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Ole J. SonstengNovember 6, 1921 ~ June 9, 2017 (age 95)
Funeral services for Ole Sonsteng of Roseau, MN will be held on Friday, June 16th at 11 AM at Helgeson Funeral Home in Roseau with Pastor Jared Gustafson officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Interment will be at the Moe-Rose Cemetery with Military Honors by the Roseau Memorial Honor Guard.
Ole J. Sonsteng passed away peacefully on Friday June 9th at Oak Crest Senior Housing, with his wife, Lorraine Sonsteng and daughter, Karen Needham by his side. Ole was 95 years old.
Born November 6th, 1921 in Salol, MN, the youngest son of Ole and Thora (Kveen) Sonsteng. Ole grew up in Salol and after his father passed away in 1929, Ole helped his mother run the farm and blacksmith shop until he went to Minneapolis to attend the Dunwoody Institute (a school for mechanics and machine shop training). Shortly after graduating in 1942, he was drafted into the Army. He was injured during his time of service and was placed on limited service until his honorable discharge in 1943.
Ole returned to Roseau and while dining at Nelson’s Café he met a cute waitress by the name of Lorraine Nelson. Ole and Lorraine dated and later married at First Baptist Church in San Diego on November 16th, 1946. Last November they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary and were always by each other’s side.
After working in Minneapolis for the street railway he moved to San Diego, CA to take a job at Convair from 1944 to 1957. During this time he was hand selected for special projects. In 1955 he was assigned to bring back a plane that had crashed in Winterset, Iowa. This was a United Airlines plane that crashed in a cornfield and needed to be shipped back to California. In 1957 he was transferred to their new division General Dynamics/Convair where he worked until he retired in 1977. Working with the Atlas/Centaur satellite missile testing and having access to and handling secret materials with pressure testing. During these years with General Dynamics he received numerous awards for his many suggestions that improved both products and operations of pressure testing procedures, universal drill bar, work stand, booster trailer and separation manifold test tool. He was also recognized for his completion of a leadership course from the company.In 1978 Ole became a licensed General Contractor. He built homes, remodeled homes, built decks, patios and garages. Ole always enjoyed working with his hands and was a master at solving mechanical problems.
In 1981, Ole and Lorraine returned to Salol, MN where they built a log home. Ole and Lorraine’s log home was a testament to his skills and talent in construction work. It was a labor of love - that is just beautiful and can be seen from the highway in Salol, nestled back in the woods. It was always Ole’s dream to return to his childhood roots. Ole was always proud of his Norwegian heritage and of being from Minnesota. It was important for Ole to spend time and be around so many relatives and friends. Ole enjoyed spending his “golden years” in Salol and Roseau. He was always up to sit and talk over a cup of coffee and a good molasses cookie. For several years he would go to the post office in Salol and collect his mail and his sister Mary’s mail and deliver to her daily for their morning visits. His brother, Hans and his wife Evelyn lived on the property adjacent to Ole and Lorraine and they would spend many evenings playing Uno and other games together. During his years in Salol, Ole served as the weatherman for Salol and would report daily to Tom Szymanski at Channel 11 news in North Dakota. When Ole moved to Roseau, Tom Szymanski asked him to report the weather for Roseau.
Ole was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, relative and friend to so many and his presence and joyful spirit will be missed by many.
He is survived by his wife, Lorraine (Nelson) Sonsteng, and their three children Diane Maher Bennett of San Clemente, CA, Karen Needham of Portland, OR and David Sonsteng of San Diego, CA; six granddaughters, eight great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Ole was preceded in death by his parents Ole and Thora Sonsteng; ten brothers and sisters: Jacob Sonsteng, Jacob M. Sonsteng, Alfred Sonsteng, Mary Grafstrom, Osmund Sonsteng, Anne Klein, Eline Lang, Hans Sonsteng, Ida Gulbrandsen and Ruth Sonsteng.