Mark W. Christen

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Mark William Christen, 78, former resident of West Des Moines, passed away peacefully at his home in Iowa City on July 7, 2021. 

A celebration of life will be held at a later date with details to be posted when decided. 

Mark was born Jan. 19, 1943, on the family farm in Clayton County to Elmer and Gertrude (Palmer) Christen. He grew up in the Guttenberg area and graduating from Garnavillo High School in 1960. He served in the United States Navy from 1962-1966. He then enrolled in the University of Iowa, graduating in 1970. 

Mark married Lorna Wolford on Aug. 7, 1971, in Iowa City. Mark had a long banking career throughout the State of Iowa and retired in 2005. He was also a part-time flight instructor who introduced many people to his love of flying.

Mark had many hobbies. He loved airplanes, classic cars, and reading science fiction, but enjoyed spending time with his friends and family the most. One of his proudest moments was being named an honorary Italian by his friends at Tumea and Son’s Restaurant in Des Moines. However, being a grandfather to his grandchildren brought him the most joy in life.

The family wishes to sincerely thank Oaknoll at Home, Iowa City Hospice, the Iowa City VA Hospital, Superior Care Iowa and the dear people at VA Home Based Primary Care for the wonderful care and support given, not only to Mark but also to his family.  

He is survived by his wife, Lorna Christen of Iowa City; daughter, Sara Christen-Hassert of Tinley Park, Ill.; son, Ben (Colleen) Christen of Lincoln, CA; four grandchildren, Renee Hassert, Nicholas Christen, Caroline Christen, and Mia Christen; one brother, Lyle (Sony) Christen of Burlington; sister-in-law, Lois (Mike) Alger of Blue Grass, and many extended family members and lifelong friends. 

He was preceded in death by his parents and two siblings, Linda and Eddie. 

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be directed to the ALS Association (

You may share a memory of Mark or send online condolences to the family at

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