Charles Brunel "Bru" Christensen was an all-star athlete at Modoc High School and won All American honors as a varsity football center at the University of California at Berkeley. He was also Pacific Coast Boxing Champion, competing in the heavyweight division. During World War II, he served as an infantry Captain in Europe, and earned a Silver Star for bravery in action. He was married in 1944 to Barbara Don of San Francisco. They had two daughters, Vicki and Jan.
Bru had a 1500-head Hereford cow-calf operation. He held permits on Taylor Grazing and Bureau of Land Management lands. These ranges were supplemented with several hundred acres of some of the best meadowland found in California, bordering the South Fork of the Pit River.
His life was filled with public and private leadership including: an organizer and staunch supporter of the old Likely Rodeo; three terms as Modoc County Supervisor; president of the State Advisory Board to the Bureau of Land Management; Modoc Council of Natural Resources; vice-president of the Modoc County Cattlemen's Association; and director of the Modoc Wildlife Conservation Association, Modoc Chamber of Commerce, Western Regional Beef Council, and the California Taxpayers' Association.
As cattle representative from California for the National Advisory Council of the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, DC, he won the US Department of the Interior's Conservation Service Award. In 1959 and 1960, Bru served as president of the California Cattlemen's Association. In 1970 he was chosen "California Livestock Man of the Year".
Brunel was known far and wide as an untiring community worker, an outstanding statesman, an able and fair administrator, and a national leader of the old and colorful cattle business. He was a champion for organized agriculture.
On March 13, 1975, just a week after completing 2 1/2 years as Director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, Bru died of a heart attack.