We are indebted to Arnold for the thousands of hours of
his personal time that he has committed to Telelaget of America. Through his
leadership Telelaget of America has emerged as one of the most prominent and
forward-thinking of the American bygdelag.
OBITUARY from the Winona Daily News May 28, 2015
Arnold Ness, son of Thomas and
Alma Quamen Ness was born February 17, 1926 in
Norway Township, Fillmore
In 1943 the family moved to
That fall Arnold
joined the US Navy and went through boot camp at
and attended the No. Dak. College of Technology in Electrical technology.
volunteered for the amphibious forces and received extensive training in
electrical and electronic technology at Little Creek, VA and was assigned to the
USS LST-387 while en route to participate in the Japan invasion the hostilities
ceased. The ship returned to the east coast and was assigned the hazardous task
of disposal of old volatile ammunition and made numerous trips into the north Atlantic.
Arnold returned from WWII service he went to
and after completing college and technical training, entered the world of
Television service at the Dayton Company and in 1955 he was hired as Regional
Service Manager for the Magnavox Company. In 1959, he entered the world of
digital technology and went to work as a Senior Engineer for UNIVAC from where
he retired in 1981 after many years in technical management.
his years Arnold his been very active in serving the community in leadership
roles on: Sciota Township Board and Planning Commission, County Water Management
Board, Church Council, Board of Directors of the Dakota Electric, the American
Legion, Past Commander of the VFW, active in the Masonic orders and very active
in Norwegian heritage groups.
Arnold’s most meaningful contributions was his efforts to
restore the last seaworthy WWII LST. From 2001 to 2005,
Arnold traveled to Mobile,
AL to volunteer his
time, skills, and memories towards restoring it to its original glory.
was selected as a crew member to help sail the ship on its east coast voyage
during the 2005 summer. Arnold
said that stepping back 60 years in time and to be able to walk the walk he did
as a young man was indeed a nostalgic experience never to be repeated. Arnold felt he had been
very blessed and always felt a strong obligation to give back to the community
so others may prosper.
As an avid
world traveler Arnold
has visited many countries in Europe and Asia including; China, Thailand,
Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. He has made eight trips
since 1970. Three of the trips were escorting Norwegian Heritage tour groups. On
his last visit in 2002, he was honored by an invitation to a private audience
Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.
Arnold passed away unexpectedly on Monday afternoon, May 25, 2015, at
his home in Northfield.
survived by his wife Edna, sons Gerald and Duane (Jeannie), grandchildren Adam
(Kelly), Erica, and Curtis, great-grandson Decker, his sister Marian (Bob)
Barthel, and brother-in-law Morrie Sorensen, sisters-in-law Joyce & Della
was preceeded in death by his parents Thomas and Alma, brothers Loyis, Willard, Robert, and
Arthur, his sister Donna Mae and sister-in-laws, Barbara and Bette Ness.
will be 11:00A.M., Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the Chapel of the Northfield
Retirement Community. Military Honors will follow. Visitation will be 4-7P.M.
Friday, May 29, 2015, at the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home in
Northfield. Visitation will continue on Saturday at the
NRC Chapel one hour prior to the service.
are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com
From: Telelaget: The First Hundred Years (2007)
Pp. 134 & 135.
— Audrey Overland
President 1988-1996, 1999-2002
Vice President 1986-1988, Genealogist 1996-1999
Arnold Ness, son of Thomas and Alma (Quamen)
Ness, was born February 17, 1926, in Norway
He was baptized at the Highland
When he was six years old, the family moved to Arendahl
Township and later moved to Amherst
where Arnold was confirmed in the Henrytown
Church. In 1943 the
family moved to
In the fall of 1943 Arnold
joined the US Navy and went through boot camp at
and was selected to attend the North Dakota College of Technology in electrical
training. He volunteered for the Amphibious Forces and was assigned to the USS
LST-387 (landing ship tank) and was en route to participate in the Japan invasion when the hostilities
ceased. Of the 1,050 LST’s built during WWII only one now remains and it has
been restored as a memorial ship. For the past four years
has traveled to
Mobile, Alabama, to
assist in the restoration. The LST 325 ship is now seaworthy, and
was selected as a crew member to help sail the ship on an east coast voyage in
the summer of 2005 with the hope that the ship would be visited by thousands of
tourists at the numerous ports of call.
said that stepping back 60 years in time and being able to “walk the walk” he
did as a young man is indeed a nostalgic experience never to be repeated.
After service, Arnold
went to Minneapolis where he completed college and
technical training. He began work at the television service at the Dayton
Company and in 1955 was hired as Regional Service Manager for Magnavox. In 1959
he entered the world of digital technology and went to work as a Senior Engineer
for UNIVAC. After many years of service as a technical manager, he retired in
1981. His cousin told that when Arnold started working there he said, “This
computer business really scares me!” When asked why, Arnold replied, “Oh, all the bad things you
can get on it.”
Arnold’s siblings consist
of four brothers—Loyis, Willard, Robert, and Arthur—and two sisters—Marian and
Donna. The four youngest siblings—Willard, Donna, Robert, and Arthur—have passed
One evening in the fall of 1953
attended a dance where he met Edna Hadash; they had a good time. After a little
persuasion Edna consented to marry
Arnold. The wedding took place June 26, 1954. Arnold and
Edna have two sons, Gerald and Duane. In 1968 the family moved to a little farm
near Northfield, Minnesota.
Both sons have homes next door to Arnold and Edna. Gerald has had an interesting
career in operations management at the US polar stations in Antarctic.
Duane works as an engineer for Cummins Power Systems.
Throughout the years
has been very active in serving the community in leadership roles on the
township board, planning commission, water management board, church council, and
board of directors of the electric power company. He is active in the American
Legion, VFW, and Masonic orders. Arnold
says he has been very blessed and feels a strong obligation to give back to the
community so others may prosper.
Being a history “buff” with interest in
Norwegian heritage and genealogy, he has spent time at
Northfield’s St. Olaf Library doing research. In doing
so, he came across 53 publications by the Telelag historian Torkel Oftelie,
written as he traveled through the early settlements recording the original
pioneer histories. Because they were written in Gothic script and the old
Telemark dialect, it presented a challenge to anyone trying to decipher their
content. As Arnold read these booklets, he was fascinated
with their settlement and pioneer histories and obsessed with an idea of
translating them into English so others could enjoy their content.
When Telelaget of America reorganized, the
opportunity to translate them became possible.
was able to obtain the publications from the library on indefinite loan, and a
committee was formed to translate the material and enter the data into
computers. From this material, two volumes of books have been printed and
was elected President of Telelaget in July 1988. Through the years he has worked
hard to bring about close liaison with heritage groups in Norway and in
Telemark in particular. He has been instrumental in bringing groups of
Norwegians and also the musical group, the Junior
Spelemanslag (Fiddling Association) from Bø in Telemark. The
Bø Junior Spelemanslag has been in
twice, performing at the Nordic Fest in 1996 and again at the
7-Lag Stevne in Northfield and other places in the area in
2002. He worked hard to get a Telelag website started and to select the right
person to run it.
Arnold has always been
active in helping people with genealogy, introducing them to the use of the
bygdebøker (rural chronicles) and
working closely with the Fellesråd in
getting good programs for the various
stevner each year and seeing that things worked smoothly.
Arnold is an avid traveler, visiting many countries in
Europe and also China, Thailand, Vietnam,
Australia, and New Zealand. He
has made eight trips to
Norway. Three of these were escorting Telelaget
tour groups. On his last visit in 2002 he was honored by an invitation to a
private audience with Norway’s Prime Minister, Kjell Magne
says, “It is pretty hard to beat that, and a good time to retire!” He continues
to serve on the board.
Arnold is a fun loving
person, enjoying visiting with friends and relatives. He is a busy person and
Ness & the Prime Minister
As our Telelag Norway tour
came to a close on August 6, 2002 at Oslo I received a telephone call at our
hotel from a Member of Parliament informing me that the office of the Prime
Minister of Norway was extending an invitation to the President of Telelaget to
attend a private audience with the Prime Minister; Kjell Magne Bondevik, at
11:AM on August 7.
Shortly after 10 a.m. on the 7th, a Member of Parliament, Mr. Einar Holstad,
arrived at our Hotel to escort me to the Government office building of the Prime
After he escorted me through the security
arrangements, the Chief of Staff conducted me on a personal tour of the entire
office complex comprising the 15, 16, & 17 floors.
As I entered the private office of the Prime Minister he
stepped away from his desk and met me in the middle of the room where we
exchanged pleasantries and were soon engaged in a very pleasant conversation. We
discussed Bygdelag, the recent visit of Minnesota politicians to Norway, his
visit to Minnesota and to St Olaf College at Northfield, and other pleasant
conversation. As we talked he showed me around his office area and conference
room, pointing to the chair President Clinton occupied when he visited.
At the conclusion, and on the behalf of Telelaget I
thanked him for the invitation and on behalf of the Bygdelags I thanked him and
his government for retaining the post of Norway Consul General in the Midwest.
He assured me that this was very important to him too.
It was indeed a great honor
and privilege for me to represent Telelaget of America at this memorable
occasion commemorating Telelaget's 95-year anniversary. This is an event I will
cherish for a long time.