Oscar H. Halvorson, 94, a longtime Williston resident, passed away Tuesday morning, July 31, 2012, at the Bethel Lutheran Home in Williston.
Funeral services will be held at First Lutheran Church Williston, on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, at 10 a.m. The Rev. Martin Mock will officiate and interment will be at the Stordhahl Cemetery near Wildrose, Saturday at 1 p.m.
Oscar Henry Halvorson was born June 24, 1918, to Knut and Rebecca (Onstad) Halvorson, on their homestead near Wildrose. He was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church in Wildrose. Speaking his first language, Norwegian, delayed his starting school for one year. He attended school in Wildrose, graduating from Wildrose High School in 1937.
Oscar was an "early adopter of technology." As a boy in the Depression, he saved pennies to buy a book on radio electronics and built projects from the book with scrounged components. This was the beginning of his becoming a radio and television broadcast pioneer, as well as an amateur ham radio operator (KOVOC and WTIOW) .
He began his studies at the University of North Dakota (UND), Grand Forks, in civil engineering. After his freshman year, he entered the CCCs (Civilian Conservation Corps) to earn money to continue his university studies. During his three years of service at the Medicine Lake Wildlife Refuge in Montana, he attained the highest possible civilian rating.
Following his CCC service, he returned to UND as a sophomore, majoring in accounting and minoring in economics, graduating in 1944. He was a member of Beta Alpha Psi, the national scholastic accounting fraternity. While at UND he lived for one year in student housing known as "Camp Depression," which was comprised of narrow gauge rail box cars. He developed many lifelong friendships among his roommates.
In addition to his academic studies, he passed the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) first class radio and telephone operator exam. This allowed him to work as a licensed operator at both the commercial radio station KILO (Grand Forks, N.D.) and as the engineer at the UND campus radio station, KFJM. While working at KFJM, he met his future bride, Fay, who was also a UND student and employee of the radio station.
He returned to the family farm near Wildrose due to his father's illness. Following his father's death, he was recruited as the chief engineer for KGCX radio station in Sidney, Mont. His brother-in-law, Willard Magnuson, assumed the farming responsibilities.
On June 18, 1946, he was united in marriage to Fay Carol Lufkin of Grand Forks, at the Methodist Episcopal Church in Grand Forks. They established their home in Sidney, Mont. To this union three sons and two daughters were born.
In 1956 he and his wife bought radio station KSTV in Stephenville, Texas. In 1957 he was recruited as the first Williston-based chief engineer at the newly on-air television station KUMV-TV. During 16 years at KUMV he was promoted to general manager, while continuing as the chief engineer. In 1962 he and wife, Fay, with two partners, launched radio station KGCA in Rugby, N.D. In 1972, he and his wife with a partner purchased KGCX - AM radio station (Sidney, Mont./Williston, N.D). In 1981 they launched the FM station KGCH (in Sidney).
Throughout his life he continued his farming interests. He built his own farm in the Wildrose area with the assistance of his wife and five children. He continued actively farming into his "retirement" years.
Oscar had many interests and activities. While living in Sidney, he was a Toastmaster. For more than 50 years he was active in Rotary International, joining his first club in Stephenville, Texas. As a committed and passionate member of the Williston Rotary Club, he served in many capacities, including president. He enjoyed having his children join him as his guests at Club meetings. For his many years of commitment and achievements, the Rotary International bestowed him its highest honor to members, the Paul Harris Award.
His faith and active church membership were central to his life. As a member of Pella Lutheran Church in Sidney, he served as treasurer and trustee. In Williston, he was a member of First Lutheran Church, serving as a Sunday school teacher, serving on the church council and was a pastoral search committee member.
Together with his wife, Fay, he completed the two-year Bethel Bible Trainee series. He was also a member of the Williston Gideons International. Oscar served as president of the North Dakota Broadcasters Association. He attended several NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) conventions.
He was an avid reader of a wide range of non-fiction books and literature, reading everything cover to cover.
Travel was of great interest to Oscar, both across the U.S. (including Hawaii) and internationally. He and his wife travelled through the Panama Canal and to Israel and Egypt. He especially enjoyed several summer fishing trips in Canada with business friends and associates.
He was a Friends of Scouting supporter. His eight Eagle Scouts (three sons and five grandsons) gave him immense pride.
His favorite times were spent with his family.
Oscar is survived by: his wife of 66 years, Fay; three sons, David Philip Halvorson, of Sidney, Mont., Richard Nathan Halvorson, Williston, Thomas Roger and Marilyn (Leastman) Halvorson, of Sidney; two daughters, Cynthia Karen (Bernd Waldmann) Halvorson, of Zurich, Switzerland, and Deborah Gail Halvorson, Minneapolis; five grandsons, Barry F Halvorson, Billings, Mont., Ronny M. Halvorson, Minot, Leif E. and Kim (Miller) Halvorson, of Sidney, Cedric A. and Megan (Oldynski) Halvorson, Bowbells, and Haans J. Halvorson, of Sidney; two granddaughters, Charla Halvorson-Opsta and Cozette E. Halvorson, of Bismarck; and four great-grandsons and three great-granddaughters; and one sister-in-law, Phyllis E. Lufkin of Mill Creek, Wash.
Oscar was preceded in death by his parents; his baby brother Melvin E Halvorson; his sisters Inez (Willard) Magnuson and Gladys (Robert) Anderson; and his brothers-in law Willard Magnuson and Robert E. Anderson.
Memorial contributions: May be given to Boy Scouts of America (Northern Lights Council); Gideon's International, the Salvation Army and youth homes.
Everyone is welcome to visit (www.eversonfh.com) to share remembrances of Oscar or leave condolences with the family. Friends may call at Everson Funeral Home, Williston, Friday, Aug. 3, from 9 a.m. to noon and from 3 to 7 p.m., and at the church on Saturday for the hour preceding the funeral.
The Everson Funeral Home of Williston is caring for the family.