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  Norwegian Genealogy

Arnold Ness  1926-2015

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 County near Peterson, MN. In 1943 the family moved to Pepin, WI. That fall Arnold joined the US Navy and went through boot camp at Farragut, Idaho and attended the No. Dak. College of Technology in Electrical technology.

    He 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.

    When Arnold returned from WWII service he went to Minneapolis 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.  

    Throughout 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.

    One of 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. Arnold 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 to Norway 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 with Norway’s Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

    Arnold passed away unexpectedly on Monday afternoon, May 25, 2015, at his home in Northfield.

    He is 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 Ness. Arnold 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.

    Services 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.

    Arrangements are with the Benson & Langehough Funeral Home. www.northfieldfuneral.com

From: Telelaget: The First Hundred Years (2007) Pp. 134 & 135.    — Audrey Overland

Arnold Ness

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 Township, Fillmore County, near Peterson, Minnesota. He was baptized at the Highland Prairie Lutheran Church. When he was six years old, the family moved to Arendahl Township and later moved to Amherst Township where Arnold was confirmed in the Henrytown Lutheran Church. In 1943 the family moved to Pepin, Wisconsin.

            In the fall of 1943 Arnold joined the US Navy and went through boot camp at Farragut, Idaho, 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 Arnold has traveled to Mobile, Alabama, to assist in the restoration. The LST 325 ship is now seaworthy, and Arnold 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. Arnold 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 away.

            One evening in the fall of 1953 Arnold 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 Arnold 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. Arnold 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 published. Arnold 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 America 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 Bondevik. Arnold 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 loves life.      

                                                                                               

Arnold Ness & Prime Minister Kjell Magne BondevikArnold 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 Minister.
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.

[Officers]


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