A Life Well Lived.

Joyce Ellen Dobbert Christensen

March 1, 1933 – January 30, 2021

Joyce Ellen Christensen, nee Dobbert, passed away peacefully on January 30, 2021. Born March 1, 1933, to Bert and Mabel Dobbert, Joyce grew up in Chicago, attending Nixon School and Kelvyn Park High School. The North Side Gospel Center was where she met J. Robert (Bob) Christensen, who she would marry in 1953 and with whom she would raise two children, Steve (Karen) and June (Cliff Sorensen), six grandchildren: Melissa, Kyle, Lindsay, Sarah, Charlotte, and Erik, and many great-grandchildren. 

After earning her BA from National College of Education, Joyce began teaching in Des Plaines. While raising her family she earned her Masters at National and entered the field of Special Education. Even as an administrator and eventually Director of Special Education for Maine Township, Joyce never lost her passion for “her kids” and was instrumental in creating more opportunities for special needs students through inclusion in mainstream classes.

Once retired from teaching, Joyce stepped into her role as Volunteer.  Joyce worked to create and manage a Peer Jury in conjunction with the Park Ridge Police. The first female president of Park Ridge Rotary, Joyce fought for a Thorguard system for the community. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Maine Township School-Based Health Center. All of these efforts and many more focused on the health and safety of young people in the community she loved and served. 

Joyce and Bob celebrated their 67th Anniversary on June 6th. Bob remembers holding Joyce’s hand in the back of her parents’ car at 15 years old! Their marriage focused on family, faith, and service. There is no way to measure the impact that their life together has had, but their family will tell you that their devotion continues to be an inspiration. 

For all of Joyce’s many accomplishments and honors, what brought her the most joy was her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Known as “Gram” and “Ma’am”, Joyce developed a meaningful relationship with each child, bragged on them regularly, and stayed in touch with each and every one of them.   A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.  In lieu of flowers, contributions to the Maine Township School-Based Health Center would be appreciated.

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13 thoughts on “A Life Well Lived.

  1. Joyce became a surrogate mother to our family when our mother died. She was our mother’s best friend and was always there to help our family after mom passed. She leaves a big hole in our hearts. Our prayers are with Bob and the entire family.


  2. My deepest hearfelt condolences to Bob and the rest of the family. Mixed emotions of grief and joy that Joy has gone home.


  3. Joyce improved the lives of so many special needs students. Her deep knowledge of special education laws programs and ability to help put together an educational plan to help each student succeed was her gift.


  4. We will miss our “second mom”, a wonderful person and best friend to my mom. Rest in peace with God, Joyce. Heartfelt condolences to all of her family. She will be missed terribly.


  5. Joyce was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue studying special education and this allowed me to immediately get a job upon finishing my degree. Joyce was also a tremendous help when her sister Mary became critically ill. I also appreciate the legacy that she leaves her children and grandchildren.


  6. Bob, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. A life well lived, indeed, with such as wonderful family. We cherished the time we spent with you and Joyce. It is very meaningful to me that Joyce watched you perform a beautiful ceremony when Kevin and I got married, and that she had the opportunity to spend some time with our son Aiden in Galena.


  7. Bob and June, you are in my thoughts. Joyce will be missed by all of us. I have such fond memories of the holidays we were able to spend together at my aunt’s over the years, those were wonderful times.


  8. Dear Christensen Family…My deepest sympathies to your family at this difficult time. I was blessed to have had your dad, Bob, as my 5th and 6th grade teacher from 1960-62. He had a profound impact on my life as a student, later a teacher, and person. I was blessed to have found your dad several years ago; had lunch with him and Joyce; so was able to me this wonderful woman of God. Please know that your family has been such a huge part of who I am so sorry.


  9. June, my condolences to you and your family. There are no words that lessen the pain of loss for a mom so dear. She was a very special lady to many of us. Her legacy lives on.


  10. Dear Bob, June, Steve, and grandkids, What a privilege to have known Joyce and been the beneficiary of her wise advice and ongoing support. She is such an example of using the many gifts God gave her to impact the lives of family, students, educators, community, and friends. I, and the many whose lives have been touched by her, will remember her as a woman who demonstrated a life of service and strength. May you especially sense God’s tender presence during these next days.


  11. Dear Bob and family… Jim and I were so sorry to read about Joyce… Brought back so many fun memories of getting out hair done at Robbie’s hair salon.. Getting together for coffee and fun when we could.. Getting together after we moved from Park Ridge to Stockton and finding out you had a place in Galena.. She was a very special Lady and well loved. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. We are now living in Rockford at a duplex at Peterson Meadows.


  12. Bob, We are alive as long as we are remembered. Your dear Joyce will forever be in our memory and we will all join hands again in that bright land where we will never grow old. Ephesians 1:7 says it all; “In whom we have redemption, through His blood, according to the riches of His grace.”


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