SALT LAKE CITY – During the Utah State legislative session, Senator Gene Davis, D-District 3, and Representative Rosemary T. Lesser, D-District 10, introduced legislation to honor Cache Valley native William E. Christoffersen for being an advocate for veterans both locally and nationally.
Davis said Christofferson was a great person and spent countless hours on behalf of his fellow veterans.
“I met him a number of years ago. He was a friend of my father who was also active in legion affairs,” Sen. Davis said. “They served in different capacities in the legion at the same time.”
Christofferson passed away at the age of 93 on May, 2020 due to COVID-19 complications in the veterans home that bears his name. The William E. Christoffersen Veterans Home opened in 1998 as a skilled nursing facility.
“When I heard he died I thought he needed to be honored for his service,” Sen. Davis said. “I met him in the late ’80s. I carried a lot bills for him. He was instrumental in establishing Utah’s Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park.”
The cemetery is located north of Camp Williams in Bluffdale and pays tribute to service men and women, their spouses and their children.
“He joined the U. S. Army when he was just 18 years-old and was an infantry soldier in the Philippines,” Davis said. “When he returned from his service, he dug graves, owned a lumber yard and worked as a contractor in Cache Valley.”
Christoffersen spent most of his post war life as a dedicated advocate for veterans both in Utah and throughout the nation. He was awarded and presented medals and service awards for his time as a soldier during the war.
“He was a legend in the Legion,” he said. “He did so much for them.”
After returning home Christoffersen founded, and successfully managed, a construction company in Logan. In 1057 he also joined the American Legion, one of the nation’s largest veterans service organizations.
Christoffersen was elected Utah Department Vice Commander of the American Legion, and in 1959, Utah Department Commander in 1963. He was elected to the highest state post representing Utah on the American Legion’s National Executive Committee where he served until 1973, and again from 1975 to 2013; he remained an active member of the American Legion for 75 years.
Terry Schow, who currently serves on the American Legion’s National Executive Committee, said they were dear friends.
“Christoffersen was a good man,” Schow said. “He served more than 50 years on the National Veterans Committee. I’m now doing what he did and he has been a good friend and mentor over the years.”
Schow worked with Governor Jon M. Huntsman Jr. to have the veteran’s home named after Christoffersen.
“I was happy to work with Gene (Davis) on his legislation,” Schow said. “Bill was also a good friend to Senator (Orin) Hatch, and I have a picture of them together.”
Christoffersen brought three national conventions of the American Legion and distinguished visitors to Utah, including President George W. Bush in 2006.
“He was a living legend and a great man,” Schow said. “He was certainly a great example to me and everyone else who worked with him.”