|Severin Barstad, 89|
|Written by TRF Times|
Tempe, Ariz. - Severin Barstad, 89, of Tempe and Scottsdale, formerly of Thief River Falls, died November 12 in Scottsdale Healthcare Hospital after a short illness.
A memorial service was held Thursday, December 1, at Los Arcos United Methodist Church in Scottsdale, Ariz.
The youngest and last surviving of the 11 children of Adolf and Petra Barstad, Severin was born May 6, 1916, near Thief River Falls. He was a first-generation American. His parents emigrated from Norway in 1902. Severin graduated from Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls, left the family farm and traveled to California in 1941, where he worked for Lockheed Aircraft Corp., until he enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942. He had already begun his career in radio and electronics on his father’s Minnesota farm: he taught himself Morse code, building and operating his own ham radio during an era when the farm had no electricity.
In the Navy, he was immediately sent to Radio Operator School in Indianapolis; while in training there, he met and later married Paula Jeanice McClurg. As a Naval Radio Technician, Severin served 14 months in the Russell Islands of the South Pacific, then returned to the U.S. for further radio training in Arkansas and Washington, DC. He remained as an instructor with the Navy’s Radio Materiel School in Washington until his discharge as Radio Technician First Class in 1945.
After the war, Severin served as Technical Sergeant with the Indianapolis Police Department, playing a major role in the installation of the first integrated police and fire radio communications system in a major U.S. city. In 1948, he joined Motorola as a field engineer in two-way radio sales, first in Indiana, then in New Jersey, Tucson, and Seattle; in Seattle, he was stationed at Boeing Airplane Co., helping to install radar equipment in B-47 and B-52 aircraft. Moving with his family to Scottsdale in 1961, he became program manager for Motorola’s Contract Program Department, later becoming program manager for the whole division and acting as liaison with Motorola’s upper management team.
He retired in 1981 after 33 years with Motorola, then returned until 1987 as Contract and Property consultant. Severin’s community service was as active as his professional life, and the two often overlapped. He was a charter member of the Phoenix Thunderbird Chapter of the National Property Management Association. He helped found Motorola’s Chess Club and its Stamp Club, and he taught stamp collecting at Scottsdale Community College in the 1970s.
He worked as a precinct captain for the Arizona Democratic Party and was a member of the Democratic Luncheon Club. He served on the board of directors of Vista del Camino Center in Scottsdale, and was a member of the board of directors of Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida in Phoenix during that church’s extensive rebuilding campaign. He was an active member of the Norsemens Federation. Severin and his wife, Paula, joined Los Arcos United Methodist Church in Scottsdale in 1962 and were active in the United Methodist Outreach Ministry (UMOM). They were also volunteer drivers for Meal-on-Wheels out of Scottsdale Memorial Hospital. After Paula’s death in 2001, Severin lived in the Garden Court assisted living facility at Westchester Care Center in Tempe.
He is survived by his sons, Ronald and Kevin, and a large and close extended family throughout the United States and Norway.