Today’s news:

Jackson Heights community activist dies at 80

The former community board member and leader of the Jackson Heights Neighborhood Association was suffering from emphysema, his wife Jean said. He was 80. His wife of nearly half a century said he loved being involved in the Jackson Heights community."He had a passion to make Jackson Heights a better place," she said.A number of elected officials attended his wake Friday at the Frederick Funeral Home at 192-15 Northern Blvd. in Bayside, including state Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights), City Councilwoman Helen Sears (D-Jackson Heights) and Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette (D-Jackson Heights).His funeral was held Saturday at Saint Mark's Episcopal Church, at 33-50 82nd St. in Jackson Heights. His body was to be cremated.Karl and Jean met in a coffee shop in Manhattan and were married in 1962. That was after Christensen served in the Army in World War II and Korea. Jean, originally from England, came to the United States in 1958. They lived in a home in Jackson Heights for their entire marriage.He was a retired consultant in electrical engineering, but his passion was community politics. He was a member of Community Board 3, which covers Jackson Heights, as well as the Jackson Heights Neighborhood Association and the 115th Police Precinct. He and his good friend Phil Saccone, who died a few weeks earlier in January, would informally swap the top jobs in the organization.His widow recalled their vacations together in the Caribbean or Hawaii, when he would take a break from the community issues."After retirement we went on cruises. One trip to the Panama Canal was delightful," she said.He used to do work for the New York Post printing plants, including one in the Bronx. He shared his experiences there with a reporter."Karl believed strongly in preservation of the neighborhood," Sabini said. "He worked hard to ensure that bad things didn't happen."Christensen also is survived by a daughter, Anne, who is married and lives on Long Island.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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