Pamela Chappelle Christensen


Pamela Chappelle Christensen of Evergreen passed away on Oct. 4, 2009, from injuries related to a fall. She was the loving wife of David Christensen and devoted mother of Charles Wade Christensen, a second-year cadet at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Pam was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Dec. 6, 1947, the only child of Charles and Nettie Chappelle. She was raised in Fort Collins, where her father was a veterinarian. Pam graduated from Poudre High School. She received a bachelor of science degree with honors in mathematics from Colorado State University, where she was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Always interested in the world, Pam joined the Peace Corps, learned Swahili, and ventured forth to Kenya, where she taught mathematics for two years in a girls high school, and coached the volleyball and track teams. From then on, Africa held a special place in her heart.

Continuing her lifelong commitment to a better world, Pam returned from Kenya and spent her next two years recruiting for the Peace Corps. She then entered law school at the University of San Francisco, where she was a member of the Law Review, worked as a student extern for the California Supreme Court and graduated with honors in 1977.

Pam then joined the emerging ranks of women practicing law. For 13 years, she worked in San Francisco for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., the largest public utility in California, handling civil litigation. Her singular success as an advocate was a result of her charisma, intelligence and insight, which disarmed her opponents and won the hearts and minds of juries.

In 1982, she married David Christensen, who was the love of her life. Their son, Charles, was born on March 26, 1990. In 1993, adventure called again, and Pam and Dave packed up Charles and their two golden retrievers and spent 10 months exploring the United States in an RV.

In 1994, Pam came home to Colorado. Dave, Charles and Pam settled in Evergreen, an ideal place to raise a child. Pam was a full-time mother and tireless community leader. When needed, she always said “yes.” She brought energy, reliability and good humor to all pursuits. She was a Cub Scout den mother, a Boy Scout assistant master, an elementary school classroom volunteer, president of the Stingers Soccer Club, president of the King-Murphy PTA and coach of the Clear Creek High School mock trial team, and field trip volunteer. In 2003, she began her volunteer work for Court-Appointed Special Advocates, an organization whose mission is to represent abused and neglected juveniles. In this work, Pam bettered the lives of many children.

Pam and her family also traveled extensively in Europe, Alaska, the Caribbean, Africa and Central America. The Christensens repeatedly and generously opened their home and hearts to foreign exchange students from such places as Uzbekistan, Syria, the Czech Republic and Macedonia. Throughout her life, Pam gathered friends from everywhere and nurtured those friendships with care and warmth.

Pam was open-hearted, smart, funny, exceptionally conscientious and gracious. She glowed with life. She was outdoors at every opportunity, running, skiing, hiking and bicycling with skill and strength. She met big goals, running the Boston Marathon and bicycling across the United States as part of this country’s Bike Centennial. Pam was a life-long avid reader. She was passionate about animals and was an environmentalist before most were aware of the word.

Pam lived a life of substance, which overflowed with love and accomplishment. The loss to her family, friends and community is immense, yet we know how very fortunate we are that this extraordinary woman graced our lives.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in her memory to CASA ( or to the World Wildlife Fund

Pam’s immediate extended family has held a private gathering to honor her memory. A public celebration of her life will be held at noon Sunday, Nov. 1, at Clear Creek High School, 185 Beaver Brook Canyon Road in Evergreen.


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