In Memory of




Obituary for Mary Christiansen (Sells)

Our angel mother, grandmother, and grandma great, Mary Macia Sells Christiansen, (Mary Sunshine) 96, passed away peacefully from this life on January 21, 2022. . . 24 years to the day her beloved husband, Ballard J. Christiansen passed away. Mary was born July 22, 1925, in Hastings, New Zealand to Albert E. and Nina Sells. Her father and mother had been called to preside over the Maori-Agricultural-College from 1924-1927.

Mom was named Mary, after her maternal grandmother and her middle name is Macia from the initials MAC standing for the Maori-Agricultural-College with an “ia” at the end.
Mary grew up in Nephi, Utah where both of her parents had been raised and was surrounded by family. Mom remembers that her family had a large orchard. They grew apples, pears, peaches, cherries, and apricots. Mom had fond memories of canning fruit with her mother. Her dad built a fruit dryer and Mary, and her mother would dry fruit. Mary’s mother was the Relief Society President. Mom remembers going with her to Relief Society and delivering food to the sick.

When Mary was in the 3rd grade she started taking piano lessons. She really enjoyed it and discovered that she had a special talent for music and was a gifted sight reader. She started playing the piano at school and church. When Mary was in the 6th grade she was accompanying for a musical. Mary was not able to accompany anymore because her mother became very ill. The doctors sent her mother to the LDS hospital in Salt Lake City to try and figure out what was wrong. After exploratory surgery, they discovered she was full of cancer. This was shocking news. Nina, Mary’s mother, died a few days later, April 5, 1937. She was only 45 years old, and mom was only 11. Her cousin Melda helped her through this tough time.

In high school mom accompanied the choir as a pianist. At an opera they performed, a music teacher from Snow College recognized her talent and told her he would give her a scholarship. Mom went to Snow College for 2 years. Then she went to BYU. Dad first saw mom when she played the piano in a recital and was instantly smitten by her. Mom won the BYU piano award in 1946. Both mom and dad were phenomenal singers and musicians and played in the BYU band together. Mom played the clarinet and dad played the trombone. They began dating during band tour to Idaho and were married on September 11, 1946, in the Salt Lake Temple. They were blessed with seven children. Mom graduated from BYU with a degree in music. She taught school in Clearfield, Utah and in Machias and Jonesport, Maine. Mom accompanied many of Dad's choirs. She also typed all of Dad's papers when he went to school for his post-graduate degrees. Mom was the perfect helpmate.

Mom was very active in the church, playing for services and serving in many organizations. She and Dad served a mission to San Diego from 1993-1994. After Dad passed away, mom enjoyed serving in the Mount Timpanogos Temple as an ordinance worker and organist for 6 years. The last 12 plus years she has lived with her children, Nina, Becky, and Susan. She never complained and was always so grateful to the end.
Mom is survived by her 7 children: Rulon (Joan) Christiansen, Ogden, UT; Nina (David) Haden, Payson, UT; Todd (Debbie) Christiansen, Glenburn, ME; Gordon (Susan) Christiansen, Saratoga Springs, UT; Becky (Danny) Miller, Orem, UT; Susan (Glen) Simpson, Murrieta, CA; Patrice (Joe) Anderson, Mesa, AZ; 25 grandchildren, 45 great grandchildren, many relatives, and friends. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband Ballard, her parents, infant baby brother Lawrence, daughter-in-law, Debbie L. Christiansen, and many special friends.

Mom, we love you so much! Thank you so much for your life, love, and your Christ-like example. You were always so kind and patient. You were the most wonderful mother, grandmother, and grandma great! You mean everything to us! We will miss you so much! We are so happy you are now with Dad and loved ones and we look forward to all being together, again!

A celebration of her life will be held Monday, February 7, 2022, at 12:00 pm at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints chapel, located at 300 North 100 East, Orem, Utah. A visitation will be held prior to the funeral from 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the same location. There will also be a visitation on Sunday, February 6, 2022, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Walker-Sanderson Funeral Home, located at 646 East 800 North, Orem, Utah. We appreciate all the love and support our family has been given. A special thanks to Canyon Home Care & Hospice. And one more thing she would say, GO JAZZ!