Born April 17, 1916, in Gardner, she was a former schoolteacher, teaching in a one-room schoolhouse for five years and also worked at her husband's Ford Implement Dealership as a secretary/bookkeeper for many years. Rhea was a member of St. Paul's United Church of Christ in Monee, enjoyed gardening, cooking and traveling and especially enjoyed spending time with her family.
Mrs. Christenson is survived by two daughters, Joyce (Ronald) Werner of Peotone and Sue Christenson of Carmel, Ind.; seven grandchildren, Lisa (Kevin) Nietfeldt, Jeffrey (Jennifer) Werner, David Werner, Andrew (Suzie) Werner, John (Jennifer) Werner, Phillip (Stefanie) Knickrehm and Stephanie Knickrehm; 11 great-grandchildren, Dylan and Jacob Nietfeldt, Andrea, Amanda, Tyler and Emma Werner, Peyton McCarthy, Lauren and Allie Werner, Hannah and Ella Knickrehm; one great-grandchild, Avery Cooper; a brother-in-law, Dick (Betty) Christenson of Odell; and several nieces and nephews.
She married Dale E. Christenson on July 19, 1939 in Dwight, and he died July 17, 2008. She was also preceded in death by a daughter, Janice Christenson; her parents, Frank and Mable Nelson Barrett; and two sisters, Yvonne Berryhill and Eileen Christensen.
Visitation and services were held on Tuesday, March 4, at Fedde-Helfrich-Cross Funeral Home in Peotone, with the Rev. Dwight Gorbold officiating. Burial in Oaklawn Cemetery in Dwight. Pallbearers Phillip Knickrehm, Jeffrey Werner, David Werner, Andrew Werner, John Werner and Kevin Nietfeldt. Memorials may be made to St. Paul's United Church of Christ of Monee or Beecher Manor Activities Department.