Jonathan David Christenbury

July 19, 2019

CHARLOTTE – Jonathan David Christenbury, a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, died at his home from a heart attack on Friday, July 19, 2019. He was born on January 9, 1955 in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of Allen Christenbury, Sr. and Rebecca Suther Christenbury. Jonathan moved to Charlotte when he was 12 years old and graduated from Charlotte Christian School in 1973. He attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and graduated in 1977. He went on to graduate from the Duke University School of Medicine in 1981. After medical school, he completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Duke Eye Center in 1985 and a fellowship in ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA in 1987.

In 1987, Jonathan and his family returned to Charlotte, North Carolina, and he established his private practice, Christenbury Eye Center. He became a pioneer in laser vision correction and intraocular lens implantation surgery. He performed the first LASIK eye surgery in the Carolinas in the early 1990s, was a clinical investigator for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for many novel laser eye technologies, and successfully performed over 100,000 laser vision correction surgeries. He was a compassionate physician and took pride in the opportunity to help improve and restore patients’ sight.

Jonathan was a loving and attentive husband and father who shared his love of skiing, SCUBA diving, Carolina Panther football, and Duke Basketball with his wife and children. He had a kind and generous spirit and was passionate about helping the underprivileged in his community. He was a member of Calvary Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in recent years attended Church at Charlotte (recently New City Church).

Jonathan was preceded in death by his father, Allen Christenbury, Sr. He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Mary McMahan Christenbury of Charlotte, North Carolina; his son Joseph Gill Christenbury and his wife Kathryn Byrne Christenbury of Atlanta, Georgia; and his daughter Lauren Elizabeth Christenbury of Atlanta, Georgia.

He is also survived by his mother, Rebecca Christenbury of Boone, North Carolina; his brother, Allen Christenbury, Jr. of Boone, North Carolina; and his sister, Rebecca Christenbury Rhodes and her husband, Wayne Rhodes of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina. In addition, he is survived by his two grandchildren, Clayton Christenbury and Carden Christenbury, both of Atlanta, Georgia. 

A memorial service will be held at New City Church, (formerly known as Church at Charlotte) 2500 Carmel Road Charlotte, NC 28226 on Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 10:30 A.M. Visitation with the family will be held at the church following the service. Interment will be private. 

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Duke Eye Center, 2351 Erwin Rd, Durham, NC 27705.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at



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    My condolences to Dr. Christenbury's family. He gave me an opportunity to gain valuable experience at the eye center and taught me a lot. He also did my lasik surgery and I am grateful.

  • Rakel and Ricardo Ortega

    A good heart has stopped bitting, a chosen son of God that was blessed with enormous talent. I am honored and blessed to have known Dr. Christenbury. He was truly a blessing in our life as he was in many others. We will never forget his kindness. May God give him eternal rest and the family the strength to bear the great pain.”

  • Grover and Chelsi Smith

    We are so sorry for your loss of Jonathan. He made such an impact with his work and we remember his generosity.
    God bless you and give you His comfort.

  • Janet Ernst

    Dr. Christenbury, so sorry to hear about your husband's death. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family in this difficult time. May God bring peace and comfort to all of you.

  • Sherie Conner

    Dr. C took care of my son’s injured eye for 25 years. He was always ready to see him at anytime, on an Easter Sunday once, at his office. We are grateful for the care he gave him and the surgical skills and knowledge he had for each new procedure. My heartfelt sorrow for your loss and prayers for you and your loved ones!

  • Jack Benzenhafer

    I enjoyed teaching Jon at Charlotte Christian H S and coaching him in Soccer. Jonathan had a positive influence on the school. Thanking God for all I have read here of how God blessed and used him since then.

  • Howard Murray

    I am so sorry to hear this sad news and my thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Christenbury's family. He performed LASIK on both of my eyes about 15 years ago and improved my quality of life. He was known for being the best around which is why I went to him. He will be greatly missed.

  • Anne Lippard

    Sad to hear the news. He was the best eye doctor ever. Comfort for the family.