Dave Christensen, who started the shipyard that bears his name after retiring from his first career in construction, died Oct. 15 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 87.
According to the company’s website, “After retiring from the construction business in 1982, he decided to build a yacht, but could not find a manufacturer that lived up to his exacting specifications. So he partnered with Westport Shipyard, which built him a hull, then personally completed the yacht’s fit and finish. The resulting luxury yacht was so successful, he incorporated Christensen Shipyards in 1986.”
He oversaw the company’s expansion to a second yard in Tennessee in 2006, and in 2008, after 25 years at the helm, Mr. Christensen stepped down and left the yard’s leadership to his stepson, CEO Joe Foggia.
Legal and financial troubles burdened the yard in more recent years, and work stopped in early February 2015. It was reported that one owner continued to fund the completion of the build of his vessel through the period. The yard was back in production in early 2016 with Jim Gilbert, founding editor of ShowBoats magazine, as interim president. Two 50m yachts are under construction at the yard, one sold and the other available next year.
Mr. Christensen is survived by his wife, three daughters, three stepsons, seven grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. A celebration of his life will be held at 1 p.m. Nov. 10 at the Columbia River Yacht Club on Hayden Island in Portland. Mr. Christensen was a member of the club for 42 years.