Olaf Gerhardt Ingman
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SAND COULEE —Olaf Gerhardt Ingman, 88, passed away Wednesday, November 27, at Peace Hospice after a tough battle with lung cancer.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, December 2, 2013 at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel. Burial of ashes will take place at Ft. Harrison Veterans Cemetery in Helena at a later date. Schnider Funeral Home is handling arrangements.
Olaf was born June 14, 1925, in Transfarelo pr. Elvebakken, Alta, Norway, the second son to Johan Aksberg and Grethe nee Ingemann. He was adopted by his mother's brother, Ed Ingman, and his wife, Josephine, in 1939. Olaf left his home in Norway at the age of 14 and traveled alone by ship to the United States on his way to Sand Coulee, MT. The trip took several weeks and he could not speak a word of English. Once arriving in Montana, he studied hard to learn English and attended Stockett-Sand Coulee Elementary School. He also worked at the Ingman Brothers' Store every single day. In 1944, Olaf volunteered to join the Army and served in the Infantry during World War II. He was so proud to serve the USA. He served in Scotland, England, France and finally Rhineland—where he was fighting in the front lines. After nine months of service, Olaf froze his feet in a fox hole and was sent to a hospital in Paris. He was hospitalized for fifteen months, fighting hard to keep his legs. He was then medically, honorably discharged and he returned to Montana. Among many other awards, Olaf received the meritorious service metal and a bronze star.
In June, 1958, He traveled to Kortesjarvi, Finland, to marry Leila Syvajarvi. The newlyweds returned to Sand Coulee where they have lived for 55 years. In 1959, they had a son, Eddie Ingman.
Olaf worked various jobs on Malmstrom Air Force Base before he discovered his passion and became a meat cutter at the commissary. He graduated from The National School of Meat Cutting in Toledo, OH, in 1949. He loved his job, but was forced to medically retire in 1974 due to severe pain, a result of having frozen his feet. However, he continued to cut meat for family and friends with the assistance of his loving wife, Leila.
Olaf loved the great outdoors! He loved to hunt in his younger days before his feet would no longer allow hunting. He enjoyed camping and was an avid fisherman, frequently spending weeks at a time on the Smith River, up until two years ago when his cancer started getting the best of him. During his life, he also enjoyed bowling with his work buddies.
In addition to serving proudly in the US Army, Olaf was also once a very proud member of The Sons of Norway and The Masons. He still wore his Masonic ring daily. He has been a member of Our Savior's Lutheran Church for 55 years. Olaf was a quiet, Christian man and shared his Christianity through kindness to all he met.
Besides his wife, Leila; son, Eddie; and daughter-in-law, Cindy, who all reside in Sand Coulee, Olaf is survived by his three grandchildren, Mandy Ingman (fiancé, Jeremy Gange) of Butte, MT, Heather (Ryan) Halko of Missoula, MT, and Erik (Becky) Ingman of Gillette, WY. "Papa" was VERY proud of his grandchildren. When he first discovered he was to be a grandfather he stated he was "going to feed 'the baby' breakfast and put it on the bus to school every morning." HE DID…all 13 years, all three grandchildren, so 15 straight years! He dedicated his life to those grandchildren, taking them camping, teaching them to fish and even how to climb a tree. He enjoyed his grandchildren every day and was a very important part of their lives, sometimes traveling quite far to see a sporting or musical event.
Olaf was preceded in death by his biological parents Johan Aksberg and Grethe Ingemann; his adoptive parents, Edward and Josephine "Fina" Ingman; and his brother, John Askberg.
Olaf was a dear man and will be missed by all his family, many special friends and his beloved dog Snuffy.
Condolences for the family may be posted online at www.schniderfuneralhome.com.
Schnider Funeral Home
1510 13th Street South
Great Falls, MT 59405-4501
Published in Great Falls Tribune on Dec. 1, 2013