June 19, 2011

Tribute for My Father - Sidney Sundstrom

Dad in 2008
2008 - Sidney
Sid and LaVera 2003
2003 - Sid and LaVera
Once He Grew a Beard
28 March 1992
1992 Mar 28 - Sidney
Dad with Vernon and Elinor
1 July 1989
1989 Jul 01 Reunion - Sid, Vernon and Elinor
Family with Baby Ann
30 April 1960
1960 Apr 30 - The Family with baby Ann
Dad and family with
Vernon and Grandpa - 1961
1961 - Dad and family with Vernon and Grandpa
Dad with Family - 1978
1978 abt - Ann, Sid, Lavera and Dawn

Dad in Beresford
June 1938
1938 Jun 11 - Sid in Beresford
Dad in 1947
1947 Sid Sundstom
Dad in the 50's
1950's Sid Sundstrom
Brothers in 1933
Vernon and Dad
1933 - Vernon and Sidney
Dad in the 1960's
1960s - Sidney

My dad died today.
Sadly and ironically today is Father's Day.

My mother and father divorced when I was two years old. He always lived far away from me. We would meet a few times each year when he returned to Minnesota for business or on vacation. Despite the distance, I always felt close to dad. I loved him and I knew he loved me. From the age of seven to sixteen, I spent three months every summer with my dad's parents, Anna and Simon. Almost every summer, while at grandpa's farm, my dad would bring his family to the farm for a visit. So, maybe that is why I always felt so close to him.

Those were not the only times that we spent together. Memorable to me was the summer of 1965, when I lived with his family in Montgomery, AL. And the month he spent with me in 1970. We had a good time. He was lots of fun and he got to meet many of my friends. Over the years, I often visited him in Mississippi and I tried to visit for a week or two. In the spring of 2008, I spent a couple of months with him.

I loved the stories my dad would tell. Everyone agrees that you could spin a great yarn. He had stories about friends and family. He had stories about business. He never failed to put me in a good mood when he told a story, even when I had heard it before. When I became a pilot, he would tell me stories about his friends who were pilots. When we traveled we shared stories about travel. And I always enjoyed his stories about his days as a boy in South Dakota. He also had some great stories about business. I especially liked his stories about his business in Japan. He had been a long-time customer of Japanese porcelain, but in the 1980's he started selling container loads of high-quality waterless cookware to the Japanese consumer market.

In recent years, his proudest stories were about Camp Victor in Ocean Springs. He did a lot to help the people of Ocean Springs recover from the Hurricane Katrina. Camp Victor was the Lutheran church's key vehicle to help with the rebuilding of the gulf coast. Camp Victor provided accommodations for thousand of volunteers from all over the USA and Canada. The camp also was a center to receive millions of dollars worth of building materials. Dad played a critical role in the start up and continuation of Camp Victor.

My dad loved his family and family stories. Perhaps that is why he became an avid genealogist. He introduced me to his hobby and we shared all of our tricks and methods to find information about our family tree. He also helped reestablish strong contacts with our Swedish cousins. He had visited them and they visited him several times. He often wrote and shared pictures with our cousins in Sweden.

I loved my dad so much. I will greatly miss him.

I wrote a brief obituary for my dad this morning. It follows:

Martin Sidney "Sid" Sundstrom, 84, of Ocean Springs, MS, died early this morning at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN, from pneumonia contracted during his recovery from heart surgery.

Sid was born 27 June 1926 at the Sundstrom homestead in Brooklyn Township near Beresford, South Dakota, to Simon and Anna (Johansson) Sundstrom. He lived at the family homestead until the late 1930's, when the family moved to Minnesota and farmed in the Lake Crystal area. Sid graduated from the Lake Crystal High School. He enlisted and served in the US Army during World War II. He was wounded while serving in Okinawa. Soon after returning to civilian life, he began a life-long career as salesman and then a sales executive. The career led him and his family to many places, including Indianapolis, Niagara Falls, Chicago, West Bend, Montgomery, Birmingham, and finally in 1970 to Ocean Springs where he lived the rest of his life. Sid was an active member of Christus Victor Lutheran Church. He play a significant role in the establishment of Camp Victor, which has been a leader in the recovery from hurricane Katrina. He was well-known and well-liked in the Ocean Springs community.

Sidney Sundstrom was warm and loving husband, father and grandfather. He will greatly missed by his family and friends and the Ocean Springs community.

Four Generations
Four Generations 1

Back - Bill and Dain (generations 2 and 3)
Middle - Sid and Birgitta (generations 1 and 3)
Front - Lucianna and Johanna (generation 4)
Taken 16 July 2009 in Apple Valley, MN

Sid Sundstrom married twice. From the first union came his sons, Bill and Brian. Sid married LaVera Isabelle Dulitz at Brownsdale, MN, 30 December 1951. LaVera died in 2006. Sid and LaVera had four children: Katherine, Steven, Dawn and Ann.

Sidney is survived by all his children and their spouses: Bill and Betty; Brian and Judy of Orono, MN; Katherine Sundstrom of Connecticut; Steven and Ellen of La Crosse, WI; Dawn Sundstrom and partner, Mitzi Griffin, of Greensboro, NC; and Ann Tietel of Port Washington, NY. He is survived by eight grandchildren: Aricka, Bjorn, Birgitta, Dain, Edward, Shelby, Belinda and Clara. And he is survived by eight great-grandchildren: Athena, Ebin, Eva, Annika, Johanna, Lucianna, Abbie and Judah. He is survived by his brother Vernon Sundstrom of Madelia, MN, and his sister Elinor Daugherty of New Ulm, MN.

Sidney was preceded in death by his parents, Simon and Anna, and his beloved wife of 55 years, LaVera.

Sid will be interned at the Biloxi National Cemetery.

Posted by bill at June 19, 2011 05:29 PM

Oh gosh, your tribute and photo memories are wonderful and moving. You did such a great job on this, it will be a great comfort to Sid's family. From everything I've seen in the last few days, Sid Sundstrom was a man who made a difference in this world. My condolences to you and yours.

Posted by: Mickie Turk at June 19, 2011 07:29 PM

Bill, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of your and your family.

Posted by: John Ganapes at June 19, 2011 10:30 PM

A great work indeed. I give you and your family my most sincere condolences.

Posted by: Martin Parro at June 20, 2011 06:18 AM

Bill, we are so sorry for you loss. We are thinking of you and your family. Your tribute is such a great work.

Posted by: Heike and Björn at June 20, 2011 06:36 AM

Bill, I'm so sad to hear about your dad. Your tribute is wonderful. I remember him visiting our family when I was a child. He often stopped at the Mill in later years too. I'm glad I got to visit with him a couple of years ago on Peggy's birthday boat ride.

Posted by: Pat Johnson at June 20, 2011 07:14 AM

Sorry to hear about your father passing, very nice memorial, your dad was fortunate to have such a devoted son.

Posted by: Greg Speltz at June 20, 2011 07:23 AM

Dear Bill,
My brother has forwarded your mail with the sad news about Sid. I was saddened to learn of Sid's passing, my heart goes out to you and all members of Sid's family.Sid was a warmhearted person and I enjoyed his sense of humour. I'll miss him and I'll miss getting letters from him. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to visit Sid and LaVera in Ocean Springs and have them as my guests in Stockholm and Gammelstad. My thoughts are with you at this time.
Love, Gunilla.

Posted by: Gunilla Sundström at June 20, 2011 09:35 AM

I'm so sorry to hear about your father. My thoughts are with you and your family.


Posted by: Nancy Stine at June 20, 2011 11:36 AM

Dear Bill,
I am so saddened to learn of Sidney´s passing.You told us earlier this year that he was planning to visit Sweden in June, which we were looking forward to. I will miss him so much, and so will Per-Erik, the only older relative I knew. We have so many nice memories from our visits in his and La Vera´s home. This morning I was thinking of him and wondering if we should not hear from him soon, and I shall never hear from him.And We are so sorry for your loss and thinking of you and your family.
Love Birgitta

Posted by: Birgitta Amnéus at June 20, 2011 01:55 PM

Dear Bill,

I am so sorry to hear about your dad's passing. He was a lovely man and a great help to (Mom) Karen Backman and me when I was tracking down our Swedish cousins to visit there.

He will be missed by the whole family at home and abroad. Thank you for letting us know more details about Sidney's life.


Posted by: Jennifer Marsden at June 22, 2011 08:04 PM

My sympathy to Sid's families. Sid and I had just visited on the phone weeks ago and he was so upbeat, as usual, and ready to choose a place for his surgery. I really enjoyed our phone conversations. I will miss that. With sympathy, Anita Schmidt

Posted by: Anita Schmidt at June 26, 2011 10:23 AM

the 165 infantry [ fighting 69th infantry} is proud of and grateful for his service to his country on Okinawa.

Posted by: francis sherry at August 15, 2011 10:26 AM

Thanks for the share!

Posted by: Nancy at October 1, 2011 05:13 AM