Lt.Col. Orville Kjegaard
Retirement photo - 1960

Orville Henry Kjelgaard, age 92, passed away at  his home on January 5th, 2012.  He was the second child to John and Esther Kjelgaard in Oswego (near Wolf Point), Montana on August 8th, 1919 on the family farm.  He was raised on the farm, attended grade school in a one room schoolhouse and graduated from Wolf Point High School in 1937.  After graduation be joined the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) at Glacier Park in Western Montana where he cut down trees and built roads in the national park. 

He enlisted as a private in the United States Army Air Corps on March 6th, 1939.  He joined the military because of a postcard from a friend that was stationed in Hawaii.  Unfortunately, his first duty station was Missoula, Montana.  He obtained the rank of Staff Sergeant prior to entering Officer Candidate School at Fort Warren, Wyoming in July of 1942 and upon graduating was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the newly designated Army Air Forces.

During World War II he served in the China-Burma area.  In 1947 when the Army Air Forces were transitioned to the United States Air Force, then Captain Kjelgaard made the transition as well.  He also served in the Korean Conflict before returning home and finishing out his career state-side.

He retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel after 22 years of service.  Following his retirement from the Air Force he attended the University of Washington and graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1975.  He received his real estate license and opened his own real estate company, Circle K Realty.  He also worked for several other real estate offices in Federal Way, Washington.

In 1951 Orville met the love of his life, Shirley Hartman, and married her on September 14th, 1953.  They were blessed with daughters Kathleen, Mary, Bernice, Sherril, and Susanne.  Orville and Shirley were married for 58 years.

Orville enjoyed golfing, camping, traveling around the world, playing the stock market, gardening, square dancing, playing, Mississippi Marbles (AKA Wing Doodle), socializing at the local Starbucks, reading, going to the Federal Way Senior Center, and attending the Kjelgaard family reunions.  He loved to laugh and enjoyed telling jokes, especially the one about "The Eliminator."  His grandchildren were a big part of his life and he enjoyed spending time with them and going on vacation with his family.

Orville is survived by his wife Shirley Kjelgaard; Daughters Kathleen Bourne, Bernice Migita, Sherril Fison (Paul), Susane Malone; grandsons Michael Bourne, John Bourne, Nataniel Malone, David Fison; grandaughters Hope Bourne, Kristine Migita, Julie Fison; one long awaited great-grandson, Roan Bunger; sisters Ellen Long, Marie Vaughan, Ruth Miller; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Orville was preceeded in death by his parents John and Esther Kjelgaard; daughter Mary Kjelgaard; brothers Harold and Arnold Kjelgaard; Sister Margaret; and son-in-law Ken Migita.

Orville was laid to rest at Tahoma National Cemetary on January 13th, 2012.  He is in section 28B, site 583

Military Biography

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