In Loving Memory…

Dear Illuminator Friends and Industry Associates,

I am writing to let you know that the Illuminators Educational Foundation is establishing a Paul Christianson Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Foundation will be matching dollar for dollar, up to $5,000  in Paul’s name for the 2022 – 2023 school year.  Why?  What better way to honor somebody that gave his heart and soul to both the Illuminators Educational Foundation and the Illuminators for the last 40 years.  Paul loved everything each organization stood for.  He loved to brag about the fact that he met his wife Carole while working on an Illuminators Committee during a Western Association of Food Chains Convention in San Antonio, Texas.  He would always say “she was the one that approached me, because I was so irresistible.”

There was no mistaking which side of the fence Paul stood on.  Whether you agreed with him or not, you would always get an honest answer to any question.  Paul was always there for you. He would open doors for you both figuratively and literally.  He was a great friend and confidant.  He was someone you wanted on and by your side.  We will certainly miss his leadership, mentoring, and heartfelt passion for the Illuminators.  If Paul inspired you as he inspired all of us, then I encourage you to donate in Paul’s honor.  Let his legacy help others.  Please also feel free to pass it along to your associates and all that may be interested in contributing!

Thank you,

Willie Crocker, President
On behalf of the entire Illuminators Educational Foundation Board

Checks may be mailed directly to:

IEF Foundation
25422 Trabuco Road Suite 105-606
Lake Forest, CA 92630

The Illuminators Educational Foundation would like to thank you in advance for your generous tax-deductible donation!

We are a 501c3 (not for profit) organization (tax ID:51-0618288)

Paul E. Christianson

Paul E. Christianson

Paul Christianson Jr. died on Feb. 4, 2021. An “Aloha & Mahalo” celebration of life will be held when circumstances allow friends and family to gather in his memory.

He was born to Doris and Paul Christianson on Oct. 15, 1948, in Omaha, Nebraska. His father had a lifelong career with Sherwin Williams and his mother was the homemaker extraordinaire. Two years following his birth, Carol Sue arrived and two years later James Alan was born. His family fondly referred to him as “Little” Paul, until little Paul was bigger than “Big” Paul and he became known as Chris.

The family relocated to Hutchinson, Kansas, where at 16 he began his over 50-plus year food industry career as a box boy at J. S. Dillon’s, which helped pay his way through college. In 1971, Paul joined the Keebler Company and soon became the youngest account manager in the Kansas City zone at the age of 25. He then moved to Arizona as zone manager.

In 1984, he met Carole Weber on an Illuminator Committee at the Western Association of Food Chains Convention in San Antonio. He then accepted a promotion to Southern California as national accounts manager and in November he and Carole were married and established their home in Seal Beach.

On New Year’s Eve 1986, Paul and Carole welcomed their twin girls, Ashlee Nicole and Amanda Michele. Two months later he joined Carl Buddig & Co. as western regional manager. While at Buddig, he was involved with the Deli Council and in 1995 was honored with the Supplier of the Year “Big Cheese” award.

In 2002, Paul joined the Los Angeles Times as retail sales manager – advertising. When Carole joined the WAFC in 2007, Paul left the Times to take over leadership and clients of her consulting firm, Christianson West LLC until his retirement in 2019.

Paul was a member of the Illuminators for more than 40 years serving as Headlite (President) in 2006. One of his proudest efforts was working to establish the Illuminators Scholarship Fund. Actively involved in the City of Hope, in 2000, he, Carole, and his daughters co-founded “Kids 4 Hope” to benefit pediatric cancer. With the industry’s support, Kids 4 Hope has raised more than $16 million to date. In November of 2020, The Christianson’s, along with Kevin Davis and Pat Posey’s families were awarded the “Spirit of Life” award by the City of Hope.

Paul was a devoted and loving son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, and a faithful friend to many. He had a wonderful sense of humor and loved to laugh. He was extremely social, enjoyed golf, fishing, playing cards, and travel, especially to Hawaii. He was a lifetime sports fan, true blue to Nebraska Cornhuskers football, KU Jayhawks basketball, and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Paul is survived by his sister, Carol; wife, Carole; daughters, Ashlee (Matthew) Lorio and Amanda (Scott) Hayter; and grandchildren, Jackson Paul Lorio, Caroline Lee Hayter, and Rex Charles Lorio.

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