimberly); sisters-in-law Claire Damelio (Paul) and Maureen Chavez.

Bob, may you find fair winds and following seas, forever. RIP.

Interment will be held at Happy Homestead Cemetery, 1261 Johnson Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA, at 1 p.m. on August 18, 2021. Details are being handled by McFarlane Mortuary. A celebration of Bob’s life will continue at Sonney’s BBQ Shack, 787 Emerald Bay Rd., South Lake Tahoe, CA, from 2 to 5 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Legion Post 795, 2748 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA; Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, PO Box 18530, South Lake Tahoe, CA; or a charity of your choosing.

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