Clarence “Christy” Theodore Christensen – 1996 Inductee

Clarence “Christy” Theodore Christensen was born September 18, 1903, and was raised on a farm near Tescott, Kansas, by Danish immigrant parents, Trina and Ole Christensen.  He was one of 13 children.

Christy’s biggest ambition in life was to play professional baseball, but his parents decided baseball was a game to be played after the work was finished, so they wouldn’t hear of Clarence playing baseball as a profession.  Christy married Clara Pfortmiller and they raised three children, Rethal Ann, Don and Kay.

Christy came to Natoma in 1923; he learned the barbering trade from Otto Musgrove and later became his partner, and together they ran the O K Barber Shop.  In February 1935 Christy assumed full ownership and named the shop “Palace Barber Shop;” however, the shop will always be remembered as “Christy’s Barber Shop.”  It was the place that you could catch up on the local news and find out what was happening in the world of sports.  Christy, as well as all the other merchants, were apt to close up shop to follow the Natoma teams to out-of-town games.

One of Natoma resident Bob Bodmer’s fondest memories was seeing Everett Ruggels, the banker, go into Christy’s Barber Shop to get his morning shave.  Those were special times when he witnessed this spectacle.  After leaning Mr. Ruggels back in the chair, Christy put steaming hot towels over his face until only the tip of his nose showed.  After about five minutes Christy would remove the towels, apply a thick coat of lather with a brush, and then shave Mr. Ruggels with a straight edge razor.  He remembers how Christy would pull the tip of Mr. Ruggels’ nose up so he could shave his face.  Can’t you just imagine this child watching that procedure?  This lad used to wonder if he would ever be rich enough to afford such a luxury.

Christy gave all children their first haircut free.  He had a board with a horse’s head on it that he placed across the arms of the regular chair so the kids would be at the right height.  Christy was a member of the Natoma Lions Club and also served on the City Council.  Anything the council wanted to achieve for Natoma, be it a new baseball field, croquet courts, horseshoe pits, tennis courts, parks, celebrations and parades, he wholeheartedly supported it.

Christy was a member of Peace Lutheran Church and enjoyed using his rich bass voice singing in the choir, in quartets for weddings and funerals, and entertainment throughout the

community, as well as being an active worker in other ways in the church.  During World War II, Christy had an extensive collection of pictures of local men who served in the Armed Forces, and he displayed them proudly.  When Natoma celebrated it’s centennial, this collection became an important display.  Among his many hobbies was working with wood and he took great satisfaction in creating beautiful pieces.

Christy Christensen practiced the barbering trade for 51 years in Natoma before he passed away in Topeka, Kansas, on October 12, 1974.  He was buried in the Natoma Lutheran Cemetery.  In reading this tribute to Christy, it is easy to see why his memory is still held in love and esteem.  Always good-natured, with a joke to play on you or tell you, his barbershop was truly a gathering place of friends and neighbors for decades.  Christy was a man who made a lasting impact on Natoma and southwestern Osborne County and in 1996 took a deserved place among his peers in the Osborne County Hall of Fame.

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