Wesley "Ole" Orrestad |
Wesley "Ole" Orrestad passed away on December 12, 2012 in Port Orchard, WA. Ole, as he was known to all, was born in Mydland, Norway on Feb 8, 1918 and immigrated to Butte, MT with his mother, Ingeborg and 6 siblings in 1930 joining their father, Pedar who had preceded them to America to work and support his family during difficult economic times in Europe. The family arrived in New York harbor on the ship 'Stavangerfjord' as did so many from Norway during those years.
In 1937, Pedar was tragically killed in an oil refinery accident in Butte and Ole and most of his siblings moved to Fergus Falls, MN where he graduated from Hillcrest Academy. It was there that he met the former Violet Hendricks of Superior, WI who became his wife of 56 years. Ole volunteered for the US Army in 1941 and while in boot camp, married Violet just before being shipped overseas to the Pacific theater. Ole was part of a special intelligence unit, the 37th Signal Center Team composed of native Norwegian speakers whose mission was to support the allies in their efforts to free occupied Norway. He eventually served with this special unit in the Philippines and New Guinea along with General Douglas MacArthur.
After Violet's death in 1997, Ole married the former Ruth (Post) Sand of Spokane, WA in 1999, a family friend from their teen years in Butte who had also lost her spouse and the two of them enjoyed many happy years together.
Ole enjoyed a long and successful career in commercial construction, having worked for H. Halvorson, Inc. of Spokane, WA, Lovering Construction of St. Paul, MN, PC & D Construction of Seattle, WA, SDL Construction of Bellevue, WA and Crown Builders of Scottsdale, AZ. He rose to the position of Vice President and Chief Engineer and oversaw the construction of scores of buildings in the Western US including Shoreline High School, Albertsons Food Centers and hospitals, banks, government buildings and healthcare facilities, most notably the Letterman General Army Hospital in San Francisco.
To all who knew him, Ole knew how to work hard, and play hard. He loved leading teams of people to complete large projects with challenging deadlines as well as working on his own projects at home and as a volunteer for his church. He especially loved water skiing and snow skiing with his family and teaching both high school and adult Sunday school in his church. Ole's deep faith and his sense of hard work, integrity and generosity influenced many and made him a valued mentor and role model for his family and for the many who knew and worked with him over the years.
Ole is survived by his wife, Ruth (Sand) Orrestad, his daughter and son-in-law, Jan and Dave Oxendahl of Worden, MT, his son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Colleen Orrestad of Clyde Hill, WA. He is also survived by 3 sisters, Berit Olafson (Joseph) of Louisville, KY, Thelma Hollenbeck, of San Jose, CA, Anne Campbell (John) of Gildford, MT, 7 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Ole will be deeply missed and warmly remembered as a devoted follower of Christ, a gifted builder, a principled and admired leader of people and a loving husband, father and grandfather whose generosity knew no bounds when it came to giving his life in service to others.
A memorial service to celebrate his life will be held on Saturday, January 12th at 2:00 PM at Maple Park Church, 17620 60th Ave W, Lynnwood, WA 98037 (425.743.2288)
Memorial gifts in lieu of flowers may be sent to the Wesley Orrestad Endowment, Lutheran Brethren Seminary, PO Box 655, Fergus Falls, MN 56538.
Sign Ole's on-line Guest Book
Published in The Seattle Times from Dec. 21, 2012 to Jan. 9, 2013