May 20, 2013


Chris Kjeldsmark Laursen, 58, of Casa Grande, Ariz., and formerly of Gilbert, Ariz., died unexpectedly on Sunday, May 12, 2013, at his residence.

Funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 21, at First United Methodist Church in Scranton with the Rev. Charles Thompson officiating.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday at Dahn and Woodhouse Funeral Home in Scranton. The casket will be moved to the church at 9 a.m. Tuesday when visitation will resume.

Pianist for the service will be Julie Naberhaus. Casket bearers will be Dale Drey, Roger Hall, Steven Jonas, Andrew Laursen, Kim Laursen, Craig Van Cleave, Larry Van Cleave and Michael Walker. Honorary casket bearers will be Larry Dingman, Wilbur "Curly" Eason, Dean Gibson, Don "Chop" Gibson, Jason Laursen, Nicholas Laursen, Tyler Laursen, Dale McDonald, Jerry Van Cleave and Paul Walker. Burial will be at Scranton Township Cemetery near Scranton.

Online condolences may be left for the family at

Chris Kjeldsmark Laursen was born March 13, 1955, in Jefferson, Iowa, to Ivan Kjeldsmark Laursen and Fairy Jean (Van Cleave) Laursen. His family moved to Arizona in January 1969. He graduated in 1974 from Gilbert High School, where he earned all-state and all-Southwest honors as a defensive lineman and accepted a scholarship to play football at Iowa State University. Instead, he took a year off from school and worked for a friend outside of Gilbert in a hay field. He told friends later that he was just a kid and did not want to go to school. After working the fields for a year, he enrolled at Mesa Community College and went back to playing football. The Arizona Community College Athletic Conference named Chris an all-conference player for 1975 and 1976. He also earned National Junior College Athletic Association honors in 1976. He was a member of the 1975 National Junior College Athletic Association national championship team and defensive player of the year in 1976. In October 2007, Mesa Community College inducted him into the Mesa Community College Hall of Fame.

Chris enjoyed farming from the time he was a child and helped his dad in the fields. Nearly suffocating in a farm accident, when he was 8 years, was not enough to scare him away from helping his dad on the farm. Sports were also important to who Chris was. According to Lin Laursen, former girls basketball coach of Central Arizona College, Chris was a strong supporter of the girls' basketball program. He had followed the team since 1988 and even arm wrestled one year to earn the team jackets. However, the greatest of all was his love of family. He would get on the phone daily to keep in touch with them. After the death of his father in 2003, he stepped up to the plate to keep the family going.

He is survived by his mother, Fairy Jean (Van Cleave) Laursen of Gilbert, Ariz.; two brothers, Wayne Laursen of Bakersfield, Calif., and Bruce Laursen and his wife Veronica of Chandler, Ariz.; three sisters, Rina (Laursen) McCool and her husband Don of Bayard, Iowa, Linda (Laursen) Jonas and her husband Keith of Stuart, Iowa, and Zola Laursen of Mesa, Ariz.; and many nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins.

Chris was preceded in death by his father, Ivan Laursen; his grandparents, Jens and Severine Laursen and Bill and Fonnie Van Cleave; and his great-niece, Alexa Jonas.