Sandra Lee Christensen, a Park County Pioneer and longtime owner and operator of the 63 Ranch, died peacefully at her home on the Ranch, on Saturday, November 14, 2020, at age 84.
Sandra was born in Livingston, Montana, on June 6, 1936, the only child of Paul and Virginia (“Jinnie”) Chistensen. Her dad was one of the original “founders” of the 63 Ranch, a popular dude ranch on the north slope of the Absaroka Mountains in Park County, Montana. Sandra grew up on the ranch with members of her extended family, working and playing among the mountains, summer guests, horses and wildflowers. She tackled her first “job” at the ranch at the age of 5, washing dishes atop a stool next to the kitchen sink. Sandra attended grade school at Beaver Creek School, and graduated from Park County High School in Livingston in 1954. After graduating, Sandra married Mickey McCune. Upon his death in 1974, she moved back to the ranch to help her folks. When her father passed away unexpectedly in 1976, Sandra and her mother took over the reins of running the 63 Ranch.
In 1981 Sandra married Bud Cahill, who, with their son, Jeffery, became involved in running the dude ranch business, which provided wonderful memories for guests from all over the world.
Sandra especially loved horses, the mountains, and wildflowers. She was an excellent horsewoman, learning to ride at an early age. Her father took her along on her first pack trip when she was 7 years old. Sandra was a budding botanist. When she was just a child she was introduced to the wildflowers on the ranch property by her cousin, and from that day forward flowers were her passion. Sandra knew the names of every wildflower on the slopes of the ranch property, and often would pass this information along to the “dudes” while they were riding the trails. She later published a little book on those wildflowers, describing and naming each one.
Sandra was active in the Dude Ranchers Association, and was a Director on its Board for many years. She was also a member of the Park County Pioneer Society, serving as President for one year. She was proud to have been a part of the Livingston Lewis and Clark Centennial Project which culminated in the lovely sculpture erected in Sacajawea Park in Livingston, featuring Sacajawea on horseback, holding baby “Pomp.”
After Sandra was divorced from Bud, she spent time in McAllister, Montana, and in Livingston, while still maintaining her dream home on the 63 Ranch.
The Ranch, after having been in the Christensen family since 1930, was sold to new owners in 2019.
Sandra will be remembered by all her former guests; by her Journal Group (including Eva Art, Stacy Jovick, Judi Kuipers, and Lin Martin, with whom she celebrated birthdays and holidays for over 35 years); and by all her neighbors and acquaintances from a busy ranch life in Montana.
Sandra is survived by her son, Jeffery Cahill, and numerous cousins.
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Sandy Christensen, please visit our floral store.