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Industry Veteran Paul Ernest Christianson Jr. Dies At 72

Paul Christianson
Paul Christianson Jr.

Paul Christianson Jr. died Feb. 4, 2021. An “Aloha & Mahalo” celebration of life will be held when circumstances allow friends and family to gather in his memory.

He was born to Doris and Paul Christianson on Oct. 15, 1948, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father had a lifelong career with Sherwin Williams and his mother was the homemaker extraordinaire. Two years following his birth, Carol Sue arrived and two years later James Alan was born. His family fondly referred to him as “Little” Paul, until little Paul was bigger than “Big” Paul and he became known as Chris.

The family relocated to Hutchinson, Kansas, where at 16 he began his over 50-plus year food industry career as a box boy at J. S. Dillon’s, which helped pay his way through college. In 1971, Paul joined the Keebler Company and soon became the youngest account manager in the Kansas City zone at the age of 25. He then moved to Arizona as zone manager.

In 1984, he met Carole Weber on an Illuminator Committee at the Western Association of Food Chains Convention in San Antonio. He then accepted a promotion to Southern California as national accounts manager and in November he and Carole were married and established their home in Seal Beach.

On New Year’s Eve 1986, Paul and Carole welcomed their twin girls, Ashlee Nicole and Amanda Michele. Two months later he joined Carl Buddig & Co. as western regional manager. While at Buddig, he was involved with the Deli Council and in 1995 was honored with the Supplier of the Year “Big Cheese” award.

In 2002, Paul joined the Los Angeles Times as retail sales manager – advertising. When Carole joined the WAFC in 2007, Paul left the Times to take over leadership and clients of her consulting firm, Christianson West LLC until his retirement in 2019.

Paul was a member of the Illuminators for more than 40 years serving as Headlite (President) in 2006. One of his proudest efforts was working to establish the Illuminators Scholarship Fund. Actively involved in the City of Hope, in 2000, he, Carole and daughters co-founded “Kids 4 Hope” to benefit pediatric cancer. With the industry’s support, Kids 4 Hope has raised more than $16 million to date. In November of 2020, The Christiansons, along with Kevin Davis and Pat Posey’s families were awarded the “Spirit of Life” award by the City of Hope.

Paul was a devoted and loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law and a faithful friend to many. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. He was extremely social, enjoyed golf, fishing, playing cards and travel, especially to Hawaii. He was a lifetime sports fan, true blue to Nebraska Cornhuskers football, KU Jayhawks basketball and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Paul is survived by his sister, Carol; wife, Carole; daughters, Ashlee (Matthew) Lorio and Amanda (Scott) Hayter; and grandchildren, Jackson Paul Lorio, Caroline Lee Hayter and Rex Charles Lorio.

If you desire to make a donation in memory of Paul Christianson, please consider the following: City of Hope – “Kids 4 Hope” c/o: Cheryl Kennick, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Rivergrade Office 14-0413, Duarte, CA, 91010-3000; or The Illuminators Educational Foundation, c/o: Willie Crocker, 25422 Trabuco Road, Suite 105-606, Lake Forest, CA, 92630.

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