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B: 1926-05-06
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10300 Richmond Road
Warsaw, VA 22572
Phone: 804-333-3770
Fax: 804-333-0079
Estelle Christensen

Estelle O'Connell Christensen

Thursday, May 6th, 1926 - Saturday, September 26th, 2020
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Estelle O'Connell Christensen of Durham, NC, formerly of Montross, passed away on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at the age of 94. Estelle was born and raised in Highland Springs, VA. As a young woman she attended Madison College and travelled as a youth caravaner for the Methodist Church before meeting a handsome young soldier, Carl Christensen, and marrying him at the age of 19.

In 1955, Estelle and Carl moved to Montross, where Carl became pharmacist and part-owner of People’s Drug Store. Estelle enthusiastically embraced her new community and soon was filling many roles in addition to raising their three children. In 1956, she and a friend started the first kindergarten in Westmoreland County. Eventually that kindergarten became the foundation of Woodland Academy, which she and others established in 1969. There she continued to teach and nurture generations of young children. After she retired, she began a tutoring service to help students who were struggling in school.

Girl Scouting was another of Estelle’s passions. She and her friend, Frances Hinson Brune, brought Girl Scouts to Westmoreland County in the 1950’s. She served as a local and district Girl Scout leader and was a support and inspiration for the many young women whose lives she touched. In the late 1960”s she worked with her Senior Girl Scout troop to open the Coffee House in Montross as a safe place for teenagers to gather. In addition, she was an active member of her church, Andrew Chapel UMC, where she contributed in many ways, including chairing the Evangelism Committee and participating in a charitable knitting group.

Despite her busy life, Estelle decided to fulfill a lifelong dream, and she returned to college to obtain her degree. She travelled back and forth at night to VCU in Richmond for several years, finally receiving that treasured diploma in 1979.

In her spare time, Estelle was an avid reader, an excellent seamstress and knitter, and a good friend to many, both young and old. Her phone never stopped ringing!

Estelle Christensen was preceded in death by her parents, James Henry and Lorene Gertrude O’Connell. She is survived by daughters Carol Christensen Ergenbright of Maryville, TN and husband Bob; Ann Marie Christensen of Durham, NC and husband Allen Duffer; son Erik Christensen of Charlotte, NC; four grandchildren, Kirsten Craft and husband Matt, Rob Ergenbright and wife April, Ross Duffer and wife Leigh Janiak, and Matt Duffer; and six great-grandchildren, Reed Craft, Raleigh Craft, Conner Ergenbright, Owen Ergenbright, Kaden Woodard, and Nathan Woodard.

A private family graveside service will be held on Sunday, October 4, 2020, at Andrew Chapel UMC, with Rev. Kevin Elmore officiating. A Celebration of Life is planned for the spring. Memorial contributions may be made to Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church Cemetery Fund, PO Box 187, Montross, VA 22520. Online condolences may be shared at
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Service Details

  • Service

    Sunday, October 4th, 2020 |
    Sunday, October 4th, 2020
    Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church
    16340 Kings Highway
    MONTROSS, VA 22520
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    PRIVATE Graveside Service; A Celebration of Life will be held in the Spring
    Rev. Kevin Elmore
  • Interment

    Andrew Chapel United Methodist Church
    16340 Kings Highway
    MONTROSS, VA 22520
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    PRIVATE Graveside Service; a Celebration of Life will be held in the Spring


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Cathy Hooker

Posted at 07:11am
Estelle is and always will be my second momma. The year my mom died, I started back to teaching at Woodland Academy. In my grief, she told me she’d be my momma and she remained that. I’d been out of teaching for ten years raising my family. At that point, she also became my mentor and friend. She gave me confidence in my abilities to teach and raise a family. But to the community of Montross, she was a mover and shaker. If she saw a need, she stepped forward and helped. She will always be in my heart and I feel blessed and honored to have known her.

Michael Downing

Posted at 11:35pm
I will always know her as mrs. Christensen as she was my very first school teacher. I had the pleasure of learning to read under her in kindergarten a long time ago at woodland. Whenever I go to Montross I always think of her and how she has been since those days. Very fond memories of her and quite an impact to be remembered so well 40 years later. The amount of lives you helped in your time here would be impossible to count. Thanks for everything you have done.
Michael Downing

Nancy W. Lee

Posted at 09:02am
My condolences to the family. Estelle was a wonderful woman, mother, and friend. I know Butch and Yvonne will share in my condolences as well. Nancy W. (Jones) Lee

Nancy Brown

Posted at 08:56am
Ann, I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Your Mom was a very strong influence in my life and I will always remember a very special birthday party for me held in your basement!!! Will never forget her kindness and that infectious smile!! My deepest condolences and may your memories forever keep her in your heart.
Nancy Weston Brown

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