I'm going to miss you Jon. I'll look for you when I hear the halyards tinkle down at the boat dock. I'll look for you when I hear the wind whisper thru the pines in the Sierra. I'll look for you at the putting green at Balboa. I'll look for you at the Princess Pub down on India Street. You will always be in my heart, but I'm still going to keep looking.
Jon was a bear of a person, a true Renaissance man. His talents allowed him to become an inventor, academic, deep social thinker, author, political activist, teacher, politician, visionary, sailor and analyst. We met when working together at the County Welfare department on Market Street in the 70's. We shared a liberal bent, but Jon always put the time in on research and fact based opinions. He was a good listener and could have a reasoned discussion with a person of any point of view. Animated and engaging, you were in for a ride when you brought up a topic for Jon. Not a people pleaser, you received his best effort and full concentration plus a acerbic wit. I loved him.
Jon was always ready for adventure. We made a couple of trips together to the Tioga Winter Lodge for back country ski tours and good times in the lodge at night with friends and new friends. We also did a few trips skiing around the big Sequoia. Our best trip was four day trans Sierra, starting at Lee Vining on east side of the Sierra, going over Tioga Pass, across the rib and down through Snow Canyon to Yosemite Valley. My brother had recently skied the Continental Divide from Canada to southern Colorado, but he was impressed with the mental toughness and lack of fear that Jon displayed. A bunch of friends of Jon's met us at the Ahwahnee Lodge in Yosemite, where there was a $20 skier buffet. Jon's friends plied us with long series of special wines and an evening to remember. What a contrast to snow camping. Jon was at his best in this convivial atmosphere.
Jon and I also did many dumb things together. One highlight was a winter ski to the Hot Creek hot springs south of Mammoth. It was a late afternoon when we started and a light snow was falling. No worries we had plenty of antifreeze and provisions. Of course, no tent, extra clothes or sleeping bags because we were going to the "hot" hot springs. We were in the springs for an hour or two when we noticed that it was getting dark and the wind had picked up. The snow started to blow sidewise and the visibility was nonexistent. One of our headlamps failed and we were both shaking pretty good. Where was that car? Finally, our luck held and we found it. We didn't stop shaking until we took turns in the tub in a flea bag motel in Bishop.
Jon Christensen died on August 28th. I learned about it last night from his daughter Cynthia's email after returning from a month long trip to Baja Sur. I now wish that I had stayed home for one last round of golf with Jon and the guys at Balboa. My condolences to his wonderful wife Sally and his children Eric and Cynthia. I am sure they will be looking for him too.