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Walter Blom Christensen

August 22, 1952 ~ November 18, 2015

The family and friends of Walter Christensen regretfully announce that Walter passed away
November 18, 2015, in Ballard, WA. Born August 22, 1952 in Vancouver BC to Olaf (deceased)
and Solveig (Blom) Christensen, the family later moved to Ballard. Walter graduated from
Ballard High School in 1970. At the age of 15, Walter got a job painting halibut schooners at
Pacific Fishermen Shipyard. It was then that he decided he wanted to become a fisherman. After
graduation Walter immediately went off to Southeast Alaska for a summer of salmon seining.
That was the start of a rich and colorful career for Walter that spanned over 40 years and
included west coast trawling, Bering Sea crabbing, and Bristol Bay salmon. In the early 1970s,
Walter fished the west coast on the Windjammer where he met and became friends with Dan
Hanson. Then he went onto the Norseman with Kjell Fjortoft in 1975 and started Bering Sea crab
fishing. From there he went on the Valiant with Scott Bowlden and Peder Hvatum and eventually
he became partners with Peder on the Rosie G in the early 1980s. During the 1970s, he also
fished with Magne Nes and later Russ Ott on the Ocean Leader. He also fished on the Aleutian
No. 1, and he was captain of the boat, which was owned by another friend from Ballard, Ron
Peterson. Walter also bought his own drift boat, the Miss Sonja during the 1980s, which he
fished till the mid-2000s in Bristol Bay. In the late 1980s, Walter went to work for Kevin
Kaldestad and he became a captain and part owner in the crabber, Arctic Mariner which he ran
for Kevin until the fall of 2005. Walter was always a top producer in salmon and crab fishing and
he took pride in his work and in being a fisherman. Walter was also a recognized mentor and
leader and gave back to the industry in a number of ways. In 1986, he along with a cadre of
Bering Sea boat owners and captains organized the Alaska Crab Coalition (ACC) and Walter
became a founding Board member of ACC. In 1994, Walter along with a group of Bering Sea
captains, Tom Suryan, Dan Hanson, Jorn Kvinge, Ron Loyd and Gary Covich founded the
Skippers for Equitable Access (SEA) to negotiate crab quota shares for skippers in the Bering
Sea rationalization program. Following Congressional authorization, NOAA and the NPFMC
implemented the program with skipper quota shares in the fall of 2005.
Walter is survived by his former wife and friend to the end, Joanne; son, Eric of Seattle;
daughter, Sonja of Los Angeles; mother, Solveig; sisters, Ruby Patteron, June Ingebretsen and
Cindy Lutovsky; numerous nieces and nephews; and many aunts and cousins in America,
Norway and Canada.
A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 19, 2015, 3 p.m., at the Philadelphia
Church, 7704 24th Ave. NW, Seattle, WA; followed by a reception at the Ballard Elks Lodge,
6411 Seaview Ave. NW. Remembrances may be sent to the Seattle Fishermens Memorial
( or a charity of your choice.
Walter was very well liked, and he will be missed by his family and many friends throughout the
fishing industry.
Arni Thomson, friend and shipmate, Ocean Leader, Rosie G and Trinity