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Utah legislators honor WWII veteran who died last year from COVID-19 complications

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A worker walks in front of the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home in Salt Lake City on Friday, May 29, 2020.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers in both chambers honored a prominent veteran who died last year from COVID-19 complications.

SCR2, a resolution celebrating the life of William E. Christoffersen, was quickly approved unanimously by the Senate and the House as family looked on Wednesday morning. Christoffersen served in World War II as infantry in the U.S. Army and was a lifelong leader and member of the American Legion. According to the resolution, he was a national and local advocate for his fellow veterans.

“We honor his memory and his legacy as a stalwart advocate for all veterans,” Rep. Rosemary Lesser, D-Ogden, said on the House floor.

The resolution states that Christoffersen distinguished himself “through lifelong service and commitment to the welfare of veterans, (and) exemplified the values of duty and honor to his country.”

Lesser explained that Christoffersen returned from his service in WWII to open a construction business in Logan, “but he was forever changed by his experiences in the Army, and he became a leader in the American Legion.”

“He was instrumental in establishing the federal Transition Assistance Program, which helped prepare his fellow veterans for their return to civilian life,” Lesser said.

The House gave Christoffersen’s widow, Elaine, his family and fellow veterans a standing ovation after the reading of the resolution.

Christoffersen died in June at the William E. Christoffersen Salt Lake Veterans Home. He was 93. The center was named for him in 2013.

“As a World War II veteran, William Christoffersen embodied the greatest generation and its commitment to service, personal responsibility and hard work,” Gov. Gary Herbert said last June.

“The state of Utah named the William E. Christoffersen Veterans Home in his honor in 2013 as a tribute and reflection of his life’s work. Jeanette and I were saddened to hear of his passing, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” he said.

Christofferson served for 75 years in the American Legion and held many national and department offices. He served as a member of the National Executive Committee from 1963 to 1973 and again from 1975 to 2013.